Response to "Comment on and Reinterpretation of Gabriel et al. (2014) "Fish Mercury and Surface Water Sulfate Relationships in the Everglades Protection Area""

Environmental Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

The purpose of this forum is to respond to a rebuttal submitted by Julian et al., Environ Manag 55:1–5, 2015 where they outlined their overall disagreement with the data preparation, methods, and interpretation of results presented in Gabriel et al. (Environ Manag 53:583–593, 2014). Here, we provide background information on the research premise presented in Gabriel et al. (Environ Manag 53:583–593, 2014) and provide a defense for this work using five themes. In spite of what Julian et al. perceive as limitations in the sampling methods and analytical tools used for this work, the relationships found between fish total mercury and surface water sulfate concentrations in Gabriel et al. (Environ Manag 53:583–593, 2014) are comparable to relationships between pore water methylmercury (MeHg) and pore water sulfate found in past studies indicating that sulfate is important to MeHg production and bioaccumulation in the Everglades. Julian et al. state “…there is no way to justify any ecosystem-wide sulfur strategy as a management approach to reduce mercury risk in the (Everglades) as suggested by Gabriel et al. (Environ Manag 53:583–593, 2014), Corrales et al. (Sci Tot Environ 409:2156–2162, 2011) and Orem et al. (Rev Environ Sci Technol 41 (S1):249–288, 2011).” We disagree, and having stated why sulfate input reduction to the Everglades may be the most effective means of reducing mercury in Everglades fish, it is important that research on sulfur and mercury biogeochemistry continues. If further studies support the relationship between sulfate loading reduction and MeHg reduction, sulfur mass balance studies should commence to (1) better quantify agricultural and connate seawater sulfate inputs and (2) define opportunities to reduce sulfate inputs to the Everglades ecosystem.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Response to "Comment on and Reinterpretation of Gabriel et al. (2014) "Fish Mercury and Surface Water Sulfate Relationships in the Everglades Protection Area""
Series title Environmental Management
DOI 10.1007/s00267-015-0486-0
Volume 55
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description 5 p.
First page 1227
Last page 1231