Iranian Scientist Claims: A Large Marine Mercury Sink

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 17:30

Based on a research published in Science Magazine, an Iranian scientist with her research team believed that some materials in the oceans could keep mercury in themselves and pollute the environment.

According to the research, “Diatom ooze—A large marine mercury sink”that published in Science Magazine by Sara Zaferani, PhD student of Technical University Braunschweig, and her research team, the role of algae for sequestration of atmospheric mercury in the ocean is largely unknown due to the lack of marine sediment data.

Researchers estimated Holocene global mercury accumulation in biogenic siliceous sediments (diatom ooze) based on high resolution cores from marine Antarctica. Diatom ooze exhibits the highest mercury accumulation rates ever reported for the marine environment and provided a large sink of anthropogenic mercury, surpassing existing model estimates up to seven fold.

Anthropogenic pollution of the Southern Ocean began ~150 years ago and up to 20% of anthropogenic mercury emitted to the atmosphere may have been stored in diatom ooze. These findings reveal the crucial role of diatoms as a fast vector for mercury sequestration and diatom ooze as a large marine mercury sink.

The data indicates that previous studies have potentially underestimate net Hg sequestration in the ocean by neglecting the role of Hg sedimentation through large algae blooms which likely reduce Hg re-evasion. The studies highlight the importance of Hg scavenging by microalgae as a fast and important vector for Hg sequestration in the oceans.

The study carried out by Sara Zaferani, Marta Pérez-Rodríguez, and Harald Bieste from Technical University Braunschweig.

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