Mercury & Dragonflies
by Megan Hess
It's always interesting for me, being an aquatic biologist and angler, to look down into the water and see the diversity of life on the bottom of a beautiful stream. It wasn't until recently during my time researching invertebrates, that I now go out to a stream while fishing and wonder how much mercury, a neurotoxin, is in the body of the small critter my fly is trying to resemble.
Billowing smoke stacks of coal burning industries fill the Midwest. These rolling fumes contain mercury (Hg) that gets combusted into the atmosphere and deposited over the landscape and into our sensitive wetlands. Widespread deposition and the extensive nature of mercury sensitivity landscape across the Midwest have produced methylmercury problems in some of our most remote aquatic ecosystems including Voyageur's National Park.
Photo by megan hess