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Photo of Dr. Martin Tsui . Dr. Martin Tsui (Biology) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “RAPID: Flooding-mediated alteration of microbial mercury methylation in coastal wetlands.” The goal of this RAPID research is to study the consequences of extreme flooding occurred on Oct, 2016 on mercury (Hg) and carbon (C) cycles and associated biogeochemical processes in coastal blackwater rivers in South Carolina. Specifically, the work will integrate field investigations and controlled experiments to examine Hg and C exports, and their sources and temporal trends along the hydrograph of the extreme flooding event. This research is partly motivated by the fact that very intensive precipitation (>24 inches in 3 days) and a significant level of natural organic matter were exported from Waccamaw River into Winyah Bay, South Carolina. This field observation suggests extreme flooding could mobilize substantial amounts of natural organic matter from forested wetlands, altering the budget of natural organic matter and Hg in coastal ecosystems. However, very little is known of Hg and C cycles in coastal ecosystems under extreme weather events and their impacts on global Hg and C cycles, as coastal wetlands are considered to be important Hg and C sinks.

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