Mercury (Hg) is known to affect aquatic, terrestrial ecosystems as well as human health, through biomagnification. Mangrove wetlands are potential Hg sinks because of their low tidal velocity, fast sedimentation rate, strong reducing condition and high organic matter content. The spatial and temporal distribution of Hg has been a hot topic of recent studies in mangrove wetlands. In this study, we investigated Hg concentration, accumulation rate and isotopes to reconstruct the Hg pollution history and to differentiate its potential sources in the Gaoqiao mangrove wetland (Guangdong province), which is part of the largest mangrove area in China. We reconstructed a first, continuous, high-resolution Hg pollution history over the last 3000 years in South China. Our findings show that mangrove wetland sediments are more enriched in Hg than the adjacent grasslands. The increased Hg concentration and δ202Hg in recent sediments mirror the enhanced anthropogenic impacts; Hg concentrations in areas with high levels of anthropogenic disturbance are up to 5× higher than the average background value (9.9 ± 1.2 μg kg−1). Compared to mangroves in coastal areas of South China and around the world, the Hg concentration in Gaoqiao is much lower. The significant increase of Hg since the 1950s and the major Hg peak since the 1980s were the evidence of the human activities influences and indicated the possible start date of Anthropocene. After 2007 CE, a decline in Hg pollution occurs due to the effective implementation of the mangrove protection policy. Three potential sources were identified by the Hg isotope traces including urban gaseous Hg, industrial Hg, and regional soil and leaf litter Hg input.

Three thousand years of Hg pollution recorded in mangrove wetland sediments from South China

Zaccone, Claudio
;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is known to affect aquatic, terrestrial ecosystems as well as human health, through biomagnification. Mangrove wetlands are potential Hg sinks because of their low tidal velocity, fast sedimentation rate, strong reducing condition and high organic matter content. The spatial and temporal distribution of Hg has been a hot topic of recent studies in mangrove wetlands. In this study, we investigated Hg concentration, accumulation rate and isotopes to reconstruct the Hg pollution history and to differentiate its potential sources in the Gaoqiao mangrove wetland (Guangdong province), which is part of the largest mangrove area in China. We reconstructed a first, continuous, high-resolution Hg pollution history over the last 3000 years in South China. Our findings show that mangrove wetland sediments are more enriched in Hg than the adjacent grasslands. The increased Hg concentration and δ202Hg in recent sediments mirror the enhanced anthropogenic impacts; Hg concentrations in areas with high levels of anthropogenic disturbance are up to 5× higher than the average background value (9.9 ± 1.2 μg kg−1). Compared to mangroves in coastal areas of South China and around the world, the Hg concentration in Gaoqiao is much lower. The significant increase of Hg since the 1950s and the major Hg peak since the 1980s were the evidence of the human activities influences and indicated the possible start date of Anthropocene. After 2007 CE, a decline in Hg pollution occurs due to the effective implementation of the mangrove protection policy. Three potential sources were identified by the Hg isotope traces including urban gaseous Hg, industrial Hg, and regional soil and leaf litter Hg input.
2024
Anthropocene, Coastal wetland, Mercury isotopes, Human activity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1123712
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