Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Land Atmosphere Dynamics of Mercury & Ecological Implications for Adirondack Forest Ecosystems(ST10659-1)

Syracuse University


Fish consumption advisories related to mercury are in place for 91 water bodies in New York State, many of which are in the Adirondacks. Parts of the Adirondacks are also considered biological mercury hotspots. Recent policies have been enacted to reduce mercury emissions, as well as associated deposition and ecological effects. Mercury monitoring and understanding mercury dynamics are essential in assessing the effectiveness of such policies on deposition and ecological effects.

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Project Description

Phase 1 of the study will include continuation of measurements of atmospheric mercury and wet mercury deposition through EPA’s Mercury Monitoring Project and the Mercury Deposition Network at Huntington Forest. This phase will evaluate source areas of mercury emissions to the Adirondacks; conduct detailed studies of atmosphere-forest exchange of mercury in hardwood and conifer forests to gain insight on mercury dynamics in NY forest ecosystems; and compare and evaluate three independent approaches of quantifying dry mercury deposition (total ecosystem deposition, deposition to surrogate surfaces, and the inferential approach). Phase 2 of the project will examine factors contributing to spatial patterns of foliar, forest floor and mineral soil Hg, including elevation, longitude, latitude, temperature, soil moisture, soil carbon, forest species composition, and forest disturbance. The Contractor will use existing GIS data layers to infer spatial patterns of Hg deposition across the Adirondacks. The investigators will attempt to improve the preliminary GIS Hg deposition model of Miller et al. (2005), using more detailed information that is now or will be available to derive data layers. Finally, an attempt will be made to validate the revised GIS model of Hg deposition through measurements of Hg in the forest floor and mineral soil at 75 diverse forest plots across the region and the extrapolation of mercury deposition estimate to the entire Adirondack ecosystem.


This project will continue mercury deposition monitoring that has been ongoing and will initiate new research to better understand atmospheric-forest exchange of mercury in hardwood and conifer forests, and extrapolate that information across the Adirondack ecosystems. This broad ecosystem analysis will help in the assessment of the impacts of mercury emission reduction efforts.

Project Results


Syracuse University
727 East Washington St. Attn: Tamara Rosanio
Syracuse, NY 13244

Principle Investigator

Charles Driscoll

Universities Involved

Syracuse University


Project Type:

Environmental Monitoring & Research

Technologies Types:

NYSERDA Contact Information

Gregory Lampman


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10659-1

Last Updated: 6/28/2011