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Mercury Bioaccumulation in the Great Salt Lake’s Deep Brine Layer

Between recreation and brine shrimp commerce, Utah’s Great Salt Lake (GSL) contributes a significant amount of money to Utah’s economy. Therefore, it made big news roughly a decade ago when methylmercury results from the lake were found to be the highest ever seen in a body of water in the United States.

There are still many questions about mercury sources and mechanisms of mercury transport in the GSL, but great strides have been made in recent years. Research has shown that mercury bioaccumulation in the GSL is largely fueled by its unique geography that has caused the formation of a deep, anoxic, super-saline environment referred to as the “deep brine layer”. The highest mercury levels can be found in the deep brine layer and it is hypothesized that its existence is one of the factors involved with the unusually high methylation rates of the mercury observed in the GSL.

Erin F. Jones and Professor Wayne Wurtsbaugh of Utah State University just recently had their paper on the deep brine layer of the Great Salt Lake published in Limnology and Oceanography. This paper is very useful for understanding mercury issues in the Great Salt Lake and elsewhere. To find out more read the abstract online.

Brooks Rand Labs performed the low-level total mercury and methylmercury analyses reported in this paper for the Great Salt Lake water samples.

Brooks Rand Labs on the Road…

Join us at the AEHS Foundation’s 24th Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air in sunny San Diego, CA from March 17-20. This popular conference brings together environmental professionals from across a variety of industries to present and discuss soil, water, and air contamination. Brooks Rand Labs representative and Technical Sales Specialist, Elizabeth Madonick will be attending the conference to stay abreast of these important environmental topics.


Michelle Briscoe, President of Brooks Rand Labs, and Frank McFarland, Vice President of Quality, will be traveling to our Nation’s capital March 18-19, 2014 for the annual American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL) Policies and Practices Conference. This conference combines government relations and business practices roundtable discussions for independent laboratories, both important topics to Brooks Rand Labs leadership.

Wedding Bells at Brooks Rand Labs

Annelise Crosswhite and Ian Joslin said “I do” on Saturday, February 15th at Seattle’s Leif Erikson Hall. Craig Allan, the bride’s family friend, performed the ceremony.

The bride is studying to become a nurse practitioner at Seattle University and the groom is a BRL employee working primarily as an arsenic speciation and mercury chemist. The couple has been together for 7 years and has an 8 month old puppy named Balin.

Mr. Joslin lead an impressive, record breaking 2013 fourth quarter at BRL. Not only was he planning a wedding, but he nearly single-handedly analyzed 1690 samples for various arsenic species, which is no mean feat considering how hands-on and labor-intensive these analyses can be.

BRL wishes the couple a lifetime of happiness! Congratulations!