Author Topic: Sensation:Deep Sea Mercury Mystery Solved!  (Read 82 times)


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Sensation:Deep Sea Mercury Mystery Solved!
« on: August 27, 2013, 01:47:55 pm »
Sensation: Deep Sea Mercury Mystery Solved!
Predatory fish that feed deeper in the Pacific Ocean, including swordfish, accumulate higher levels of dangerous mercury than piscine predators at the surface, such as yellowfin tuna, but biologists weren?t sure why.
Environmental scientists recently uncovered the cause and warned that the threat may increase in the future.
Oceanic bacteria transform the element mercury into toxic methylmercury. At the surface, sunlight destroys up to 80 percent of the methylmercury produced by these bacteria, according to a recent study published in Nature Geoscience. However, in murky waters between 165 to 2,000 feet (50-610 meters) below the ocean?s surface, methylmercury remains in the food web as bacteria devour mercury-contaminated detritus sinking from the surface.
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