Biodiversity Research Institute
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Global Mercury Observation System
Global Mercury Observation System

GMOS Introduction

To improve our understanding of mercury in the global environment, there is a critical need for an international effort to monitor mercury concentrations in air, water, and biota in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The Global Mercury Observation System (GMOS) would provide data needed for model validation, and for accurate future predictions of changing mercury emissions and ecosystem response at local, regional and global scales.

 

Global Biotic Mercury Syntheses (GBMS) Database

BRI's Global Biotic Mercury Synthesis (GBMS) database contains 1,835 mercury concentrations: 32,219 samples from 654 species of marine and freshwater fishes, marine mammals, and elasmobranchs. We have compiled data from peer-reviewed publications and government sources in a spatial-explicit format to better understand the extent and magnitude of mercury exposure in biota.

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GMOS/Fenice Cruise Campaign

BRI biologists, collaborating with Dartmouth College, traveled to the Mediterranean Sea to measure mercury in low trophic level zooplankton and in higher marine organisms, such as fish and squid, which are important food sources for marine birds, fish, and mammals, including humans. We found elevated levels of mercury in fish captured in 2011 and 2012 in the western basins of the Mediterranean Sea and high mercury concentration in the hair of many Italian crew members who live on the ship for six or more months per year, consuming fish regularly. This work complements water-atmospheric mercury research carried out by colleagues from Italy, France, Sweden, and Slovenia, and adds to the global knowledge of mercury cycling in the marine ecosystem.
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