Author Archive

The Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Contaminated Environments 2018

The Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Contaminated Environments

6th June, Burlington House, London

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The aim of this meeting is to explore how understanding the geochemistry and mineralogy of the natural environment can help us to predict the fate and behaviour of contaminants, and mitigate their impacts.

The deadline for standard registration closes on 18th May. Please register using the RSC booking portal and find further information about the meeting including confirmed speakers and contact details on our Conference and Events database.

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Congratulations to the winner of NOSA Early Career Scientist Aerosologist Award 2018

We are delighted to announce the winner of the NOSA Early Career Scientist Aerosologist Award 2018. Jana Johansson (pictured below) from Stockholm University has been awarded the prize for the best Ph.D. thesis of 2017 by the Nordic Society for Aerosol Research (NOSA).

“I have a MSc in Chemistry and a PhD in Applied Environmental Science, both from Stockholm University. I defended my thesis in June of 2017. Its title is ‘Sources, transport and fate of perfluoroalkyl acids in the atmosphere’. Perfluoroalkyl acids are persistent anthropogenic chemicals present in humans, biota and in the abiotic environment globally. Several potential sources have been proposed to explain the presence of perfluoroalkyl alkyl acids in the atmosphere. My research is focused on increasing our understanding of their relative importance on the global scale. One of the main findings presented in my thesis is that perfluoroalkyl acids are strongly enriched in sea spray aerosol. Consequently, the global oceans may act as an important source of perfluoroalkyl acids to the atmosphere. As a post doc, I am now setting up studies to test this hypothesis as well as studies aimed at determining the importance of sea spray as a vector for ocean-to-atmosphere transport of other anthropogenic and biogenic substances.”

“During my time as a PhD student I noticed that there is quite a big divide between contaminant scientists and aerosol scientists. As a result, our view of the atmospheric transport of pollutants is sometimes overly simplistic. To address some of the questions which have remained unanswered in my field during the last decade, I collaborated with scientists from the atmospheric aerosol unit of the Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (Stockholm University). Receiving recognition from the aerosol community has encouraged me to continue this work as part of my post doc”, says Jana Johansson.

Congratulations to Jana on this outstanding achievement. We wish her all the best with her future research on sea spray aerosols.

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Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting (ASLO) 2018

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting (ASLO) 2018 takes place in Victoria, BC, Canada from 10-15th June 2018.

This meeting will encourage you to bring your knowledge, curiosity, and creativity to connect with each other and to share your passion for water!

 

The full scientific program will be posted in April 2018 so keep checking the conference website here for details. To register for the conference, click here.

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International Conference on Computational Chemistry and Toxicology in Environmental Science 2018

The International Conference on Computational Chemistry and Toxicology in Environmental Science 2018 will be held at the National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan from 4th May 2018 to 6th May, 2018.

 

Topics of interest include Environmental multimedia model, Environmental Computational Chemistry and Computational Toxicology. For further details including other topics of interest, invited speakers, plenary lectures and information on the organising committee, see the conference website.

Organizer: National Chung Hsing University

Implementer: Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Hsing University

Contact personProfessor Chia Ming Chang

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Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts in 2017

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (ESPI) in 2017, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Dr Matthew Baker, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Dr Antonio Di Guardo, University of Insubria

Dr Todd Gouin, TG Environmental Research

Dr Elisabeth Janssen, Eawag

Dr Douglas Latch, Seattle University

Dr Zhe Li, Stockholm University

Professor Michael McLachlan, Stockholm University

Dr  Katherine Peter, University of Washington Tacoma

Dr Ruiyang Xiao, Central South University

Dr Xianming Zhang, University of Toronto

We would also like to thank the ESPI board and the Environmental Chemistry community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre

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11th Annual Conference on Persistent Organic Pollutants

11th Annual Conference on Persistent Organic Pollutants will be held in Birmingham, UK between 25th-26th April 2018

There will be plenary talks given by leading international figures at the start of the programme for each morning and afternoon.  These will be supported by a full programme of oral and poster presentations.  The conference is aimed at researchers, consultants and policy-makers with interests in persistent organic pollutants.

Dates of Event
25th April 2018 – 26th April 2018
Last Booking Date for this Event
5th April 2018

Registration fees: 

£192.50 (late registration full delegate) without overnight accommodation.

£55 (Student/NGO delegate) without overnight accommodation on 25 April.

For more information, see the conference website.

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COGER 2018, 37th Annual Open Meeting

COGER 2018 will be held at the Manchester Conference Centre, UK between 11th-13th April, 2018.

The meeting will start at midday on Wednesday 11th April and finish at midday on Friday 13th April 2018. The main purpose of the COGER Open Meeting is an informal discussion of active and proposed research concerning all aspects of environmental radioactivity. The informal nature of the meeting makes it particularly attractive to students or first time presenters. Presentations that might help the COGER community engage with the ‘impact’ agenda are particularly welcome, especially from non-academic stakeholders.

Confirmed speakers include Prof Richard Wakeford at The University of Manchester, UK. 

LOCATION & DATES 

Manchester Conference Centre, UK 11th-13th April 2018

DEADLINES:

 Standard Registration – 19th March

Abstracts (Oral and and Poster) – 19th March

To more information, please see the conference website or the RSC Events Database to download the registration form and relevant templates.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Raoul-Marie Couture

We are delighted to introduce our latest Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts Emerging Investigator, Raoul-Marie Couture!

Raoul-Marie Couture is an aquatic geochemist studying coupled elementary cycles in lakes, waterlogged soils and freshwater sediment, with a focus on such systems within the boreal zone. He holds a BSc in Chemistry (2004) from Laval University and a PhD in Water Sciences (2010) from the University of Quebec, Canada. After his graduate studies he held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Research Assistant Professor position in the Ecohydrology Group at the University of Waterloo. From 2013 to 2018, he was researcher, then head of the section for Catchment Processes at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) in Oslo, Norway. Form March 1st 2018 onward he is Associate Professor in the Chemistry department at Laval University. His research aims to understand how the biogeochemical cycling of key elements responds to human activities and climatic factors, with the overarching goal of improving water quality. To acheve his research goals, he combines field work, instrumental analysis and process-oriented computer modelling. His publications have touched on the modelling of biogeochemical processes controlling seasonal anoxia and algae blooms in lakes, the speciation and fate of contaminant metals and metalloids, and the modelling of sediment-water interactions during early diagenesis. He lives in Quebec city with his spouse and two daughters.

Read his Emerging Investigators series article: “Geochemistry of trace elements associated with Fe and Mn nodules in the sediment of limed boreal lakes and find out more about him in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the geochemistry of trace elements in the sediment of limed boreal lakes. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

This article reflects my continuous interest in sediment redox processes and in metal and metalloid diagenesis. Since my first article in 2008, my research has evolved to consider multiple lake systems at once, and how they respond to multiple pressures such as atmospheric deposition, long-term changes in land use and climate, and to geoengineering measures.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

I am just about to start a new position as a professor in the chemistry department at Laval University. I am looking forward to building a research group in aquatic geochemistry to work the impact of current environmental changes on water quality. I am particularly excited about the opportunity to work on a wide range of water quality issues in various settings, from populated agricultural catchments to boreal and arctic landscapes.

In your opinion, what is the biggest environmental impact posed by the release of trace elements into the water column?

The release of trace elements – especially those that are potentially toxic – to the water column can have a significant environmental impact. In the natural environment, it is a threat to aquatic ecosystems, with often severe impact on the food web from phytoplankton to fish. In drinking water reservoirs, it is a direct threat to water quality and to human health.  Understanding on how trace elements can remain sequestered in the sediment contributes to reducing their environmental impacts.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

The most challenging aspect of my research is the combination of field work, laboratory experiments and computer-based modelling. Understanding the coupled cycling of major and trace elements in the aquatic environment requires balancing project resources along these three axes.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

I can be found at the upcoming workshop on Restoration of Eutrophic Lakes in Lahti, Finland, June 4-5 2018 (https://lahtilakes2018.fi/) and at the upcoming Goldschmidt 2018 conference in Boston, USA, Aug. 17-18, 2018.

How do you spend your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my spouse and two young daughters. These days I am also learning the ins and outs of improving the old house that we recently bought in Quebec City.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Choosing between art and natural sciences was a difficult decision when the time came to select an undergraduate program – my other choice would have been architecture.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

I have experienced that the demands on the time of young researchers is hard to balance, especially with the needs of a young family. Learning early to manage our time efficiently strikes me as an important skill.  For instance, knowing in advance the criteria for advancement has helped me to seize the right opportunities.

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Emerging Investigator Series – Andrew Graham

We are delighted to introduce our latest Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts Emerging Investigator, Andrew Graham! 

Andrew Graham is an environmental geochemist specializing in the fate of trace elements in aquatic environments.  Andrew received his BA in Geology from Earlham College (2003) and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering (with Ed Bouwer).  From 2010-2012, Andrew was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (with Cindy Gilmour), and began his career at Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) as an assistant professor of chemistry in 2012.  At Grinnell, Andrew teaches courses in earth system science, inorganic and environmental chemistry, geochemistry, and water resources, and maintains an active undergraduate research group.

Read his Emerging Investigators series  article: “Methylmercury speciation and dimethylmercury production in sulfidic solutions” and find out more about him in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on methylmercury speciation and dimethylmercury production in sulfidic solutions. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

The first publication from my Ph.D. work was on chromium speciation in anoxic sediments, with an emphasis on the role that acid volatile sulfides (composed of aqueous sulfide and mineral phases such as FeS) play in reducing Cr(VI) to Cr(III).  Most of my work now centers on Hg biogeochemistry, but a common thread to my work has been in understanding the intersection of the biogeochemical cycles of sulfur and trace elements.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

I teach at a small liberal arts college, and my laboratory consists entirely of undergraduate students.  Three undergraduate students (Kanzler, Leverich Trainer, and Yang) were co-authors on the paper published in ESPI.  Getting to share in the process of scientific discovery with my students and mentoring them at this early stage of their scientific careers is the most exciting and rewarding part of my job.   I’ve been pretty much a strict experimentalist throughout my career, and the opportunity to collaborate with computational chemist colleagues at ORNL (Lian and Parks) and PNNL (Govind) on this paper was also really exciting.

In your opinion, what is the biggest environmental concern presented by methylmercury speciation and dimethylmercury production?

Methylmercury is a potent neurotoxin that bioaccumulates and biomagnifies in aquatic foodwebs.  Most of human exposure to mercury comes from eating methylmercury-contaminated fish, especially pelagic fish like tuna.  In the oceans, a significant portion of the organic mercury is dimethylmercury (DMeHg), but we know relatively little about the origin and fate of DMeHg.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Most of my energy right now is aimed at understanding element cycling in real natural systems.  For example, my group is working on understanding Hg cycling in alluvial groundwaters in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Scaling findings from controlled laboratory experiments to real systems is a challenging task.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

I usually attend one or two meetings per year – the American Chemical Society National Meeting and the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (which meets every other year).

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend most of my time outside of work with my family.  My wife Lauren and I enjoy helping our twin four-year old sons explore the world.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

If I had more discipline and more talent, I’d write literary nonfiction, in the mold of one of my favorite authors, John McPhee.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

My most significant scientific discoveries have occurred when I’ve asked good questions about “failed” experiments.  These experiences are frustrating at the time, to be sure, but remaining open to what the data are telling you allows you to better define the limits of your knowledge or underlying assumptions.

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Emerging Investigators series – Ami Riscassi

We are delighted to introduce our latest Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Emerging Investigator, Ami Riscassi!

Ami received her B.S. in Mathematics from Wake Forest University (1996) and worked in Yosemite National Park for the next year where she decided to pursue a career which would allowed her to apply her analytical skills to supporting air and water resource management in National Parks. She returned to graduate school in 1997 for an M.S. in Environmental Engineering at the University of Virginia (UVA). After graduating in 1999, she worked as a fish/water quality research assistant with the National Park Service/USGS in Lake Clark National Park and as a physical science technician in Yosemite National Park. Ami spent the next 6 years (2000-2006) as a physical scientist within the USGS National Research Program, Water Resources Division, measuring and modeling the complex hydrologic system within Everglades National Park.

Knowing she wanted to work in forested/mountain systems as well as in her local environment, she returned to UVA to pursue her PhD in Environmental Sciences (2006-2011) conducting research within Shenandoah National Park, followed by 3-yrs as a post-doctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2011-2014). In both PhD and post-doc positions, her research focused on determining the controls on mercury mobilization from the watershed to the stream ecosystem. Ami returned to UVA in 2014 to be a research scientists and Projects Coordinator for the Shenandoah Watershed Study. In this position, she maintains the long-term water quality monitoring program while pursuing additional research questions relevant to water resources in the western Virginia mountains.

Read her Emerging Investigators series article: “The effect of wildfire on streamwater mercury and organic carbon in a forested watershed in the southeastern United States” and find out more about her research in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the effect of wildfires on streamwater mercury and organic carbon content. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

One of my first articles as a graduate student assessed the instrumentation and methodology necessary to conduct automated high-flow stream sampling for trace-level mercury analysis. I then used those methods to evaluate the hydrologic and chemical controls on mercury transport in forested mountain streams. From those remote systems, contaminated from atmospheric Hg deposition, I moved to assessing controls on stream Hg transport in an industrially contaminated urban system and expanded on the prior work to evaluate organic (methyl mercury) as well as inorganic mercury. This most recent article was an application of what I had learned about stream Hg transport, but within the context of a large scale disturbance, fire. I was ‘lucky’ to be working within Shenandoah National Park when a relatively rare wildfire (for the Eastern U.S.) burned one of our study watersheds. It didn’t take long to search the literature and conclude that the impact of forest fire on streamwater Hg had not been assessed and we were in a unique position to quickly mobilize and conduct this study. I applied the methods developed in that first paper to this most recent study; it’s a nice feeling to continue citing one of your first papers throughout your career.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

I put some research on hold for the time sensitive post-fire Hg study that I am excited to return to now. I am evaluating the response/recovery of streams in Shenandoah National Park from historical acid deposition, within the context of different flow regimes. It’s a very unique data set (collecting high flow data in headwater streams for decades is labor intensive and not frequently done!) and I’m excited to finish up the analysis, write the manuscript and get this new piece of information out to the research and resource management community.

In your opinion, what is the biggest impact to aquatic ecosystems caused by elevated mercury and organic carbon?

Elevated inorganic mercury concentrations (what we measured in this featured study) have the potential to result in increased methylmercury concentrations, given the right environmental conditions and microbial community. Methylmercury is a neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in higher order predators, like fish, that humans eat. The global community is making efforts to reduce mercury in the environment due to the negative health implications, including the U.S. (see MATS standards, https://www.epa.gov/mats). Quantifying the contribution of Hg to streamwater from unregulated sources, such as wildfire, is important to accurately assess global budgets as well as the potential for changes in methylmercury in local streams.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Communicating research findings succinctly in papers. I tend to want to write about every detail of the methods, analysis, and all my ideas of what the results may mean. I always end up writing way too much initially, but then take a few steps back, and return to it (many, many times) from the perspective of a fellow scientist not involved in the project. With that approach, I am ultimately able to sculpt it down to something that is more useful and relatively concise.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

You’ll have to come to the University of Virginia or Shenandoah National Park!  I was just at the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant this past summer and will hopefully be attending the fall AGU meeting in 2018.

How do you spend your spare time?

Trail running, dog walking, reading (just finished Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, wonderful book), and volunteering with the local collie rescue. Vacations are usually backpacking adventures with my former grad school lab-mates.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Can I just pick another type of scientist? I think being a wildlife biologist or entomologist would be pretty spectacular. If pressed, perhaps I could be a Resource Manager with a National Park or National Forest.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

From my personal experience (see my bio), I would point out that there is no one path to becoming a scientist. Pursue the ideas/places/environments/collaborations that interest you from the start and you’ll be led down a path where you enjoy your work and your life.

 

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