Mercury in the Antarctic troposphere has a distinct chemistry and challenging long-term measurements are needed for a better understanding of the atmospheric Hg reactions with oxidants and the exchanges of the various mercury forms among air-snow-sea and biota. Antarctic mosses and lichens are reliable biomonitors of airborne metals and in short time they can give useful information about Hg deposition patterns. Data summarized in this review show that although atmospheric Hg concentrations in the Southern Hemisphere are lower than those in the Northern Hemisphere, Antarctic cryptogams accumulate Hg at levels in the same range or higher than those observed for related cryptogam species in the Arctic, suggesting an enhanced deposition of bioavailable Hg in Antarctic coastal ice-free areas. In agreement with the newest findings in the literature, the Hg bioaccumulation in mosses and lichens from a nunatak particularly exposed to strong katabatic winds can be taken as evidence for a Hg contribution to coastal ecosystems by air masses from the Antarctic plateau. Human activities on the continent are mostly concentrated in coastal ice-free areas, and the deposition in these areas of Hg from the marine environment, the plateau and anthropogenic sources raises concern. The use of Antarctic cryptogams as biomonitors will be very useful to map Hg deposition patterns in costal ice-free areas and will contribute to a better understanding of Hg cycling in Antarctica and its environmental fate in terrestrial ecosystems.
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|Titolo:||Atmospheric chemistry of mercury in Antarctica and the role of cryptogams to assess deposition patterns in coastal ice-free areas|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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