WORKSHOPS ABSTRACTS

WORKSHOPS ABSTRACTS

Accessing the Hg trade database using UN Comtrade - HALF DAY

Lee Bell (Australia), Yuyun Iswamati (Indonesia), Griffins Ochieng (Kenya)

Participants will learn how to access Hg trade flow data using UN Comtrade (comtrade.un.org/), a repository of international trade statistics and learn how to manage the data to compile information for use in research and to help document accuracy in reporting. This useful exercise will demonstrate and discuss how to monitor multiple countries over multiple years of data in mercury trade flows.  Ultimately allowing participants to understand and potentially model mercury movement between nations.

Achieving Comparability, Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Laboratory Measurements - HALF DAY

Milena Horvat

It is well known that analytical results need to be comparable in time and space and that traceability is the best way to achieve this goal. Per the internationally accepted definition: “Traceability is the property of the result of a measurement or the value of a standard whereby it can be related to stated references, usually national or international standards, through an unbroken chain of comparisons all having stated uncertainties.
Workshop presenters will provide updates on international metrology systems in chemical measurements and proper understanding of the terminology related to comparability, traceability and uncertainty of analytical results.
Topics covered include the following presentations and practical examples:
  • Chemical metrology and international systems supporting comparable measurements,
  • Production, characterisation, certification and use of reference materials,
  • Calibration in chemical measurement, evaluating measurement uncertainty of results, and quality control
  • Metrological traceability of mercury measurements in air, biological and environmental samples.

Achieving data management, visualization and analysis - HALF DAY

Geoff Millard, Caitlin Genet Eger, Jaqueline Gerson

Learning to use R an open-source statistical software package

See a hands-on demonstration using real data and learn to use the open-source statistical programming software R (https://www.r-project.org/) for data management, visualization, and analysis. Statistical management can get expensive. Learning this open-source software helps researchers everywhere keep their costs down while still allowing them to make significant contributions to the body of mercury science.

ASGM – RPA, a children’s socio-enviro health toolkit - HALF DAY

​Yuyun Iswamati (Indonesia), Griffins Ochieng (Kenya)

Piloting Rapid Participatory Assessment

This toolkit, currently in development, seeks to assess children’s socio-enviro-health conditions in ASGM hotspots. Children’s voices and conditions in ASGM hotspots are usually ‘represented’ by parents. This RPA toolkits will allow children to tell their own stories and at the same time raise their awareness about mercury and educate them to stay away from mercury hotspots in their villages. Participants will be able to work “hands-on” and practice the toolkits developed for the RPA survey as well as comment on the development. Field-testing is currently underway in Indonesia and Kenya.

Assessment and Management of Hg-Contaminated Sites - HALF DAY

Betsy Henry

Site assessment and management developments

Mercury contamination by point sources (e.g., mining, industry) occurs globally. Assessment and management of these sites can benefit from the substantial body of research into Hg cycling in the environment, risks posed to humans and wildlife, and methods for remediation. This workshop will cover identification of potential Hg-contaminated sites, characterization of the nature and extent of contamination, development of conceptual site models of Hg transport and fate, assessment of potential risks to human health and the environment, and risk management and remediation.

Site assessment and management discussion

Actual examples of site assessment and management will be discussed. Particular attention will be paid to areas where research is needed to better assess Hg behavior, risks, and remedial options. The target audience includes managers of sites with identified or potential mercury issues, graduate students interested in applied environmental science, and researchers curious to see how scientific findings are used in decision-making and to learn what additional research is needed in the context of practical problems. Specific topics include:
  • Types of Hg-contaminated sites
  • Site investigations
  • Conceptual site models
  • Ecological and human health risk assessments
  • Management options including implementation of remediation measures

Atmospheric Trajectory and Plume Dispersion Simulations with the HYSPLIT Model – FULL DAY

Mark Cohen

Atmospheric trajectory and plume dispersion simulations can be powerful tools to aid interpretation of air pollution measurements and investigate source-receptor relationships for mercury and other pollutants. In this “hands-on” workshop, participants will learn how to carry out trajectory and plume dispersion simulations with the widely used HYSPLIT model. No prior experience with HYSPLIT or air pollution modeling is required. However, in order to participate in the hands-on components, each participant should have their own Windows, MAC, or Linux-based laptop. The workshop will contain the following elements. In each, the relevant concepts and scientific principles will be summarized, and the participants will carry out guided, hands-on exercises to produce results themselves. (1) Testing the model installation. (2) Descriptions and examples of meteorological data used to drive the HYSPLIT model. (3) Running simple back trajectories using the model’s “graphical user interface” (GUI). (4) Various methods of aggregating, displaying, and summarizing trajectory results. (5) Carrying out plume dispersion simulations using the GUI. (6) Running the model using scripts, to efficiently run a large number of simulations. (7) Suggestions for further learning, and a brief description of other HYSPLIT features. The HYSPLIT model has been developed over more than 30 years at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is used worldwide for numerous applications. More information is available at: http://www.arl.noaa.gov/HYSPLIT_info.php. The model can be freely run on the web and downloaded for local use (http://ready.arl.noaa.gov/HYSPLIT.php). 
 
Requirements of Participants: Participants will use their own laptops for hands-on modeling exercises throughout the Workshop. Before the Workshop, participants will receive instructions on how to install the HYSPLIT model and download needed course materials before coming to ICMGP. 

Controlling incidental mercury emissions – FULL DAY (limited capacity)

Lesley Sloss 

Advances in mercury controls and monitoring technology for large stationary sources

Under the Minamata Convention on mercury, there is a remit for signatory countries to identify how to eliminate incidental emissions of mercury coming from combustion sources. This workshop will begin with an overview of the aims of the convention and the challenges faced by large sources such as coal combustion and cement manufacture. . Monitoring of mercury at the low concentrations found at large sources can be a challenge and so an overview will be given on how to obtain reliable and representative data. Pre-treatment of fossil fuels, co-benefit effects of control systems for air pollution from fossil fuels, and specific controls for mercury, have all been under development for a number of years and have become more affordable, available and effective. These technologies will be reviewed, including examples and case-studies from real plants and real system manufacturers. Some of these technologies have potential application to other sources of emissions such as the cement and non-ferrous metal industries.  This full-day event allows attendees to hear about mercury monitoring and control and to interact with those who have carried out pilot and full-scale projects in regions such as the USA, Europe, Africa, Russia and S E Asia.
 

Emerging Fractioning Methodology for Improved Analysis - HALF DAY
 

Dominika Saniewska, Magdalena Bełdowska

Mercury Thermodesorption and Fractionation

The mercury thermodesorption method, and particularly its use for fractionating Hg, offers many new possibilities. The proposed screening technique will enable the determination of different fractions of Hg in solid/sediments (low and high Hg concentration), particulate matter (in atmosphere and in water), flora and fauna. The novelty of this technique is its joint ability to determine gaseous mercury bound to airborne particulate matter, which will enable better understanding of Hg cycling in the atmosphere as well as mercury fraction in dry deposition flux.
This method is a five-step thermodesorption method which allows the analysis of labile mercury: adsorbed on the surface of particles or cells: Hgads1 (mainly in bindings with halogens) and Hgads2 (mercury oxide, sulphate and fluoride); mercury absorbed into cells (Hgabs); and stabile mercury: HgS and residual mercury Hgres (bound to mineral matrix).
For analysis of Hg fraction in air particulate matter there is proposed the six-step thermodesorption method: gaseous mercury adsorbed on PM (Hggas) and similar Hg in SPM Hgads1, Hgads2, Hgabs, HgS and residual mercury Hgres (bound to mineral matrix). The developed method is not time-consuming: an analysis of one sample in three replicates takes about three hours. It is also cheaper than alternative methods as it does not require the use of reagents, which also limits the possibility of sample contamination. In addition, the method was introduced on a commercially available direct mercury analyser without additional software modifications, thereby allowing for standardisation of the operational conditions.
Therefore, results obtained using this method in various laboratories can be compared with one another. This gives the method potential for widespread application in laboratories dealing witin biogeochemical mercury transformations in the environment.
this workshop provides opportunity to present and discuss the advantages and disadvantages with this method.


 

Fish Consumption Advisories - HALF DAY

Mary Ellen Turyk, Susan Nathalie, Jon Meiman

Advising Immigrant Populations

Worldwide, the largest number of international immigrants originate from Asia.  From 2000-2017, the number of Asian migrants increased by 62%.  In 2017, 42 million Asian immigrants were living in other continents, predominantly Europe (48%), North America (40%) and Oceania (7%).  In the United States and Canada, Asian immigrants have higher exposures to mercury than other racial/ethnic groups due to frequent fish consumption. Fish consumption advisories to mitigate mercury exposure frequently focus on select types of seafood commonly consumed by the general population. However, this advice may not adequately address risks of fish consumption to immigrant populations who may eat uncommon seafood species as well as culturally-specific fish parts and preparations.  Furthermore, these populations may have elevated levels of arsenic and cadmium due to higher consumption of foods such as rice, vegetables and organ meats or use of imported consumer products. 
 
This workshop will explore the development of fish consumption advisories for immigrant Asian populations that are based on assessment of culturally-relevant dietary practices. Researchers and public health practitioners will discuss modalities for gathering data on fish consumption through focus groups, developing surveys to capture culturally-specific fish consumption, participant recruitment methodologies, influences of dietary and cultural acculturation, and creating targeted, culturally-sensitive educational materials.  Presentations will include examples from investigations of Asian populations, including Burmese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese immigrants.  We will conclude with an interactive conversation to discuss improving risk assessment and outreach, adapting methods to at risk populations in other locales, and future directions, including dissemination of methods and materials, and efficacy of educational interventions.

Introduction and New Developments in Mercury Isotope Geochemistry - FULL DAY

Jeroen Sonke, Martin Jiskra, Ryan Lepak, Sarah Janssen

Part 1: General Introduction into Hg isotope Geochemistry
Part one will provide a general introduction into Hg isotope geochemistry and is intended for participants new to the field. We will start with an introduction in Hg isotope measurements by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) and briefly discuss strategies for sample introduction and thallium mass bias correction of Hg isotope ratio measurements. We then will introduce the nomenclature of the five Hg isotope signatures currently available and discuss strategies for quality control of measurements. Finally, we will provide an overview of the most common protocols for Hg preparation, pre-concentration and matrix removal for isotopic measurements. We will also discuss challenges associated with measuring low Hg concentration environmental samples and provide examples of Hg stable isotope applications to address emerging questions in mercury science.
 

Part 2: New developments in Hg stable isotope Geochemistry
Part two is open to all researchers interested in Hg stable isotope research. It will highlight methodological advances required to address analytical challenges in the ever-expanding field of Hg isotope research. This section will be comprised of multiple brief presentations (15-20 minutes) which include the identification of a research need, technical advancements addressing it, and the application of the method. Such talks will be given by experts in the field that have a diverse set of research interests and methodological needs. This section will focus on the development and application of tools to measure Hg isotopes in air, water, and lower food webs as well as compound specific techniques for methylmercury.
 

Part 3: Round Table
Part three will be a round table discussion for all researchers interested in advancing metrology and research strategy of Hg isotope research. Here, the cumulative attendance of invited speakers, workshop organizers, career Hg researchers and new Hg researchers will participate in discussions with the central theme: “What are the needs of the Hg research community and how can Hg isotope techniques aid in answering research gaps?”. Topic examples might include: quality assurance and quality control measures for challenging matrices, and shortcomings in our current methods. A focus will also be put on Hg isotope applications to microbiology, ecology, geochronology, and atmospheric science. The topic on how to translate Hg isotope research for non-isotope audiences and policy decision makers will also be discussed.  

Latest Advances in Wildlife Monitoring – HALF DAY

Laurie Chan and David Evers and/or Oksana Lane

One of the reasons for wildlife monitoring is to assist countries to meet the objectives of the Minamata Convention. The Convention was developed to protect human health and the environment from mercury and its compounds. Wildlife monitoring work will help countries comply with Article 19: Research, development and monitoring, paragraph (b) which calls for monitoring of mercury in environmental media, including biotic media such as fish, marine mammals, sea turtles and birds.

Wildlife monitoring

What is being done by the experts.  Advances wildlife monitoring

There are ongoing biomonitoring programs in the Arctic (AMAP 2011), EU, Canada, USA, Japan and other regions. To our knowledge, not much work is happening in the developing countries, in Russia and the countries of the former USSR, primarily because of lack of funding.   BRI has been conducting biomonitoring in North America with Common Loons and songbirds using nonlethal sampling methods (NYSERDA projects, point source work).  Luis Fernandez et al. are conducting biomonitoring work with fish in ASGM regions in Peru, and there is some work done with birds/small mammals in Colombia, just to name a few. 

Wildlife monitoring discussion

What are you doing where and how is it going?  Troubleshooting and brainstorming best practices

In this workshop we will discuss topics such as: what taxa are best to include in the biomonitoring and work to identify target organisms: species by region and habitat.
Animals that feed at the top of the aquatic and terrestrial food webs should be preferred. Suggested taxa could include market, freshwater and marine fish, seabirds (many are declining)-collaborate w/ existing studies of populations to collect samples.  Songbirds can be monitored/sampled in areas where fish are absent and in carefully selected target habitats that are likely to have higher rates of mercury methylation, such as wetlands and boggy sites at higher elevation, or sites near point source locations. Marine mammals and sea turtles are suitable targets for marine systems.  Most of THg (85-95%) in tissues such as blood, fur, feathers and fish is in methyl form therefore a less expensive analysis for THg is sufficient.  Invertebrates such as clams, crabs; spiders or others are easier and less expensive to collect but they require more costly MeHg analysis.  We will discuss other metadata to collect to help interpret and explain Hg results.  Other topics for discussion can include: the preferred tissue types, collection methods-nonlethal methods are preferred, because many populations (birds, mammals, turtles) are declining already, time of year to sample: weather, temperature can affect Hg availability, existing and future databases: sharing data.  Another important topic is the biomarkers; Laurie Chan will review the current knowledge of the relationships between mercury concentrations in biomarkers and organ tissues in wildlife, discuss the approaches of using biomarkers for risk assessment for adverse effects in wildlife and present examples for using wildlife biomarkers to identify mercury hotspots.
Mercury in the atmosphere and the biosphere - spatial and temporal changes in Poland - HALF DAY (IN POLISH)

Rtęć w atmosferze i biosferze - zmiany przestrzenne i czasowe na obszarze Polski

Lucyna Falkowska 

The variability of spatial and temporal concentration of mercury in the atmosphere and biosphere of the marine and terrestrial environment in Poland with an indication of the direction in which these changes progress in relation to Europe and the world.

Modeling the Global Mercury Cycle for Beginners – HALF DAY

Colin Thackray & Ben Geyman (Harvard University)

Mercury's abundance in environmental media is a consequence of its biogeochemical cycling. As an element that undergoes various transformation and exchange processes, such as chemical transformations, partitioning between media, and uptake by organisms, understanding the complete biogeochemical cycle of mercury is an important part of understanding mercury in any single environmental medium. In this workshop, we will discuss simple environmental compartment models as an easy-to-use publicly available tool to:
  • elucidate mercury biogeochemical cycling
  • generate physically consistent budgets for mercury fluxes between environmental media
  • propagate emissions inventories (historical and future projections) and their uncertainties to environmental concentrations through time. 
This discussion will be centered on a tutorial for the use of publicly available, simple and accessible software for mercury compartment modeling. Effective use of this software requires no prior modeling experience.

Passive sampling for mercury: passive sampling theory and current state of the science - HALF DAY

David McLagan, Antonella Macagnano

Part 1: General Introduction into passive sampling with an emphasis on mercury.
The workshop will begin with a general introduction into passive sampling theory and the specific requirements for mercury passive sampling, which we are well aware exhibits a unique set of physicochemical properties. This will include a definition of the key terms and processes involved in passive sampling, methods of determining sampling rates and uptake rates (two different parameters), and passive sampler design: uptake mechanism and sampler components. While the focus of this workshop in general will be on passive air sampling due to the much greater coverage on this form of sampling in the literature, passive sampling in aquatic environments will also be addressed. This introduction will provide a basis for the subsequent sections of the workshop and introduce these methods to participants new to the field. (Approximate time: 45 mins).


Part 2: Existing and developing passive samplers for environmental mercury monitoring.
The second part of the workshop will be open to participants and researchers to provide insight into passive samplers for environmental mercury monitoring, both existing instruments and designs still in development. This section will include a series of short presentations (≈15 mins each) by researchers involved in these passive systems and will describe the specific Hg species of interest, the matrix in which the sampler measures, sampler design and features, sampling rate and measurement uncertainties, and an outline of its applications. Presenters are encouraged to highlight difficulties that they have encountered during the development of their passive samplers as this information is likely to drive the most significant advancements in future research is this field. (Approximate time: 75 mins)


Part 3: Open discussion forum: strengths, limitations, and future research directions of mercury passive sampling.
The workshop will conclude with an open discussion that will focus on (i) describing and overcoming some of the difficulties faced by mercury passive sampling, (ii) summarising any additional benefits these unique sampling methodologies, and finally (iii) outlining possible novel applications and direction of future research. This discussion will be preceded by questions and answers on any topics raised during Part 1 and Part 2 of the workshop. (Approximate time: 30-45 mins)

Perspectives on Methylmercury Demethylation in Natural Environments - HALF DAY

Sofi Jonsson, David Amouroux

Current Knowledge Gaps and Future Advances

The balance between mercury (Hg) methylation and methylmercury (MeHg) demethylation processes controls net production of MeHg in natural environments. Identifying processes and quantifying rates for Hg methylation and MeHg demethylation processes in natural environments remains a challenge. So far, most efforts have been focused on the methylation processes, even though a detailed understanding of demethylation processes are equally important and could serve as the basis for the development of new tailored remediation strategies.
With this workshop, we want to shed light on current knowledge gaps on MeHg demethylation processes and on state-of-art techniques that could enable to advance our current understanding of such processes. We aim at gathering researchers with experiences in studying demethylation processes and in relevant state-of-the art techniques (such as genetical-, metabolomical- and isotopical- approaches, synchrotron-based speciation methods and imaging techniques). To inspire the discussion, we will start the workshop by presenting an overview which will be followed by shorter presentations where relevant aspects/techniques are presented. It is our hope that the workshop will be a platform for generation of novel ideas and new collaborations.