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Environ Pollut. 2010 Jun;158(6):2067-73. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

Distribution and trends of mercury in deciduous tree cores.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Biosciences Complex, 116 Barrie St., Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.


The distribution of total mercury (THg) within common deciduous trees and the applicability of tree cores as biomonitors of historical environmental THg trends were assessed for both contaminated and reference sites around Kingston, Ontario. Samples were collected from Acer spp., Quercus spp. Populus spp. and Salix spp. Bark and wood THg concentrations were found to be highly correlated whereas soil and wood THg concentrations were not. There were no temporal relationships for THg in dated tree rings corresponding with any other known environmental Hg trends. The shoreline species, Populus and Salix spp., had the greatest bark and wood Hg concentrations reaching 18 ng/g, significantly higher than for inland trees Quercus and Acer spp. with maximum values of 7 and 1.2 ng/g for bark and wood respectively. While tree cores cannot be reliably used as temporal THg biomonitors, there is promise for tree species such as Populus spp and Salix spp as spatial indicators of local long-term Hg contamination.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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