Fall and spring streamwater samples were analyzed for total mercury (Hg) and major ions from 47 locations on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Samples were collected in zones that were burned in a major wildfire in 1947 and in zones that were not burned. We hypothesized that Hg concentrations in streamwater would be higher from unburned sites than burned watersheds, because fire would volatilize stored Hg. The Hg concentrations, based on burn history, were not statistically distinct. However, significant statistical associations were noted between Hg and the amount of wetlands in the drainage systems and with streamwater dissolved organic carbon (DOC). An unexpected result was that wetlands mobilized more Hg by generating more DOC in total, but upland DOC was more efficient at transporting Hg because it transports more Hg per unit DOC. Mercury concentrations were higher in samples collected at lower elevations. Mercury was positively correlated with relative discharge, although this effect was not distinguished from the DOC association. In this research, sample site elevation and the presence of upstream wetlands and their associated DOC affected Hg concentrations more strongly than burn history. ?? Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007.
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Landscape controls on mercury in streamwater at Acadia National Park, USA