Special Session Descriptions

S1 (I & II) – Measurement and understanding of atmospheric mercury processes
Principal organizer: Mae Gustin
Co-organizer: Dan Jaffe
This session will provide a venue for discussion of new analytical methods and data analysis procedures that further our understanding of the chemical forms, transformations and fate of atmospheric Hg. Combined oral and poster session.
S2 – Canadian Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) Mercury Science Program
Principal organizer: Heather Morrison, Environment Canada
In 2006, the Government of Canada announced the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, a regulatory framework for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial, transportation and consumer and commercial products sectors. Implementation of this program is supported by science, which in the case of Hg, is delivered by the CARA Mercury Science Program. This extensively partnered, effects-based Hg science program has produced new information on environmental indicators of Hg levels in the environment and the concomitant risk to biota associated with this Hg. This session will present some of the key outcomes of the CARA Mercury Science Program. Combined oral and poster session.
S3 (I & II) – The North American mercury speciation networks:
Analysis and modeling results
Principal organizer: David Schmeltz, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This session will examine data analyses and modeling results emerging from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s (NADP) Atmospheric Mercury Network and Environment Canada’s Atmospheric Monitoring Program (AMNet). The purpose is to raise awareness of the various scientific and policy relevant applications of network data made possible by multi-stakeholder collaboration. Combined oral and poster session.
S4 (I & II) – Mercury in the Arctic
Principal organizer: Jane Kirk, Environment Canada
Co-organizer: Igor Lehnherr
The session will explore aspects of the Hg cycle that are unique to the Arctic and that are key in determining Hg concentrations in Arctic organisms. Topics will range from biogeochemical processes to trends in biota (i.e., molecules to polar bears). Combined oral and poster session.
S5 – Mercury in the Laurentian Great Lakes region
Principal organizer: James Wiener, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Co-organizers: Sean Backus, Niladri Basu, Drew Bodaly, David Evers, David Gay, and Kathryn Williams
This session will highlight results of an ongoing, bi-national synthesis on Hg in the Great Lakes region of North America, a geographic region with substantial aquatic resources. Presentations will address scientific and policy relevant questions regarding spatio-temporal patterns in environmental Hg contamination, bioaccumulation of methyl Hg, and ecological risks of methyl Hg exposure. Combined oral and poster session.
S6 – Mercury rising in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
Principal organizer: Neil Burgess, Environment Canada
In the 1990s, Hg levels in fish and common loons in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia were among the highest in North America. This session will highlight the findings of an interdisciplinary scientific team that returned to Kejimkujik National Park in the late 2000s to determine if Hg levels in the atmosphere, lake water, and aquatic biota had changed over the last 10 - 15 years, and assess whether the elevated Hg levels were associated with adverse health effects in yellow perch and common loons in Kejimkujik. Combined oral and poster session.
S7 – Multi-scale modeling of mercury transport and fate in river ecosystems
Principal organizer: Paul Bradley, U.S. Geological Survey
Co-organizers: Christopher Knightes, Heather Golden, Douglas Burns, and Paul Conrads
Substantial spatial/temporal separation between methyl Hg source areas and downstream aquatic habitats impedes understanding of Hg fate and transport in riverine watersheds. This session will focus on modeling Hg in rivers and associated watersheds at multiple scales using numerical tools from “simple” hydrologic transport and statistical models to multi-compartment process-driven biogeochemical simulations. Combined oral and poster session.
S8 – Forestry and mercury: Defining the connection
Principal organizer: Kevin Bishop, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Mercury in fish remains both a significant environmental problem and a scientific puzzle. This session will focus on research that indicates a connection between forestry operations and the input of Hg/methyl Hg to aquatic ecosystems and evaluating the appropriate counter measures. Combined oral and poster session.
S9 (I & II) – Understanding mercury - organic matter interactions
Principal organizer: George Aiken, U.S. Geological Survey
New techniques to characterize the interactions between Hg and organic matter both in the laboratory and in the field provide powerful insights into the biogeochemistry of Hg cycling in aquatic systems. This session will highlight how novel techniques are expanding our understanding of how dissolved organic matter quality and quantity affect Hg cycling. Combined oral and poster session.
S10 – Mechanisms of microbial mercury methylation and resistance
Principal organizer: Liyuan Liang, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
This session will focus on recent advances in the understanding the genetic and biochemical processes and pathways of microbial Hg transformations, their links to Hg biogeochemistry, and significance for the remediation of Hg environmental contamination. Combined oral and poster session.
S11 (I & II) – Ecotoxicology of mercury
Principal organizer: Tony Scheuhammer, Environment Canada
Co-organizer: Mark Sandheinrich
This session will focus on recent findings on the toxic effects of environmentally relevant dietaryt exposure to methyl Hg in fish, birds and mammals from environmentally relevant concentrations of dietary methyl Hg exposure. Further, this session will focus on the effects of methyl Hg on sensitive cellular and biochemical pathways in wild animals and indicate risks to populations. Combined oral and poster session.
S12 – Impacts of climate change on the fate of mercury in the environment
Principal organizer: Birgit Braune, Environment Canada
Co-organizer: John Chételat
Recent, rapid climate change has been documented in many regions worldwide and is anticipated to impact the Hg cycle and food web dynamics. This session will highlight the latest research on connections between climate change and the biogeochemical cycling and fate of Hg in terrestrial, marine and freshwater food webs. Combined oral and poster session.
S13 – Mercury in the marine environment and transboundary indicators
Principal organizer: Helen Keenan, GESAMP
The Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) was established in 1969 to provide scientific advice to the United Nations on protection of the marine environment. This session will present the findings of a GESMAP Working Group that recently examined various aspects of Hg in the marine/aquatic environment in support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Mercury Partnership. The session will also discuss the viability of Hg as an indicator in the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP). These findings are relevant to global policy and regulation concerning Hg in the environment. Poster session.
S14 – Mercury fate in marine ecosystems: From sources to consumers
Principal organizer: Celia Chen, Dartmouth College
Fish consumption and human exposure to Hg are largely from marine systems. Uncertainties exist in our understanding of methyl Hg sources in marine systems and pathways to humans. This special session will feature presentations that link methyl Hg sources to deposition, bioaccumulation and exposure from estuaries to the open ocean. Combined oral and poster session.
S15 (I & II) – Mercury and selenium interactions: Biogeochemistry and human health
Principal organizer: Rita Schoeny, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This session will offer a forum to discuss how exposure to one element influences the effects of another. Weight of evidence will be introduced as a tool to evaluate potential interactions between Se and Hg in studied populations. Presentations will emphasize data on exposure and effects in human subjects, as well as observations from animal models. The papers will also examine one of the factors underlying the continuing debate and evolving advice to the public on fish and seafood advisories. Combined oral and poster session.
S16 (I & II) – Mercury in contaminated sites: Biogeochemistry and human health
Principal organizer: Milena Horvat, Jožef Stefan Institute
Co-organizers: Mineshi Sakamoto and Laurie Chan
This session will address the development of tools for identification and characterisation of contaminated sites, biogeochemical controls on fate and transport of Hg at these sites, the contribution of contaminated sites to regional and global Hg cycles, and appropriate management options. Presentations will also focus on bioindicators and effects of Hg exposure at contaminated sites, the extent of exposure among populations at contaminated sites around the world, and ecological risk assessment at Hg contaminated sites. Combined oral and poster session.
S17 – Mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining
Principal organizer: Kevin Telmer, University of Victoria / Artisanal Gold Council
This session will examine the significance and fate of Hg use and releases to the environment from artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM). Topics covered will include current estimates of the amount of Hg use in ASGM, global hot spots for Hg use in ASGM, atmospheric monitoring of Hg emissions, research gaps in our understanding of Hg releases from ASGM and abatement efforts and alternative practices for Hg use in ASGM. Combined oral and poster session.
S18 – United Nations Environment Programme Global Mercury Partnership
Principal organizer: Brenda Koekkoek, United Nations Environment Programme
This session will promote science-policy interactions and enhance international exchange of information through presentations from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Mercury Partnership. Governments have mandated UNEP to deliver results during the negotiation period (2010-2013) on a global, legally binding agreement on Hg. This session will increase awareness of this key global initiative and disseminate information on the major Hg sources. It will also highlight current partnerships to promote linkages to global policy initiatives and to characterize, monitor and reduce releases, reduce global Hg supply and find storage solutions for Hg. The discussions will encourage new partnerships by providing opportunities for questions and dialogue with UNEP and current partners. Combined oral and poster session.
S19 – Socio-economic factors affecting mercury exposure and risk
Principal organizer: Marc Lucotte, Université du Québec à Montréal
Co-organizer: Xinbin Feng
This special session will bring together scientists and science users to discuss the most effective ways to reach vulnerable populations exposed to Hg throughout the world and to help them adopt long-lasting healthy behaviour and practices considering their socio-economical realities. Particular attention will be given to neglected populations that are amongst the most exposed populations in the world. Combined oral and poster session.
S20 – Mercury research in developing countries
Principal organizer: Sarah Rothenberg, New York University
There is much to learn from Hg research carried out in countries with developing or emerging economies, especially in areas where the concentration of Hg in water, air, soil and fish tissue are elevated and, in addition, the infrastructure to remediate polluted sites does not exist or government agencies are underfunded. The goal of this session is to frame Hg research in a new way, which includes the scientific benefits and also the role researchers play when collecting data and disseminating results to the community. Poster session.
S22 – Mercury control at coal-fired power plants
Principal organizer: Lesley Sloss, IEA Clean Coal Centre
Coal combustion has been identified as the largest source of atmospheric mercury emissions from human activities. Canada has already set legislation which requires mercury control at coal-fired plants. The USA is finalising a new performance/reduction based rule for mercury reduction. Both the Canadian and US initiatives set requirements which will prove a challenge to achieve. Many plants will have to invest heavily in a combination of technologies and treatments to ensure compliance. This session looks at the different methods available to reduce mercury emissions from coal combustion.
Updated: MAY 17, 2011