Andrea Garcia Bravo

Andrea Garcia Bravo
Spanish National Research Council | CSIC · Institut de Ciències del Mar

PhD in Environmental Sciences

About

76
Publications
23,896
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,883
Citations
Introduction
My main research focuses on biogeochemical processes controlling the fate of pollutants in the environment. My research centres on the study of mercury biogeochemistry in any aquatic system (rivers, lakes, ponds) and terrestrial ecosystems (wetlands and soils). For a better understanding of mercury transformations in the environment, I concentrate now on unravel the role of organic matter on pollutants chemical speciation and bacterial activity in aquatic ecosystems.
Additional affiliations
June 2005 - September 2011
University of Geneva
Position
  • PhD student and Post DOc

Publications

Publications (76)
Article
As the methylation of inorganic divalent mercury (Hg(II)) to neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg) has been attributed to the activity of anaerobic bacteria, the formation of MeHg in the oxic water column of marine ecosystems has puzzled scientists over the past years. Here we show for the first time that MeHg can be produced in particles sinking through...
Article
Full-text available
A detailed understanding of the formation of the potent neurotoxic methylmercury is needed to explain the large observed variability in methylmercury levels in aquatic systems. While it is known that organic matter interacts strongly with mercury, the role of organic matter composition in the formation of methylmercury in aquatic systems remains po...
Article
Full-text available
Neurotoxic methylmercury causes adverse effects to ecosystem viability and human health. Previous studies have revealed that ponding alters natural organic matter (NOM) composition and increase methylmercury concentrations in rivers, especially in the first years after flooding. Here, we investigate the influence of NOM composition (i.e., sources a...
Article
Full-text available
Methylmercury is a potent human neurotoxin which biomagnifies in aquatic food webs. Although anaerobic microorganisms containing the hgcA gene potentially mediate the formation of methylmercury in natural environments, the diversity of these mercury methylating microbial communities remains largely unexplored. Previous studies have implicated sulph...
Article
Large-scale studies are needed to identify the drivers of total mercury (THg) and monomethyl-mercury (MeHg) concentrations in aquatic ecosystems. Studies attempting to link dissolved organic matter (DOM) to levels of THg or MeHg are few and geographically constrained. Additionally, stream and river systems have been understudied as compared to lake...
Conference Paper
Forest harvest might mobilize mercury (Hg) retained in soils and promote the transformation of inorganic Hg to its more bioavailable and toxic form methyl-Hg (MeHg). Previous studies, however, have revealed considerable variation in effects of forest harvest on the runoff of total Hg (THg) and MeHg between sites. This study addresses one factor tha...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mercury methylation genes (hgcAB) mediate the formation of the toxic methylmercury and have been identified from diverse environments, including freshwater and marine ecosystems, Arctic permafrost, forest and paddy soils, coal-ash amended sediments, chlor-alkali plants discharges and geothermal springs. Here we present the first attempt at a standa...
Poster
Full-text available
Microbes carrying the hgcAB gene pair are primarily responsible for methylmercury (MeHg) production, transforming inorganic mercury (HgII) into MeHg. Recent work based on the detection of hgcAB genes in publicly available genomic data and metagenome-assembled genomes expanded our understanding of the phylogenetic diversity of potential Hg-methylato...
Preprint
Full-text available
Neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg) is formed by microbial methylation of inorganic divalent Hg (HgII) and constitutes severe environmental and human health risks. The methylation is enabled by hgcA and hgcB genes, but it is not known if the associated molecular-level processes are rate-limiting or enable accurate prediction of MeHg formation in nature...
Article
Full-text available
A geographically constrained chronosequence of peatlands divided into three age classes (young, intermediate and old) was used to explore the role of biogeochemical influences, including electron donors and acceptors as well as chemical speciation of inorganic mercury (Hg(II)), on net formation of methylmercury (MeHg) as approximated by the fractio...
Article
Full-text available
The potent neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) is a major concern due to its negative effects on wildlife and human health. Boreal wetlands play a crucial role in Hg cycling on a global scale, and therefore, it is crucial to understand the biogeochemical processes involved in MeHg formation in this landscape element. By combining high-throughput hgcA a...
Data
Microorganisms play a significant role in regulating the form and fate of mercury (Hg) in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Microbes with the hgcAB gene pair can produce a more toxic, and bioaccumulative form of Hg, methylmercury (MeHg). Microbes that possess the mer operon can demethylate and/or reduce Hg species as part of a detoxification mech...
Article
Full-text available
With the aim of protecting human life and the environment, the Minamata Convention seeks to reduce and monitor mercury (Hg) concentrations in the environment. Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) has been identified as the most important anthropogenic source of Hg at a global scale and an important route of human exposure to Hg. In this con...
Article
The biodegradation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in natural environments is determined by its molecular composition and reactivity. Redox oscillations are common in the water-level-fluctuation zone (WLFZ) of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR). As a consequence, the soil DOM released is degraded under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. The DOM...
Article
Full-text available
Rice paddies are agricultural sites of special concern because the potent toxin methylmercury (MeHg), produced in rice paddy soils, accumulates in rice grains. MeHg cycling is mostly controlled by microbes but their importance in MeHg production and degradation in paddy soils and across a Hg concentration gradient remains unclear. Here we used surf...
Article
Full-text available
Methylmercury (MeHg), a neurotoxic compound biomagnifying in aquatic food webs, can be a threat to human health via fish consumption. However, the composition and distribution of the microbial communities mediating the methylation of mercury (Hg) to MeHg in marine systems remain largely unknown. In order to fill this knowledge gap, we used the Balt...
Article
The widely accepted conceptual model of mercury (Hg) cycling in freshwater lakes (atmospheric deposition and runoff of inorganic Hg, methylation in bottom sediments and subsequent bioaccumulation and biomagnification in biota) is practically accepted as common knowledge. There is mounting evidence that the dominant processes that regulate inputs, t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Methylmercury (MeHg), a neurotoxic compound biomagnifying in aquatic food webs, can be a threat to human health via fish consumption. However, the composition and distribution of the microbial communities mediating the methylation of mercury (Hg) to MeHg in marine systems remain largely unknown. In order to fill this gap of knowledge, we used the B...
Article
Full-text available
Coordinated distributed experiments (CDEs) enable the study of large-scale ecological patterns in geographically dispersed areas, while simultaneously providing broad academic and personal benefits for the participants. However, the effective involvement of early-career researchers (ECRs) presents major challenges. Here, we analyze the benefits and...
Article
In this study, we evaluated the phytoremediation ability of three different genotypes of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) grown on mercury-contaminated soils from gold mining areas. In particular we compared a native genotype with two commercial lines L-019 and L-042. The plants were cultivated in soils amended at different concentrations of Hg (...
Article
Colombia is one of the countries with the highest emissions of mercury (Hg) to the environment, due to its use in gold mining. This study evaluated the human health risk from exposure to Hg through fish consumption in 11 municipalities located in the Mojana region, northern Colombia. The study participants (n = 839) were categorized into three popu...
Article
Full-text available
Peatlands are globally important ecosystems where inorganic mercury is converted to bioaccumulating and highly toxic methylmercury, resulting in high risks of methylmercury exposure in adjacent aquatic ecosystems. Although biological mercury methylation has been known for decades, there is still a lack of knowledge about the organisms involved in m...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) is a natural and widespread trace metal, but is considered a priority pollutant, particularly its organic form methylmercury (MMHg), because of human's exposure to MMHg through fish consumption. Pioneering studies showed the methylation of divalent Hg (HgII) to MMHg to occur under oxygen‐limited conditions and to depend on the activity...
Preprint
Full-text available
Coordinated distributed experiments (CDEs) allow the study of large-scale ecological patterns in geographically dispersed areas, providing at the same time broad benefits for the participants. However, the effective involvement of early-stage career researchers (ECRs) confronts major challenges. Here, we analyze the benefits and challenges of the f...
Article
Full-text available
Anomalously cold conditions in the tropical Pacific, related to a strong La Niña event, affected numerous countries in 2010. Several areas in Colombia were severely impacted, including agricultural fields in La Mojana floodplain that were completely flooded for almost two years. This study assesses the effects of flooding on the levels, spatial dis...
Article
Dietary uptake is a key step in conveying both toxic mercury (Hg; particularly as highly bioavailable methylmercury, MeHg) and essential dietary biochemicals, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), across trophic levels within aquatic food webs. Using stable isotopes and fatty acids we evaluated the role of food sources in size-fractioned plan...
Article
Biotic mercury (Hg) methylation appears to depend on factors such as microbial activity and the concentration and bioavailability of Hg ²⁺ to the Hg-methylating organisms. Recently, the presence of cyanobacteria has been linked with high methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations. The aim of this work was to test MeHg production in microcosms, in relation...
Article
Full-text available
The formation of the potent neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg) is a microbially mediated process that has raised much concern because MeHg poses threats to wildlife and human health. Since boreal forest soils can be a source of MeHg in aquatic networks, it is crucial to understand the biogeochemical processes involved in the formation of this pollutan...
Article
Full-text available
Under ongoing climate change and increasing anthropogenic activity, which continuously challenge ecosystem resilience, an in-depth understanding of ecological processes is urgently needed. Lakes, as providers of numerous ecosystem services, face multiple stressors that threaten their functioning. Harmful cyanobacterial blooms are a persistent probl...
Article
Full-text available
Large variability in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) uptake rates has been reported for headwater streams, but the causes of this variability are still not well understood. Here we assessed acetate uptake rates across 11 European streams comprising different ecoregions by using whole-reach pulse acetate additions. We evaluated the main climatic and...
Article
The origin and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in porewater of lake sediments is intricate and decisive for fate of pollutants including mercury (Hg). While there are many reports on the relationship between dissolved organic carbon concentration (DOC) and mercury (Hg) concentrations in aquatic systems, there are few in which DOM comp...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg), and in particular its methylated form (methylmercury, MeHg), is a hazardous substance with the potential to produce significant adverse neurological and other health effects. Enhanced anthropogenic emissions and long-range transport of atmospheric Hg have increased Hg concentrations above background levels in aquatic systems. In this...
Data
Supplementary information and data to the review article "The importance of bioconcentration into the pelagic food web base for methylmercury biomagnification: A meta-analysis"
Article
Full-text available
Methylmercury (MeHg) transfer from water into the base of the food web (bioconcentration) and subsequent biomagnification in the aquatic food web leads to most of the MeHg in fish. But how important is bioconcentration compared to biomagnification in predicting MeHg in fish? To answer this question we reviewed articles in which MeHg concentrations...
Article
Full-text available
Insight into how environmental change determines the production and distribution of cyanobacterial toxins is necessary for risk assessment. Management guidelines currently focus on hepatotoxins (microcystins). Increasing attention is given to other classes, such as neurotoxins (e.g., anatoxin-a) and cytotoxins (e.g., cylindrospermopsin) due to thei...
Preprint
Full-text available
The formation of the potent neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg) is a microbially mediated process that has raised much concern because MeHg poses threats to wildlife and human health. Since boreal forest soils can be a source of MeHg in aquatic networks, it is crucial to understand the biogeochemical processes involved in the formation of this pollutan...
Article
Full-text available
Microbial mercury (Hg) methylation in sediments can result in bioaccumulation of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MMHg) in aquatic food webs. Recently, the discovery of the gene hgcA, required for Hg methylation, revealed that the diversity of Hg methylators is much broader than previously thought. However, little is known about the identity of Hg-met...
Article
Microbial mercury (Hg) methylation in sediments can result in bioaccumulation of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MMHg) in aquatic food webs. Recently, the discovery of the gene hgcA, required for Hg methylation, revealed that the diversity of Hg methylators is much broader than previously thought. However, little is known about the identity of Hg-met...
Article
Earlier studies have shown that boreal forest logging can increase the concentration and export of methylmercury (MeHg) in stream runoff. Here we test whether forestry operations create soil environments of high MeHg net formation associated with distinct microbial communities. Furthermore, we test the hypothesis that Hg methylation hotspots are mo...
Article
Full-text available
Beaver impoundments modify the structure of river reaches and lead to changes in ecosystem function and biogeochemical processes. Here, we assessed the changes in dissolved organic matter (DOM) quality and the biodegradation patterns in a set of beaver systems across Sweden. As the effect of beaver impoundments might be transient and local, we comp...
Data
Supplementary Figures and Supplementary Tables
Article
Full-text available
A survey carried out in Lake Tana in 2015 found that Hg levels in some fish species exceeded internationally accepted safe levels for fish consumption. The current study assesses human exposure to Hg through fish consumption around the Lake Tana. Of particular interest was that a dietary intake of fishes is currently a health risk for Bihar Dar res...
Article
Full-text available
Streams play a key role in the global biogeochemical cycles, processing material from adjacent terrestrial systems and transporting it downstream. However, the drivers of stream metabolism, especially those acting at broad spatial scales, are still not well understood. Moreover, stream metabolism can be affected by hydrological changes associated w...
Article
Full-text available
Chlor-alkali plants using mercury (Hg) cell technology are acute point sources of Hg pollution in the aquatic environment. While there have been recent efforts to reduce the use of Hg cells, some of the emitted Hg can be transformed to neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg). Here, we aimed (i) to study the dispersion of Hg in four reservoirs located downs...
Article
Full-text available
In many northern temperate regions, the water color of lakes has increased over the past decades (“lake browning”), probably caused by an increased export of dissolved organic matter from soils. We investigated if the increase in water color in two lakes in Norway has resulted in increased burial of organic carbon (OC) and mercury (Hg) in the sedim...
Article
Sewage treatment plants (STPs) are important point sources of mercury (Hg) to the environment. STPs are also significant sources of iron when hydrated ferric oxide (HFO) is used as a dephosphatation agent during water purification. In this study, we combined geochemical and microbiological characterization with Hg speciation and sediment amendments...
Article
Full-text available
Previous direct observations of the sediment surface in Vidy Bay, Lake Geneva (Switzerland), revealed a range of sediment characteristics in terms of colour, texture and morphology. Dives with the MIR submersibles during the éLEMO project permitted the exploration of a large portion of Vidy Bay. It is the most contaminated part of Lake Geneva, due...
Article
We examined mercury (Hg) biogeochemistry and biomagnification in the Babeni Reservoir, a system strongly affected by the release of Hg from a chlor-alkali plant. Total mercury (THg) concentrations in river water reached 88 ng L(-1) but decreased rapidly in the reservoir (to 9 ng L(-1)). In contrast, monomethylmercury (MMHg) concentrations increased...
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to assess the effect of a rooted macrophyte Elodea nuttallii on rhizosphere bacterial communities in Hg contaminated sediments. Specimens of E. nuttallii were exposed to sediments from the Hg contaminated Babeni reservoir (Olt River, Romania) in our microcosm. Plants were allowed to grow for two months until they occ...