Monster Seminar Jam - Learning from POPs: What anthropogenic chemicals might tell us about the Puget Sound ecosystem
Dr. Joel Baker, Environmental Science, University of Washington - Tacoma
The initial detection of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in remote environments was a seminal event in the history of environmental science, leading directly to, among other things, Silent Spring. The literature is quite rich with papers documenting the spatial distributions, temporal trends, food web accumulation, and effects of these chemicals on ecosystems and humans. Somewhat ironically, much of what is known about the energy and material flows through ecosystems has been learned by studying the movement of inadvertent tracers, including radionuclides and POPs. Many types of POPs were (and are) released into the environment in large quantities, are sufficiently mobile and persistent to be distributed globally, and associate strongly with solids, especially lipid-rich particles (aka biology). My laboratory has employed PCB, PAHs, and flame retardants to trace processes in the atmosphere as well as in lakes, rivers, and estuaries. In this talk, we will explore two case studies: habitat utilization by striped bass in the Hudson River, and the spatial range of white perch in the Chesapeake Bay. We will then explore how these techniques may assist quantification of food web structure, pollutant sources, and sediment movements in the Puget Sound.
Date and Time:
January 15, 2009,
11:00 am - 12:00 pm