Advanced

Partitioning of Hg between solid and dissolved organic matter in the humus layer of boreal forests

Åkerblom, Staffan; Meili, Markus; Bringmark, Lage; Johansson, Kjell; Berggren Kleja, Dan and Bergkvist, Bo LU (2008) In Water, Air and Soil Pollution 189(1-4). p.239-252
Abstract
The mobility of mercury (Hg) deposited on soils controls the concentration and toxicity of Hg within soils and in nearby streams and lakes, but has rarely been quantified under field conditions. We studied the in situ partitioning of Hg in the organic top layer (mor) of podsols at two boreal forest sites differing in Hg deposition and climatic regime (S. and N. Sweden, with pollution declining to the north). Soil solution leaching from the mor layer was repeatedly sampled using zero-tension lysimeters over 2 years, partly in parallel with tension lysimeters. Concentrations of Hg and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were higher while pH was lower at the southern site (means +/- SD: Hg=44 +/- 15 ng L-1, DOC=63.0 +/- 31.3 mg L-1, pH=4.05 +/-... (More)
The mobility of mercury (Hg) deposited on soils controls the concentration and toxicity of Hg within soils and in nearby streams and lakes, but has rarely been quantified under field conditions. We studied the in situ partitioning of Hg in the organic top layer (mor) of podsols at two boreal forest sites differing in Hg deposition and climatic regime (S. and N. Sweden, with pollution declining to the north). Soil solution leaching from the mor layer was repeatedly sampled using zero-tension lysimeters over 2 years, partly in parallel with tension lysimeters. Concentrations of Hg and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were higher while pH was lower at the southern site (means +/- SD: Hg=44 +/- 15 ng L-1, DOC=63.0 +/- 31.3 mg L-1, pH=4.05 +/- 0.53) than at the northern site (Hg=22 +/- 6 ng L-1, DOC=41.8 +/- 12.1 mg L-1, pH=4.28 +/- 0.43). There was a positive correlation over time between dissolved Hg and DOC at both sites, even though the DOC concentration peaked during autumn at both sites, while the Hg concentration remained more constant. This correlation is consistent with the expected strong association of Hg with organic matter and supports the use of Hg/C ratios in assessments of Hg mobility. In the solid phase of the overlying O-f layer, both Hg concentrations and Hg/C ratios were higher at the southern site (means +/- SD: 0.34 +/- 0.06 mu g g(-1) dw and 0.76 +/- 0.14 mu g g(-1) C, respectively) than at the northern site (0.31 +/- 0.05 mu g g(-1) dw and 0.70 +/- 0.12 mu g g(-1) C, respectively). However, concentrations in the solid phase differed less than might be expected from the difference in current atmospheric input, suggesting that the fraction of natural Hg is still substantial. At both sites, Hg/C ratios in the upper half of the mor layer were only about two thirds of those in the lower half, suggesting that the recent decrease in anthropogenic Hg deposition onto the soil is offset by a natural downward enrichment of Hg due to soil decomposition or other processes. Most interestingly, comparison with soil leachate showed that the average Hg/C ratios in the dissolved phase of the mor layers at both sites did not differ from the average Hg/C ratios in the overlying solid organic matter. These results indicate a simple mobilisation with negligible fractionation, despite differences in Hg deposition patterns, soil chemistry and climatic regimes. Such a straight-forward linkage between Hg and organic matter greatly facilitates the parameterisation of watershed models for assessing the biogeochemical fate, toxic effect and critical level of atmospheric Hg input to forest soils. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
lysimeter, critical load, organic forest soil, Hg, DOC
in
Water, Air and Soil Pollution
volume
189
issue
1-4
pages
239 - 252
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000253216600020
  • scopus:39249085512
ISSN
1573-2932
DOI
10.1007/s11270-007-9571-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0721cee2-46ed-4399-abb2-8c551be7a3da (old id 1193895)
date added to LUP
2008-09-10 10:02:10
date last changed
2017-10-29 03:29:01
@article{0721cee2-46ed-4399-abb2-8c551be7a3da,
  abstract     = {The mobility of mercury (Hg) deposited on soils controls the concentration and toxicity of Hg within soils and in nearby streams and lakes, but has rarely been quantified under field conditions. We studied the in situ partitioning of Hg in the organic top layer (mor) of podsols at two boreal forest sites differing in Hg deposition and climatic regime (S. and N. Sweden, with pollution declining to the north). Soil solution leaching from the mor layer was repeatedly sampled using zero-tension lysimeters over 2 years, partly in parallel with tension lysimeters. Concentrations of Hg and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were higher while pH was lower at the southern site (means +/- SD: Hg=44 +/- 15 ng L-1, DOC=63.0 +/- 31.3 mg L-1, pH=4.05 +/- 0.53) than at the northern site (Hg=22 +/- 6 ng L-1, DOC=41.8 +/- 12.1 mg L-1, pH=4.28 +/- 0.43). There was a positive correlation over time between dissolved Hg and DOC at both sites, even though the DOC concentration peaked during autumn at both sites, while the Hg concentration remained more constant. This correlation is consistent with the expected strong association of Hg with organic matter and supports the use of Hg/C ratios in assessments of Hg mobility. In the solid phase of the overlying O-f layer, both Hg concentrations and Hg/C ratios were higher at the southern site (means +/- SD: 0.34 +/- 0.06 mu g g(-1) dw and 0.76 +/- 0.14 mu g g(-1) C, respectively) than at the northern site (0.31 +/- 0.05 mu g g(-1) dw and 0.70 +/- 0.12 mu g g(-1) C, respectively). However, concentrations in the solid phase differed less than might be expected from the difference in current atmospheric input, suggesting that the fraction of natural Hg is still substantial. At both sites, Hg/C ratios in the upper half of the mor layer were only about two thirds of those in the lower half, suggesting that the recent decrease in anthropogenic Hg deposition onto the soil is offset by a natural downward enrichment of Hg due to soil decomposition or other processes. Most interestingly, comparison with soil leachate showed that the average Hg/C ratios in the dissolved phase of the mor layers at both sites did not differ from the average Hg/C ratios in the overlying solid organic matter. These results indicate a simple mobilisation with negligible fractionation, despite differences in Hg deposition patterns, soil chemistry and climatic regimes. Such a straight-forward linkage between Hg and organic matter greatly facilitates the parameterisation of watershed models for assessing the biogeochemical fate, toxic effect and critical level of atmospheric Hg input to forest soils.},
  author       = {Åkerblom, Staffan and Meili, Markus and Bringmark, Lage and Johansson, Kjell and Berggren Kleja, Dan and Bergkvist, Bo},
  issn         = {1573-2932},
  keyword      = {lysimeter,critical load,organic forest soil,Hg,DOC},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1-4},
  pages        = {239--252},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Water, Air and Soil Pollution},
  title        = {Partitioning of Hg between solid and dissolved organic matter in the humus layer of boreal forests},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11270-007-9571-1},
  volume       = {189},
  year         = {2008},
}