Project Acronym:






Description of the Work




Funded by:


Commission of the European Communities

Directorate General for Research

5th Framework Programme







Part of the work programme addressed / thematic priorities:


Key Action 3:Sustainable Marine Ecosystems

Sub Action 3.1: Improved knowledge of marine processes,

ecosystems and interactions


Sub Action 3.1.1:Better Assessment of Naturally Occurring

Mechanisms of Ecosystem Functioning







Date of preparation: 12 May 2002




MERCYMS will combine the efforts of 12 partners which include 11 contractors (CR) and 1 sub-contractors (SC) from 4 EU Member States, 2 Associate States and 2 Pre-Accession Countries.




City, Country

Partner Acronym

Partner's Role

Institute for Atmospheric Pollution of the National Research Council

Rende, Italy



Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications, University of Athens

Athens, Greece



Norwegian Institute for Air Research

Kjeller, Norway



Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Göteborg, Sweden



Inorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Göteborg University

Göteborg, Sweden



Department of Environmental Sciences, Institute Jozef Stefan

Ljublijana, Slovenia



Department of Civil Engineering, Israel Institute of Technology

Haifa, Israel



Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas

Katowice, Poland



Laboratoire de Chimie Analytique Bio-Inorganique et Environnement, UMR-CNRS, Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour

Pau, France



Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council

Pisa, Italy



Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, University of Ljublijana

Ljublijana, Slovenia




Katowice, Pland











1.Project Summary


Title:An Integrated Approach to Assess the Mercury Cycling in the Mediterranean Basin (MERCYMS)



Scientific Objectives and Approach:


The overall objective of MERCYMS is to investigate the major patterns affecting the cycle of mercury within and between the atmospheric and marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin by integrating modeling and experimental tasks. Specific objectives to be achieved are:(1) To improve our capability to model the fate of Hg in the marine environment and specifically its translocation from one compartment to the other; (2) To assess the qualitative and quantitative relationship between atmospheric input - direct discharges to the sea and cycle of Hg in the marine environment and its re-emission back to the atmosphere; (3) To develop an integrated modeling system to be used in the implementation of the EU Directives; (4) To apply this integrated modeling system for different environmental and socio-economic scenarios for the evaluation of optimal emission reduction strategies and control policies.


In order to achieve these objectives MERCYMS is structured in five Work Packages (WP) which include: (a) WP-1 on Data Bases that will provide the core of the input data to both atmospheric and water modeling systems as well as to socio-economic analysis; (b) WP-2 on the Integrated Modeling System which will include an atmospheric and a water modeling system, will provide information on key parameters affecting the fate of mercury and its compounds in the marine and atmospheric ecosystems and their interaction at the air-water interface (global cycling); (c) WP-3 on atmospheric and water measurements at coastal and off-shore sites that will be used to validate and calibrate the modeling performance. The validation and calibration of the integrated modeling system will be based on rigorous uncertainty analysis and optimisation procedures. The results of the modeling simulations will represent the basis for the socio-economic analysis tasks; (d) WP-4 on the integration of the biogeochemical models (WP-2) with socio-economic analysis, will focus on three specific scenarios including: the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario, the Policy Target (POT) scenario, and the Deep Green (DEG) scenario. These three scenarios will be based on the recommendations reported in the forthcoming EU Air Quality Directive on Mercury, EU Framework Water Directive (FWD), and international conventions on the protection of the European Seas, and on the needs of other working parties/stakeholders (i.e., fishery, WHO, UNEP). The outcome of these three scenarios will lead to the identification of the most cost-efficient strategy or/and policy to be adopted/considered at country and European levels in order to meet the targets of the above mentioned EU Directives and conventions; and (e) WP-5 on the Dissemination of the project results that will ensure efficient exploitation and interaction with major users.



Expected Impact:


MERCYMS aims to develop a working tool for policy makers and environmental planners for a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the mercury cycle in the Mediterranean basin, and thus, elaborate, the most cost-efficient strategy(-ies) for reducing the impact of anthropogenic sources on the marine environment and human health. These methodologies are clearly needed to achieve the targets of the (a) EU Directive on Mercury, and of (b) EU Framework Water Directive and support their implementation plans. It will help achieve the targets and goals of several international conventions and programmes on the protection of marine ecosystems and environment (i.e., MEDPOL, HELCOM, OSPARCOM) and will represent the EU contribution to the on-going initiatives of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) addressed to prepare the Global Assessment of Mercury Pollution. MERCYMS will be part of the ELOISE cluster which represents the largest contribution of the EU to the IGBP programme, specifically to the core projects of IGBP-LOICZ and IGBP-IGAC.