Atmospheric inputs of mercury and organic carbon into a forested upland/bog watershed

R. K. Kolka, E. A. Nater, D. F. Grigal, E. S. Verry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Inputs of mercury (Hg) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in throughfall and stemflow waters were measured for an upland/bog watershed in northern Minnesota, and were compared to the deposition in a nearby opening to determine the influence of tree canopies on Hg and DOC deposition. Twice as much Hg and seven times as much DOC was deposited in the forested watershed compared to the opening. Mass balance studies that are based on wet-only deposition in openings severely underestimate atmospheric deposition of Hg in forests. Conifer canopies are more efficient filters of airborne particulates than are deciduous canopies as indicated by much higher Hg concentrations and total deposition in throughfall and stemflow waters under conifers. Significant positive relationships existed between Hg and DOC in both throughfall (36-57% of the variation) and stemflow waters (55-88% of the variation). Hg complexation by DOC appears to be related to the contact time between precipitation and carbon sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-294
Number of pages22
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thank you to Art Elling and Deacon Kylander of the USDA Forest Service and Jacob Fleck, Roger Wijnands, Steve Claas, Linda Kernik, Carissa Pang, William Zanner and James Thompson of the University of Minnesota for their help in sampling and analyses. Partial funding for this project was acquired through a grant from the USDA Forest Service entitled ‘Assessment of Methodology for Collection and Analysis of Environmental Samples for Mercury’. This project was also partially funded by a grant from the Water Resources Research Center and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station on research conducted under projects 25–054 and 25–032 of the station.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Dissolved organic carbon
  • Mercury
  • Stemflow
  • Throughfall


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