The environmental geochemistry and biology of hydraulic fracturing – Themed Issue

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (ESPI) seeks your high-impact research for our upcoming Themed Issue on The environmental geochemistry and biology of hydraulic fracturing.

Guest Edited by Rob Jackson (Stanford University), Paula Mouser (University of New Hampshire), Desiree Plata (Yale University) and Avner Vengosh (Duke University), this Themed Issue aims to showcase original reasearch, reviews and perspectives on the topic of environmental processes in hydraulic fracturing.

Horizontal Drilling with Hydraulic Fracturing (HDHF) has enabled rapid increases in oil and gas supplies, with these technologies now being applied for hydrocarbon development in shale basins across the globe. Concerns regarding the environmental impacts of HDHF technologies have spawned new research over the past 10 years.

In this special issue, we seek to report state-of-the-art knowledge across a broad range of chemical classes (e.g., methane, light, and noble gases, hydrophilic and hydrophobic organic compounds, inorganic chemicals, isotope tracers, radioactive elements, and heavy or rare earth metals) and disciplinary perspectives (e.g., environmental microbiology, geochemistry and biogeochemistry, fluid dynamics and hydrology, as well as public health and policy considerations) that integrate new research findings in environmental processes. The overarching goal of the collection will be to highlight the significant advancements made toward understanding the potential environmental impacts and vulnerabilities of HDHF technologies, assemble important novel contributions in the field, and identify current limitations or uncertainties in the research to motivate pointed future study.

The submission window for this Themed Issue closes on 27th July 2018. If you would like to submit to this Themed Issue,  please get in touch with the Editorial Office (espi-rsc@rsc.org) to register your interest.

Guest Editors: (from left to right) Rob Jackson (Stanford University), Paula Mouser (University of New Hampshire), Desiree Plata (Yale University) and Avner Vengosh (Duke University).

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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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New Editorial Board members for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

We are delighted to welcome three new members to the Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Editorial Board.

Delphine Farmer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado State University. Her work focuses on the development of new analytical techniques to study human influences on atmospheric chemistry and biosphere-atmosphere exchange of reactive trace gases and particles. Delphine received a Hermann Frasch Foundation Award in 2012 and an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award in 2013
Lenny Winkel is Assistant Professor (with tenure-track) of Inorganic Environmental Geochemistry at ETH Zurich and Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Her current research is aimed at understanding the processes controlling the biogeochemical cycling and environmental distribution of trace elements, and the effects of climate and environmental changes on these processes, through modelling, field and laboratory studies. A further focal point is the development of novel analytical methods to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze trace elements in different environmental matrices.
Dr Guang-Guo Ying is the Director and Distinguished Professor of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology in the Environmental Research Institute of South China Normal University. His research interests focus on environmental contamination assessment and remediation technology, including the fate and effects of contaminants in the environment. He is currently conducting research in emerging science areas such as antibiotics and AMR, endocrine disrupting chemicals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment, and environmental issues associated with wastewater and biosolidreuse as well as water quality improvement technology. He is interested in the development of chemical and biological tools for the risk assessment of chemicals in the environment.

Emerging Investigators Series:

In addition to joining the Editorial Board, Delphine, Lenny and Guang-Guo will be Editors for our ongoing Emerging Investigators Series. This Series aims to highlight the best research being conducted by early career scientists in the field of Environmental Chemistry.

Papers included in the Series will be extensively advertised, including a feature interview with the lead author on our blog, a mention in our table of contents alerts and on Twitter. The Series is ongoing, with articles being added to the online collection on publication, meaning there are no submission deadlines.

To be eligible for the Emerging Investigator Series you will need to have completed your PhD (or equivalent degree) within the last 10 years* and have an independent career. If you are interested in contributing to the Series please contact the Editorial Office (espi-rsc@rsc.org) and provide the following information:

  • Your up-to-date CV (no longer than 2 pages), which should include a summary of education and career, a list of relevant publications, any notable awards, honours or professional activities in the field, and a website URL if relevant;
  • A synopsis of the article intended to be submitted to the Series, including a tentative submission date. This can be an original research or review article. Please visit the journal website for more details on article types. Please note that articles submitted to the journal for the Series will undergo the usual peer-review process.

Read the articles included in the Series so far at – rsc.li/espi-emerging

Keep up to date with the latest papers added to this Series on our twitter feed (@EnvSciRSC) with the hashtags #EmergingInvestigators #ESPI

*Appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break or followed a different study path

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New Advisory Board members for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

ESPI is delighted to welcome the following new members to our Advisory Board:

Richard Brown, National Physical Laboratory, UK. Professor Brown’s research focuses on trace chemical analysis to provide traceability for, and improve the accuracy of, measurements of pollutants in ambient air and other environmental matrices. He is also involved in research into complex data analysis and calibration techniques.
Tamara Galloway, University of Exeter, UK. Professor Galloway’s research focuses on marine pollution, the human health effects of pollutants and the sustainable development of novel materials and substances.
Colleen Hansel, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA. Professor Hansel’s research sits at the intersection of mineralogy, geochemistry, and microbiology with the goal of disentangling the reaction networks that mediate metal and mineral dynamics in natural systems. She is broadly interested in how Earth’s changing climate impacts key mineralization reactions essential for organismal health and functioning, including coral calcification, diatom silicification, and mineral-based metabolisms is researching the biotic and abiotic reaction networks that are involved in biogeochemical cycles and mineralization.
Hans Christian Bruun Hansen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Professor Hansen’s main research interest in solid-solution processes in soils and sediments governing pollutant fate and with applications in soil and water cleaning.
Kara Nelson, University of California, Berkeley, USA. Professor Nelson’s research focuses on the detection, removal, and inactivation of pathogens in water and sludge; water reuse; nutrient recovery; Drinking water and sanitation in developing countries.
Weihua Song, Fudan University, China. The goal of Professor Song’s research is to understand key chemical processes of current environmental problems. Specifically, the reactivity, transformation and fate of emerging contaminants in natural and engineered environments.
Elsie Sunderland, Harvard University, USA. Research in Professor Sutherland’s lab  focuses on how biogeochemical processes affect the fate, transport and food web bioaccumulation of trace metals and organic chemicals. Her group develops and applies models at a variety of scales ranging from ecosystems and ocean basins (e.g., the Gulf of Maine, the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans) to global applications to characterize how changes in climate and emissions affect human and ecological health.

Read some of the high-impact research published in ESPI by our new Advisory Board members below:

Predicting the frequency of extreme air quality events
Richard J. C. Brown and Peter M. Harris

Biological versus mineralogical chromium reduction: potential for reoxidation by manganese oxide
Elizabeth C. Butler, Lixia Chen, Colleen M. Hansel, Lee R. Krumholz, Andrew S. Elwood Madden and Ying Lan

Photo-transformation of pharmaceutically active compounds in the aqueous environment: a review
Shuwen Yan and Weihua Song

 

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Kris McNeill’s Editors Choice – Aquatic Photochemistry

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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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Emerging Investigators Series – Andres Martinez

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

Andres Martinez is a Researcher Scientist and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, USA. He has 10 years of scientific research experience, during which he has developed expertise in the areas of field sampling, development of analytical method and analysis of hydrophobic organic compounds in complex environmental matrices, environmental modeling, and data analysis. Distribution, transport, and fate of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in air, water and sediment/soil have been his main areas of interest, where he has already published more than twenty peer review papers in high impact scientific journals. His research has included collaboration with other researchers in the Iowa Superfund Research Program, IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, department of Occupational and Environmental Health, the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER), and Lucille A. Carver Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (LACMRERS), at the University of Iowa. He has also collaborated with researchers in the department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, the University of Texas at Austin and researchers from the Department of Environmental Health, Boston University

 

Read his Emerging Investigators series article “Development and application of polymeric electrospun nanofiber mats as equilibrium-passive sampler media for organic compounds” and find out more about his research in the interview below:

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the role of the use of polymeric electrospun nanofiber mats for monitoring environmental organic compounds. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

It is quite different. Most of my research focus on measuring and modelling PCBs and other POPs in the environment (air, water, sediment) using already tested active and passive sampling methods. Here, we developed “from scratch” a novel passive method to measure more polar organic compounds in water and sediment systems.

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

Exploring new research ideas.

In your opinion, what is the biggest advantage of using nanofiber mats over traditional organic compound sampling mediums?

As we emphasize in the paper, the idea of fabricating electrospun nanofiber mats (ENM) that sample during the equilibrium stage, which minimizes the uncertainty when calculating the environmental concentration. It is very promising (i.e., shorter field deployments and easier analytical detection). In addition to the ENM high surface area-to-volume ratios (S/V), that is a faster sampler, we can improve their uptake performance through surface chemical functionalization and addition of nanoparticles.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Generate interesting research questions that can be funded.

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

SETAC Minneapolis.

How do you spend your spare time?

With my family.

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

Good question. Outdoor photographer…

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

Develop new collaborations

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Emerging Investigators series – Anke Neumann

 

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

Anke Neumann is an environmental chemist (MSc in Chemistry from ETH Zurich, 2004) and received her PhD from ETH Zurich (2009). She carried out postdoctoral research in Bangladesh (freelance, 2009-2011) and at the University of Iowa (fellowships, 2011-2013). In 2014, Anke joined Newcastle University as a Lecturer in Environmental Engineering.

Her research focuses on redox processes at the mineral-water interface and how these processes affect the fate of organic and inorganic compounds in the environment. For more details, visit her research group’s website

Read her Emerging Investigators series article “As(V) in magnetite: incorporation and redistribution” and find out more about her research in the interview below:

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on sorbed and incorporated As on magnetite and the effect of Fe minerals on As mobility in natural systems. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My first article was based on my MSc work on the redox reactivity of Fe(II) species associated with Fe-bearing clay minerals and I have worked on redox reactions of Fe minerals and their effect on contaminant fate ever since. I started working on the interactions between Fe minerals and As after my PhD, when I led and conducted a long-term field project investigating As removal from drinking water with zero-valent iron-based filters in Bangladesh. It was then lucky coincidence that I arrived in Michelle Scherer’s lab as a postdoc just as Brittany Huhmann was beginning her MSc project on As-magnetite interactions, which provided the data for this most recent article.

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

I am actually excited about two projects. On the one hand, my PhD students have been producing very interesting results from their work on contaminant degradation with Fe-bearing clay minerals that they reduced with dissolved Fe(II). On the other hand, I am also interested in oxygenation reactions of Fe(II)-bearing clay minerals, which have long been overlooked and are now – finally – enjoying increasing attention. So, this new field is expanding and quickly gaining momentum, and I am excited to contribute to further developing this field.

In your opinion, what is the potential impact of your findings on groundwater quality?

I do not think that our findings will change groundwater quality per se but rather increase our understanding of how and where As is sequestered in the environment, for example an aquifer. The new insights will also help us to design and engineer sequestration pathways, be it in situ in the aquifer or once the water has been pumped to the surface. This will be particularly important when we think about water management for the future, which will likely include approaches such as managed aquifer recharge or aquifer storage and recovery and produce conditions under which As sequestration into magnetite could occur.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

Most of my research focuses on understanding reactions mechanisms and how things work at a very fundamental level. I find it sometimes difficult to convince others of the significance and relevance of my research to environmental issues and ‘real-world’ problems.

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

I usually attend one or two conferences a year, such as Goldschmidt, ACS National Meetings, or the Clay Minerals Society Annual Meeting. My ‘conference season’ has just ended with the start of the new semester and so far, the only set event this year is the biennially held Iron Biogeochemistry workshop.

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend most of my free time with my family. Seeing my daughter (4) grow up, exploring the world, and, just recently, starting school is my reality check and spending time with her makes me realize the (other) really important things in life.

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

This is one of the most difficult questions for me – I never really considered any other profession. I think that if I had to quit being a scientist, I would need to do something really different but I also enjoy creating ‘TOC art’ and similar, although I am not sure that I am sufficiently artistic to make this a profession.

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

As a scientist, your work is constantly being judged: prepare yourself for harsh criticism and also failure to convince, for example reviewers of your papers or grant applications. When I am faced with rejection, I find it important to be able to tap into a broad variety of support: from my colleagues who have been in the same situation and cheer me on; from my friends who engage me in a life outside of academia; and, most importantly, from my family who so naturally confront me with a totally different perspective on things.

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Environmental Chemistry of Water, Sediment, Soil and Air: Early careers meeting

Environmental Chemistry of Water, Sediment, Soil and Air: Early careers meeting is taking place in London, UK on 14th December 2017.

Organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environmental Science Group, you will have the opportunity to share your research in a supportive environment, network with fellow early career scientists, and hear about the career opportunities available to Environmental Chemists.

Speakers include:

Dr Ailsa Stroud – Defra Air Quality team​
A Senior Scientific Policy Advisor, currently working for Defra’s Air Quality team, Ailsa Stroud has provided impartial scientific advice to the UK Government on atmospheric chemistry and air quality, climate change, global resilience and adaptation strategies and geoengineering. Following her PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from the University of Cambridge, she spent 5 years as an Ice Core Analytical Chemist at the British Antarctic Survey, leading field programmes in both polar regions.She is also a Visiting Fellow at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.​

 
Dr Laura Newsome​ – ​University of Manchester
Laura is a research scientist currently working at the University of Manchester. Her research explores how microorganisms affect the fate and transport of contaminants and metals in the natural environment. For her PhD she investigated how natural microbial processes can be stimulated in the subsurface to remediate radioactively contaminated groundwater.  In between obtaining her degree in environmental geology and starting her PhD, Laura spent 6 years working as a radioactive substances and chemicals scientist at the Environment Agency and as an environmental consultant.

Key Dates:

Abstract Deadline: 16th November

Early Bird Registration Deadline: 16th November

Registration Deadline: 30th November

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Modeling in Environmental Chemistry: Themed Issue

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (ESPI) seeks your high-impact research for our upcoming Themed Issue on Modeling in Environmental Chemistry

Edited by ESPI Associate Editor Matthew MacLeod (Stockholm University) and Guest Editors Todd Gouin (TG Environmental Research) and Tom McKone (University of California), this issue will showcase original research, perspectives, and reviews, relating to the use of modeling strategies to understand environmental systems. The scope of this issue is broad, and includes but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Global modeling of pollutants
  • Environmental fate modeling
  • Bioaccumulation modeling
  • Exposure assessment
  • Modeling in regulatory risk assessments
  • Toxicokinetic/toxicodynamic modelling

The submission window for this Themed Issue closes at the end of October 2017 – if you would like to submit to this Themed Issue, please contact the ESPI Editorial Office at espi-rsc@rsc.org to register your interest.

Guest Editors: Left to Right – Matthew MacLeod (Stockholm University) Todd Gouin (TG Environmental Research) and Tom McKone (University of California)

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