Coal ash derived sulfur and mercury in the Dan River invertebrate food web

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kimber B. Corson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Anne Hershey

Abstract: In February of 2014, a coal ash spill occurred in the Dan River in Eden, NC. Coal ash is a potential sulfur and heavy metal source and can disrupt aquatic and riparian food webs. Sulfur can stimulate mercury methylation, which bioaccumulates in the food web, threatening human and wildlife health. This study aimed to determine if dominant river and riparian invertebrates assimilated coal ash derived sulfur in relation to distance from the spill using stable isotopes of sulfur and carbon. Sulfur d34S analysis showed that approximately 1.5 years after the spill, riparian spiders downstream from the spill were more enriched in 34S than upstream spiders, consistent with incorporation of coal ash derived sulfur. Spider d34S also increased with distance from the spill site. d34S of the Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea, declined downstream of the spill site, a change that was not consistent with coal ash S, and d13C suggested that Corbicula shifted their feeding mode in relation to location from the spill. Methylmercury analysis for both clams and spiders were not significantly different between upstream and downstream sites, indicating that mercury from the spill was a not significant problem in these components of the Dan River food web.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Coal ash, Corbicula, Mercury, Methylmercury, Spiders, Sulfur isotope
Corbicula fluminea $x Effect of water pollution on $z Dan River (Va. and N.C.)
Spiders $x Effect of water pollution on $z Dan River (Va. and N.C.)
Mercury $x Environmental aspects $z Dan River (Va. and N.C.)
Sulfur $x Environmental aspects $z Dan River (Va. and N.C.)
Food chains (Ecology) $z Dan River (Va. and N.C.)
Coal ash $z Dan River (Va. and N.C.)
Dan River (Va. and N.C.)

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