Dragonfly Mercury Project—A citizen science driven approach to linking surface-water chemistry and landscape characteristics to biosentinels on a national scale

Fact Sheet 2016-3005
This work is funded by the USGS-NPS Water Quality Partnership with additional support from National Park Service and University of Maine
By: , and 

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Abstract

Mercury is a globally distributed pollutant that threatens human and ecosystem health. Even protected areas, such as national parks, are subjected to mercury contamination because it is delivered through atmospheric deposition, often after long-range transport. In aquatic ecosystems, certain environmental conditions can promote microbial processes that convert inorganic mercury to an organic form (methylmercury). Methylmercury biomagnifies through food webs and is a potent neurotoxicant and endocrine disruptor. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Maine, and the National Park Service (NPS) Air Resources Division are working in partnership at more than 50 national parks across the United States, and with citizen scientists as key participants in data collection, to develop dragonfly nymphs as biosentinels for mercury in aquatic food webs. To validate the use of these biosentinels, and gain a better understanding of the connection between biotic and abiotic pools of mercury, this project also includes collection of landscape data and surface-water chemistry including mercury, methylmercury, pH, sulfate, and dissolved organic carbon and sediment mercury concentration. Because of the wide geographic scope of the research, the project also provides a nationwide “snapshot” of mercury in primarily undeveloped watersheds.

Suggested Citation

Eagles-Smith, C.A., Nelson, S.J., Willacker, J.J., Jr., Flanagan Pritz, C.M., and Krabbbenhoft, D.P., 2016, Dragonfly Mercury Project—A citizen science driven approach to linking surface-water chemistry and landscape characteristics to biosentinels on a national scale: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3005, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163005.

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Dragonfly Mercury Project—A citizen science driven approach to linking surface-water chemistry and landscape characteristics to biosentinels on a national scale
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2016-3005
DOI 10.3133/fs20163005
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description Report: 4 p.; HTML Document; Dataset
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y