Diurnal variations of water total Hg, reactive Hg, and dissolved gaseous Hg concentrations and mercury flux were monitored at 2 sites in warm and cold seasons in an alkaline reservoir in southwestern China. Concentrations of total Hg and reactive Hg, as well as Hg fluxes, usually exhibited a consistent diurnal trend, with elevated values observed during the day. The increasing reactive Hg concentrations and Hg fluxes were highly related to the incident intensity of solar radiation, suggesting that sunlight-induced processes played an important role in the transformation of Hg in the study area. Dissolved gaseous Hg concentrations experienced different diurnal variations among the sampling sites, with peak dissolved gaseous Hg at midday under sunny weather conditions and in the early morning under cloudy and/or partially cloudy weather conditions. The peak values of dissolved gaseous Hg observed at midday agree well with previous results and highlight the sunlight-induced production of dissolved gaseous Hg in freshwaters, whereas dissolved gaseous Hg peaks at night suggest that microbial activity might be an additional mechanism for dissolved gaseous Hg production in surface waters. Total Hg, reactive Hg, and dissolved gaseous Hg concentrations and Hg fluxes in the warm season were consistently higher than those in the cold season; this is probably attributable to the combined effect of seasonal variations of environmental parameters, transformation of Hg species, and microbial activities. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:2256–2265. © 2013 SETAC
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