projects > linking land, air and water management in the southern everglades and coastal zone to water quality and ecosystem restoration: task 3, natural organic matter-mercury interactions
Linking Land, Air and Water Management in the Southern Everglades and Coastal Zone to Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration: Task 3, Natural Organic Matter-Mercury Interactions
The overall objective of this next phase of our research is to extend our understanding of the interactions of Hg, sulfate, and DOC to areas of the Everglades that are anticipated to receive increasing water delivery from sulfate and DOC rich EAA runoff or ASR waters, including: ENP (including coastal or near coastal settings), Big Cypress, and Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. This Task (Task 3 of the overall study) focuses on the factors that control the occurrence, nature and reactivity of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the Florida Everglades, especially with regard to the biological transformation and accumulation of mercury (Hg). Our goal is to provide fundamental information on the nature and reactivity of DOM in the Everglades and to elucidate the mechanisms and pathways by which the DOM influences the chemistry of Hg throughout the system. This research is relevant because of the high natural production of organic carbon in the peat soils and wetlands, the relatively high carbon content of shallow ground water systems in the region, the interactions of organic matter with other chemical species, such as trace metals, divalent cations, mercury, and anthropogenic compounds, the accumulation of organic carbon in corals and carbonate precipitates, and the potential changes in the quality and reactivity of DOC resulting from land use and water management practices. Proposed attempts to return the Everglades to more natural flow conditions will result in changes to the current transport of organic matter from the Everglades Agricultural Area and the northern conservation areas to Florida Bay. The results of this research are critical for the design of effective management strategies for the ecological restoration of the Everglades and for mitigating mercury contamination of game fish in South Florida.