Mercury Australia Symposium 2023: Australian Research Contributions to Understanding the Global Cycling of Mercury


We are pleased to announce the return of the face-to-face Mercury Australia Symposium. This year’s Symposium will be run face-to-face and live-streamed (via Zoom) at The School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University (Coombs Bld. 9 of the Acton Campus in Canberra).


Dates: 13th and 14th of July 2023.

Please submit your expression of interest (EoI) here by the 31st March so we can organise the symposium program in April. We will be sending information about the symposium via email to those who have registered their EoI, so please submit an EoI whether you plan to speak or just attend.


Key-note speakers: We are excited to announce our guest speakers Professor Robert Mason (University of Connecticut) and Dr Katrina MacSween (Environment and Climate Change Canada). More details about our guest speakers are provided below.

We also have the participation of the  Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water representatives who will provide an update on Australia’s implementation of the Minamata Convention and opportunities for strategic engagement leading up to the next meeting of the international decision-making body (Minamata COP5).


Prizes: We will be offering prizes for the best student presentation (supported by AINSE – AU$400) and best ECR (up to 5 years post conferral of most recent degree) presentation (supported by PS Analytical – AU$500).  Please encourage students and ECRs in your research groups to submit an abstract to present.

Morning and afternoon tea will be proudly sponsored by Metrohm and the ANU School of Culture, History and Language.


Information: The abstract submission will open in April, please submit your EoI here to receive information about the symposium and deadlines. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

Topics for Abstracts

  • Policy, legislation, governance, regulation
  • Artisanal small-scale gold mining
  • Human health
  • Remediation of mercury contaminated sites/infrastructure
  • Novel analytical techniques/applications
  • Mercury in terrestrial and aquatic environments
  • Mercury in atmospheric environments

Key-note speakers:

Professor Robert Mason

Robert Mason is a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences, with a joint appointment in Chemistry, at the University of Connecticut. He has studied the environmental fate, transport and bioaccumulation of mercury and methylmercury in both freshwater and marine environments throughout his career. His current research focuses on the air-sea exchange of mercury, the reactions and transformations of mercury in surface waters and the atmosphere, and the factors influencing the formation and bioaccumulation of methylmercury at the base of the marine food chain.

Dr Mason’s talk at the Symposium will focus on the role of the ocean and air-sea exchange of mercury on the global mercury cycle, and, in particular, on the cycling of mercury in the Southern Hemisphere. The talk will focus on recent measurements made during a US GEOTRACES cruise in the South Pacific/Southern Ocean in 2022/23, and contrast and compare these with other data from around Antarctica and elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. The talk will also highlight differences between the hemispheres, in terms of sources and cycling, the gaps in knowledge, and the need for further measurements.


Dr Katrina MacSween

Dr Katrina MacSween completed her PhD at Macquarie University, where she studied mercury terrestrial air-surface exchange and the influence of meteorological and environmental factors. She is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher for Environment and Climate Change Canada, specialising in atmospheric mercury research. Her primary research involves the development of Canada’s global mercury passive air sampling network and mercury in the Arctic. Using passive air samplers, Canada has created a network  to increase global coverage of mercury monitoring, with a focus on monitoring in remote areas where access to established technologies at reasonable costs is limited. The intent of this study is to assess the feasibility of a globally implemented monitoring program using the Tekran MerPAS® to establish a baseline concentration in remote locations and help with evaluating regulatory measures outlined by the Minamata Convention. There is currently no ongoing program investigating atmospheric mercury on a truly global scale. As such, mercury researchers and policy makers rely on regional and multi-regional networks which leave large and significant gaps in in our global understanding.

Dr MacSween’s talk in the Symposium will give an overview of how the program has been run, the insights we have gained and provide an update on Australia’s contributions. The strong global picture of atmospheric mercury concentrations developed by this global program provides valuable information on atmospheric Hg patterns and helps to inform the progress of regulatory actions.

This symposium is sponsored by the ANU School of Culture, History and Language, Metrohm, P S Analytical and The Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE Ltd.) 

Students & Public, Join Our Research!