Science

Study Finds That the Coastal Region Fog Is Linked to High Levels of Mercury

Study Finds That the Coastal Region Fog Is Linked to High Levels of Mercury
Fog creeps onshore in Santa Cruz from the Monterey Bay. A team of local scientists are investigating the relationship between fog and mercury--a dangerous neurotoxin. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Marine fog brings higher than cooler temperatures to coastal areas. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have found elevated levels of mercury in mountain lions, the most recent indication that the neurotoxin is being carried in fog, deposited on the land, and making its approach up the food chain. Concentrations of mercury in pumas within the Santa Cruz Mountains have been 3 times increased than lions who stay outside the fog zone. Similarly, mercury levels in lichen and deer have been considerably increased contained in the fog belt than beyond it.

Led by Peter Weiss-Penzias, an environmental toxicologist who has to introduce the research of pollutants in coastal fog, the research is the first to hint the atmospheric supply of super-toxic methylmercury within the terrestrial food web as much as a top predator. Though mercury ranges in fog current no health threat to people, the risk to terrestrial mammals could also be necessary. With every step up the meals chain, from lichen to deer to mountain lions, mercury concentrations can increase by no less than 1,000 times, stated Weiss-Penzias.

Fog is present in the coastal region that border oceans, environmental “hotspots,” which might be additionally residence to excessive concentrations of people. Weiss-Penzias is keen to research mercury levels in coastal Chile, the place the highest predator is a lizard, whereas Wilmers is curious about mercury levels in coyotes, bobcats, and birds in coastal areas.

The global effort to guard people and the surroundings from mercury contains the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international treaty. Named after a Japanese city that goes through a dire incident of mercury poisoning, the treaty is broad in scope, encompassing the complete life cycle of mercury.