Using foliar and forest floor mercury concentrations to assess spatial patterns of mercury deposition

Bradley D. Blackwell, Charles T. Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We evaluated spatial patterns of mercury (Hg) deposition through analysis of foliage and forest floor samples from 45 sites across Adirondack Park, NY. Species-specific differences in foliar Hg were evident with the lowest concentrations found in first-year conifer needles and highest concentrations found in black cherry (Prunus serotina). For foliage and forest floor samples, latitude and longitude were negatively correlated with Hg concentrations, likely because of proximity to emission sources, while elevation was positively correlated with Hg concentrations. Elemental analysis showed moderately strong, positive correlations between Hg and nitrogen concentrations. The spatial pattern of Hg deposition across the Adirondacks is similar to patterns of other contaminants that originate largely from combustion sources such as nitrogen and sulfur. The results of this study suggest foliage can be used to assess spatial patterns of Hg deposition in small regions or areas of varied topography where current Hg deposition models are too coarse to predict deposition accurately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Adirondack
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Deposition
  • Mercury
  • Spatial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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