As part of the Mercury Experiment to Assess Atmospheric Loading in Canada and the U.S. (METAALICUS), different stable Hg(II) isotope spikes were applied to the upland and wetland areas of a boreal catchment between 2001 and 2006 to examine retention of newly deposited Hg(II). In the present study, a Geographical Information Systems (GIS)-based approach was used to quantify canopy and ground vegetation pools of experimentally applied upland and wetland spike Hg within the METAALICUS watershed over the terrestrial loading phase of the experiment. A chemical kinetic model was also used to describe the changes in spike Hg concentrations of canopy and ground vegetation over time. An examination of the fate of spike Hg initially present on canopy vegetation using a mass balance approach indicated that the largest percentage flux from the canopy over one year post-spray was emission to the atmosphere (upland: 45%; wetland: 71%), followed by litterfall (upland: 14%; wetland: 10%) and throughfall fluxes (upland: 12%; wetland: 9%) and longer term retention of spike in the forest canopy (11% for both upland and wetland). Average half-lives (t 1/2) of spike on deciduous (110 30days) and coniferous (180 40days) canopy and ground vegetation (890 620days) indicated that retention of new atmospheric Hg(II) on terrestrial (especially ground) vegetation delays downward transport of new atmospheric Hg(II) into the soil profile and runoff into lakes.

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Journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Graydon, J.A. (Jennifer A.), St. Louis, V.L. (Vincent L.), Lindberg, S.E. (Steve E.), Sandilands, K.A. (Ken A.), Rudd, J.W.M. (John W. M.), Kelly, C.A. (Carol A.), … Richardson, M. (2012). The role of terrestrial vegetation in atmospheric Hg deposition: Pools and fluxes of spike and ambient Hg from the METAALICUS experiment. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 26(1). doi:10.1029/2011GB004031