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Benthic chamber

Measuring Mercury

As part of a study of mercury cycling in Waquoit Bay, WHOI biogeochemists William Martin (left) and Carl Lamborg deployed the benthic chamber shown here. This instrument collects samples that allow the scientists to study transformations of mercury in the sediments and their role in determining the chemistry of the water in the bay. In a study funded by the Coastal Ocean Institute, the team found that local wastewater management practices are likely causing increased mercury discharge into the bay. Specifically, their findings suggest that the widespread use of residential septic leach fields on Cape Cod could be responsible for an elevated delivery of mercury to the coastal zone.

(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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