Biological mercury hotspots in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada

David C. Evers, Young Ji Han, Charles T. Driscoll, Neil C. Kamman, M. Wing Goodale, Kathleen Fallon Lambert, Thomas M. Holsen, Celia Y. Chen, Thomas A. Clair, Thomas Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

285 Scopus citations


Biological mercury (Hg) hotspots were identified in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada using a data set of biotic Hg concentrations. Eight layers representing three major taxa and more than 7300 observations were used to locate five biological Hg hotspots and nine areas of concern. The yellow perch and common loon were chosen as indicator species for the human and ecological effects of Hg, respectively. Biological Hg hotspots receive elevated atmospheric Hg deposition, have high landscape sensitivity, and/or experience large reservoir fluctuations. In the Merrimack River watershed, local Hg emissions are linked to elevated local deposition and high Hg concentrations in biota. Time series data for this region suggest that reductions in Hg emissions from local sources can lead to rapid reductions of Hg in biota. An enhanced Hg monitoring network is needed to further document areas of high deposition, biological hotspots, and the response to emissions reductions and other mitigation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-43
Number of pages15
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Biological mercury hotspots
  • Common loon
  • Mercury monitoring
  • Mercury sources
  • Yellow perch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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