Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 18, pp 17371–17382 | Cite as

Flux model to estimate the transport of mercury species in a contaminated lagoon (Ria de Aveiro, Portugal)

  • Teodor Stoichev
  • Emmanuel Tessier
  • Cristina Marisa R. Almeida
  • Maria Clara P. Basto
  • Vitor M. Vasconcelos
  • David Amouroux
Research Article


The concentrations of dissolved and particulate inorganic mercury (IHg(II)) and methylmercury (MeHg) from the contaminated Laranjo Bay (main freshwater discharge from the Antuã River) were measured by species-specific isotope dilution during six sampling campaigns at high and at low tide. Different effective riverine concentrations were calculated, based on salinity profiles, for specific hydrological conditions. The export fluxes of total Hg and MeHg (324 and 1.24 mol year−1, respectively) from the bay to the rest of the Aveiro Lagoon are much higher than the input fluxes from the Hg source (3.9 and 0.05 mol year−1) and from the Antuã River (10.4 and 0.10 mol year−1). Resuspension of contaminated sediments from Laranjo Bay is crucial for the transport of both IHg(II) and MeHg. Methylation and/or selective enrichment into biogenic particles is responsible for the mobilization of MeHg. Sorption of dissolved IHg(II) onto suspended particles limits its export flux. This is one of the rarest examples where both speciation fluxes and partitioning of mercury are studied in a contaminated coastal environment. Despite the lower fraction of total MeHg (relative to total Hg), the contaminated lagoon may have an impact on coastal areas, particularly if change in the lagoon geometry occurs, due to sea level rise.


Inorganic mercury Methylmercury Coastal lagoon Phytoplankton Flux Estuary 



Effective riverine concentration




Input flux


Export flux


Elemental mercury


Mercury, dissolved and particulate, respectively


Total mercury


Inorganic mercury, dissolved and particulate, respectively


Limit of detection


Methylmercury, dissolved and particulate, respectively


Total methylmercury




Average monthly river discharge, historic data


Average daily river discharge, historic data


River discharge (estimated during sampling)


Suspended particulate matter


Water temperature


Funding information

T. Stoichev is grateful to the Foundation of Science and Technology (Portugal) for fellowship SFRH/BPD/88675/2012, co-financed by Programa Operacional Potencial Humano (POPH) / Fundo Social Europeu (FSE). The financial support of the European SUDOE Interreg IVB Programme through the Orque-Sudoe Project is acknowledged.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1925_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (52 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 52 kb)
11356_2018_1925_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (462 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 462 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR)University of PortoMatosinhosPortugal
  2. 2.Institut des Sciences Analytiques et de Physico-Chimie pour l’Environnement et les MatériauxCNRS/UNIV PAU & PAYS ADOURPauFrance
  3. 3.Faculty of SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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