Newly inundated forest landscapes as hotspots for mercury bioaccumulation? (Master)

Last changed: 16 February 2022

Inundation of forests, that flood terrestrial soils, can mobilize mercury from the soil and promote the transformation of inorganic mercury to its bioaccumulative form methyl-mercury. The aim of this study is to evaluate how mercury in biota is effected by restoration of wetlands or inundation of terrestrial land by beavers.

Restoring formerly drained peatlands is encouraged from a political level to e.g. reduce flooding and droughts. An increasing number of inundations in the forest landscape are also created by an increasing beaver population. But these new wetlands could also contribute with increasing concentrations of methylmercury in water and biota. In this project you will study how mercury accumulates in benthic fauna in restored wetlands and beaver ponds, compared to natural wetlands. In addition, concentrations of mercury and other chemistry in water will also be analysed. During a field campaign in the autumn of 2022, 20 restored wetlands, 20 beaver ponds and 20 natural wetlands will be sampled. Both water and benthic fauna will be collected for analyses of methylmercury, total mercury and general chemistry.

The work should be conducted during the autumn of 2022. When to start could be discussed, but around early September when the semester starts, is recommended. In this project, there is room for two students that could collaborate on the practical issues (e.g. sampling) but write their own separate master thesis. One student could focus on mercury in biota and one on mercury in water, alternatively on food-web dynamics.

The thesis should be written in English.

Supervisor is Karin Eklöf at the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU.

Facts:

  • Main subject area: Environmental science
  • Level and length: advanced level (Master, 30 hp / 20 weeks)
  • Language: English