UC Merced – Professor Marc Beutel and his graduate student Mark Seelos have been recognized for papers and a presentation on toxic mercury mitigation by the North American Lake Management Society. “About half the reservoirs in California are impaired because of historic mercury and gold mining,” Seelos said.  In the winning paper, entitled “Hypolimnetic Oxygenation 2: Oxygen Dynamics in a Large Reservoir with Submerged Down-flow Contact Oxygenation (Speece cone),” Beutel and his former Ph.D. advisor, UC Berkeley Professor Alex Horne, detailed what happened when an engineered oxygenation cone using pure oxygen gas was installed in the bottoms of very large reservoirs to protect fish health. The papers are based on their research at Camanche Reservoir and a fish hatchery downstream of the reservoir on the Mokolumne River. The toxic compound methylmercury is produced by anaerobic bacteria that feed on mercury and thrive in zero-oxygen conditions. Adding oxygen to the water should slow or stop the conversion process. (more)