Methylmercury concentrations in Minamata Bay are high, but the cause is unclear. We conducted a basic study on the behavior of methylmercury in Minamata Bay seawater; the findings suggest that mercury methylation may occur throughout the year in Minamata Bay. Seawater temperature, salinity, and concentrations of dissolved organic carbon were the environmental factors that affected methylation, and the degree of methylation was closely related to bacterial community structure. The concentration of methylmercury in suspended particulate matter was highest 10 m below the surface and decreased with greater depths. We did not observe a correlation between methylmercury concentrations in suspended particulate matter and concentrations of dissolved methylmercury.
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