Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI), a nonprofit ecological research group based in Portland, Maine, conducts innovative wildlife science worldwide.
BRI’s Center for Mercury Studies plays a lead scientific role in understanding the exposure and effects of mercury on wildlife in New England, North America, and around the world. The Center for Waterbird Studies is dedicated to assessing current and emerging threats to waterbirds. The programs in our Center for Ecology and Conservation Research aim to understand the workings of wildlife and their habitats while exploring how ecological stressors affect different species and ecosystems.
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Deborah McKew, Communications Director
Portland, Maine—Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) announces the publication of its first mercury study related to climate change. Interactive effects of climate change with nutrients, mercury, and freshwater acidification on key taxa in the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative Region, published in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, was produced in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study explores how the amounts of contaminants and nutrients released into the environment, and their effects on natural resources in the Northeast, may be exacerbated by global climate change.
"Changing climate patterns in the Northeast--specifically warming temperatures, greater precipitation, and more storm events--may create conditions that enhance the methylation of mercury and further adversely impact the reproductive success of wetland-affiliated birds," says David Evers, Ph.D., BRI executive director and lead investigator of the mercury portion of the study. Methylmercury is the form of mercury that is especially toxic to wildlife as well as humans.
Key Findings of the Full Study:
Researchers on this study recommend further investigation of the interaction of global climate change with the formation and availability of methylmercury, and on how climate change driven shifts in the distribution of birds will affect their exposure to methylmercury.
BRI is part of a new Mercury-Climate Change Group with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Environment Canada.
The mission of Biodiversity Research Institute is to assess emerging threats to wildlife and ecosystems through collaborative research, and to use scientific findings to advance environmental awareness and inform decision makers. BRI researches the effects of mercury on wildlife across all its research centers.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mission is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefits of the American people.
For more information on the study, click here.
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