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Historical methyl mercury in San Francisco Bay


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Schwarzbach, S.E., Ackerman, J.T., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Casazza, M.L., Yee, J.L., Heyvaert, A.C., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Bui, T.D., and Takekawa, J.Y., 2015, Historical methyl mercury in San Francisco Bay: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


San Francisco Bay, California is considered a mercury-impaired watershed. Elevated concentrations of mercury are found in water and sediment as well as fish and estuarine birds. Sources of mercury to the watershed since 1845 include sediment-associated mercury from mercury mining, mercury losses from gold amalgamation activities in mines of the Sierra Nevada, aerial deposition of mercury from global and regional emissions to air, and the direct discharge of mercury to Bay waters associated with the urbanization and industrialization of the estuary. We assessed historical trends in mercury bioaccumulation by measuring mercury concentrations in feathers of the endangered California Ridgway’s rail (formerly California Clapper Rail) [...]


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Historical methyl mercury in San Francisco Bay_2015.csv
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Because of the many historical and contemporary sources of mercury to the Bay, we sought to answer two questions: 1. How has mercury bioaccumulation in the Bay changed over time? And, 2. Can we attribute the observed variation in bioaccumulation over time to different anthropogenic sources of mercury?


The authors of these data require that data users contact them regarding intended use and to assist with understanding limitations and interpretation. Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government



  • USGS Data Release Products
  • USGS Western Ecological Research Center



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DOI doi:10.5066/F78P5XKP

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