Mercury concentrations in fish and wildlife in the U.S. are known to routinely exceed human and wildlife health thresholds. At present, scientists must rely on limited information to understand and quantify the critical linkages among mercury emissions, deposition, environmental response, and potential wildlife and human health concerns. Mercury policy development, implementation, and associated monitoring rely on accurate and neutral science to improve certainty. The Center for Mercury Studies strives to meet those scientific requirements in the following ways:
BRI continues to play a lead scientific role in understanding the exposure and effects of mercury on wildlife in New England, North America, and around the world. Efforts include compilation of existing data, generation of new data in wildlife and their prey, and communicating those findings to policymakers and landscape managers.
Mercury Connections: North American Regional Syntheses
A regional mercury data synthesis across North America; initial efforts focused in the Northeast, continued to the Great Lakes region, and now begin out West.
Global Fish and Community Mercury Monitoring Project
In partnership with the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), BRI is helping to raise awareness about global mercury pollution and to identify biological mercury hotspots.
Global Mercury Biotic Data Synthesis
Mercury is a global contaminant that affects a multitude of species across the globe; many studies have been conducted over a number of years on mercury in biota. By compiling and synthesizing the existing data, BRI is able to determine the impact of mercury on a global scale in relation to wildlife and human health.
BRI is now collaborating with the Zero Mercury Working Group, of the Mercury Policy Project. The goal of the project will be to present information, where available, on most often consumed high mercury concentration seafood data, identify data gaps and raise awareness about global mercury pollution and those most greatly at risk for mercury exposure. The efforts of this project will aid in demonstrating the need for a comprehensive and standardized mercury monitoring effort on a global scale for identifying and testing highly consumed seafood with high concentrations of mercury.
Global Mercury Observation System
In collaboration with Dartmouth College and several European agencies and nonprofit organizations, BRI is studying mercury contamination in the Mediterranean Sea.
Hidden Risk: Mercury Exposure in Invertivores - Songbirds and Bats
Studies show that mercury not only affects aquatic species, but moves out of the aquatic ecosystem into the terrestrial ecosystem through the movement of insects and spiders. BRI’s newly released report highlights our investigations of mercury contamination in songbirds and bats, animals that feed on terrestrial invertebrates.
Mercury Exposure in Piscivores—Loons, Eagles, and Otters
A report published in 2006 by the National Wildlife Federation provides a snapshot of mercury contamination in wildlife across the country and the range of impacts mercury can have on various species in different habitats.
Mercury Monitoring Networks
BRI has been actively working with an expansive group of scientists around the world to develop plans for an effective national mercury monitoring network, with interests to expand relevant templates on a global scale. To that end, the Institute has developed several networks that link research programs and provide an arena for shared methods and data. BRI is a clearinghouse for mercury data in North America and beyond; we currently coordinate the following research and monitoring networks: