Trace elements are naturally distributed throughout the Earth's crust and have been mobilized by natural weathering processes and human activities. As a result, potentially harmful levels of trace elements occur in many aquatic systems. The goal of this project is to examine the biological and abiotic mechanisms that lead to the mobilization, transformation, and bioaccumulation of naturally occurring and pollutant trace elements in subsurface aquatic systems, estuaries, and coastal waters. This project addresses the NJAES Programmatic Area of Environment and Natural Resource Systems and the national USDA goals of supporting enhanced economic opportunity and quality of life, a healthy, well nourished population, and a safe and secure food and fiber system in that it is specifically concerned with the protection of natural ecosystems, drinking water supplies, and people who consume freshwater and marine fish and other seafood and those who depend on coastal fisheries for their livelihood. Specific projects will examine the photochemical reduction and volatilization of mercury in soils and estuarine and coastal surface waters, abiotic and microbially driven pyrite oxidation and transformation in black shale aquifers, and the speciation and bioaccumulation of mercury and other trace metals in estuaries and coastal waters. Understanding the fate of contaminant trace elements in some of the most densely populated watersheds in the U.S. will link process studies focused on trace element cycling, speciation, and bioaccumulation to environmental management of the nation's aquatic natural resources. EXPECTED IMPACT Quantitative and qualitative understanding of the rates and mechanisms of trace element mobilization, transformation, and bioaccumulation in soils, aquifers, estuaries, and coastal waters generated by this work will help environmental managers in New Jersey and other states evaluate the impacts of natural, point, and non-point sources of trace elements and possible remediation strategies in watersheds that drain areas at the interfaces of rural, suburban, and urban landscapes. The assessment of the cycling and ecological impacts of natural and pollutant trace elements will also help in the establishment of contaminant loading limits for impacted waters.
Address; Area; bioaccumulation; Biological; coastal water; drinking water; Economics; Ecosystem; Environment; Environmental Impact; Fiber; Fisheries; Fishes; Food; Fresh Water; Goals; Human Activities; Lead; Link; Marines; Mercury; Natural Resources; New Jersey; oxidation; pollutant; Population; Process; Quality of life; remediation; Rural; Seafood; Secure; Secure; Soil; Source; suburb; Surface; System; Trace Elements; Trace metal; Volatilization; Water; Water Supply; Weather; Work