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 are underway in the western regions of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
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. Click here to read a recent BRI report using GBMS data.
Global Mercury Observation System
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 would provide data needed for model validation, and for accurate future predictions of changing mercury emissions and ecosys- tem response at local, regional and global scales.
Global Fish and Community Mercury Monitoring Project
This IPEN-BRI collaboration provides a rare opportunity to compile new and standardized mercury concentrations on a global basis. The Global Fish and Community Mercury Monitoring Project is the first of its kind to identify, in one collaborative effort, global biological mercury hotspots. These hotspots are of particular concern to human populations and the ecosystems on which they depend.
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 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: