Mercury

formula: Hg; CAS Registry Number: 7439-97-6

Naturally occurring highly toxic transition metal, which is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure

In the environment it is present as metallic mercury (i.e. as vapour or liquid) and as inorganic and organic compounds. The different Hg-species differ considerably in their environmental behaviour, bioavailability, metabolism and toxicity.

Mercury is used in electric- and electronic industries, in measurement technology and pyrotechnics as well as in chemical- and pharmaceutical industries, medicine and dentistry. Until the mid 1980s it was permitted for biocidal seed treatment in German agriculture.

It may enter the environment through anthropogenic activities and natural processes like weathering, volcanic action, evaporation from soils and waters and forest fires. Soils are the biggest reservoir of mercury.

Environmentally relevant characteristics of mercury and its compounds include:

Guidelines for Chemical Analysis: Determination of Mercury in Environmental Samples by Direct Solid Analysis

Specimen

  • Common mussel species as invasive animal in rivers and lakes with high information level for water pollution
  • Bioindicator in rivers and lakes
  • Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase
  • Common brown alga of the coastal areas of the North and Baltic Sea
  • One of the most important edible mussel species common in the North and Baltic Sea
  • As the only viviparous fish in German nearshore waters, it is a bioindicator in nearshore coastal marine ecosystems.
  • Inshore, the herring gull mainly feeds from the sea: upon fish, mussels, and crabs.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A deciduous tree typical of ecosystems close to dense conurbations and an indicator for the characterisation of the immission situation during the vegetation period.
  • As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
  • The roe deer is the most common of the larger herbivores (first order-consumer) to be found in the wild in Europe.
  • As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
  • As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
  • Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.
  • Student groups with an even number of female and male students at the age of 20 to 29.

Sampling area

Sampling period

1985 - 2019