December 12, 2012

Gorham scientists to do mercury research with Mexican government

The Biodiversity Research Institute will be studying contamination as part of ongoing studies of mercury pollution.

By North Cairn
Staff Writer

Biodiversity Research Institute of Gorham will be working with the government of Mexico, conducting research in that country on mercury contamination, the institute announced Tuesday.

The technical-scientific cooperation agreement involves Mexico's major federal environmental agency, the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change and BRI, said H. Bruce Rinker, the institute's director of scientific advancement and development. The agreement allows the Gorham wildlife research group to conduct scientific research in Mexico as part of ongoing studies of the effects of mercury pollution on humans and the environment.

"This agreement indicates a win-win" for both BRI and the Mexico agency, said David C. Evers, BRI's executive director and chief scientist, in a written announcement Tuesday morning. "Undoubtedly, this agreement with the Mexican government will prove a powerful tool for research and education as we work to further understand and minimize the effects of pollutants like mercury to both wildlife and humans in our neighboring countries."

The bi-national agreement is the culmination of 14 months of negotiation, said Rinker.

"This collaboration will enable (the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change) and other federal institutions to participate on a regional project with the United States to form a database in western North America to quantify the influence of land use, habitat and climate factors that affect the distribution and the health risk of the toxic metal," Victor Gutierrez Avedoy, general director of the agency, said in an earlier statement.

The monitoring of mercury will measure contamination in air, rainwater, sediment, soil and fish.

BRI researchers also are developing projects in Baja California, the northwestern Sonora Desert and the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Yucatan Peninsula, is already a focus of BRI research on the impact of marine plastics pollution on wildlife associated with the Mesoamerican reef system.

Staff Writer North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

CORRECTION: This story was updated Wednesday Dec. 12 to fix a misspelling. H. Bruce Rinker is the director of scientific advancement and development for the Biodiversity Research Institute.

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