Byington Amy A.

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Amy A.

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  • Article
    Methyl mercury dynamics in a tidal wetland quantified using in situ optical measurements
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2011-07) Bergamaschi, Brian A. ; Fleck, Jacob A. ; Downing, Bryan D. ; Boss, Emmanuel S. ; Pellerin, Brian A. ; Ganju, Neil K. ; Schoellhamer, David H. ; Byington, Amy A. ; Heim, Wesley A. ; Stephenson, Mark ; Fujii, Roger
    We assessed monomethylmercury (MeHg) dynamics in a tidal wetland over three seasons using a novel method that employs a combination of in situ optical measurements as concentration proxies. MeHg concentrations measured over a single spring tide were extended to a concentration time series using in situ optical measurements. Tidal fluxes were calculated using modeled concentrations and bi-directional velocities obtained acoustically. The magnitude of the flux was the result of complex interactions of tides, geomorphic features, particle sorption, and random episodic events such as wind storms and precipitation. Correlation of dissolved organic matter quality measurements with timing of MeHg release suggests that MeHg is produced in areas of fluctuating redox and not limited by buildup of sulfide. The wetland was a net source of MeHg to the estuary in all seasons, with particulate flux being much higher than dissolved flux, even though dissolved concentrations were commonly higher. Estimated total MeHg yields out of the wetland were approximately 2.5 µg m−2 yr−1—4–40 times previously published yields—representing a potential loading to the estuary of 80 g yr−1, equivalent to 3% of the river loading. Thus, export from tidal wetlands should be included in mass balance estimates for MeHg loading to estuaries. Also, adequate estimation of loads and the interactions between physical and biogeochemical processes in tidal wetlands might not be possible without long-term, high-frequency in situ measurements.
  • Article
    Mercury dynamics in a San Francisco estuary tidal wetland : assessing dynamics using in situ measurements
    (Springer, 2012-04-03) Bergamaschi, Brian A. ; Fleck, Jacob A. ; Downing, Bryan D. ; Boss, Emmanuel S. ; Pellerin, Brian A. ; Ganju, Neil K. ; Schoellhamer, David H. ; Byington, Amy A. ; Heim, Wesley A. ; Stephenson, Mark ; Fujii, Roger
    We used high-resolution in situ measurements of turbidity and fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM) to quantitatively estimate the tidally driven exchange of mercury (Hg) between the waters of the San Francisco estuary and Browns Island, a tidal wetland. Turbidity and FDOM—representative of particle-associated and filter-passing Hg, respectively—together predicted 94 % of the observed variability in measured total mercury concentration in unfiltered water samples (UTHg) collected during a single tidal cycle in spring, fall, and winter, 2005–2006. Continuous in situ turbidity and FDOM data spanning at least a full spring-neap period were used to generate UTHg concentration time series using this relationship, and then combined with water discharge measurements to calculate Hg fluxes in each season. Wetlands are generally considered to be sinks for sediment and associated mercury. However, during the three periods of monitoring, Browns Island wetland did not appreciably accumulate Hg. Instead, gradual tidally driven export of UTHg from the wetland offset the large episodic on-island fluxes associated with high wind events. Exports were highest during large spring tides, when ebbing waters relatively enriched in FDOM, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and filter-passing mercury drained from the marsh into the open waters of the estuary. On-island flux of UTHg, which was largely particle-associated, was highest during strong winds coincident with flood tides. Our results demonstrate that processes driving UTHg fluxes in tidal wetlands encompass both the dissolved and particulate phases and multiple timescales, necessitating longer term monitoring to adequately quantify fluxes.