Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Review article
20 Dec 2014
Review article |  | 20 Dec 2014

Chemical and physical transformations of mercury in the ocean: a review

N. Batrakova, O. Travnikov, and O. Rozovskaya

Abstract. Mercury is well known as a dangerous neurotoxin enriched in the environment by human activities. It disperses over the globe, cycling between different environmental media. The ocean plays an important role in the global mercury cycle, acting both as a dispersion medium and as an exposure pathway. In this paper, we review the current knowledge on the major physical and chemical transformations of mercury in the ocean. This review describes the mechanisms and provides a compilation of available rate constants for the major processes in seawater, including oxidation and reduction reactions under light and dark conditions, biotic and abiotic methylation/demethylation, and adsorption by particles. These data could be useful for the development of transport models describing processes undergone by mercury in the ocean.