Seminar: Nov. 10, Jessica Brandt

Our seminar speaker on Friday, November 10, from 12:00 – 1:20pm in Field Auditorium, Environment Hall, will be our own Jessica Brandt, a 5th year UPEH/ITEHP PhD candidate in Dr. Rich Di Giulio and Dr. Emily Bernhardt’s labs. She will be speaking about “Tracing coal ash through aquatic food webs: enrichment, bioaccumulation, and toxicity.”


Please find the abstract of her talk below:

Coal-fired power plants are the largest point source of environmental pollution in the US and release an estimated 1 million metric tons of pollutants (i.e., coal combustion residuals or CCRs) to aquatic ecosystems each year. In the past, research on the ecotoxicological consequences of this waste stream have focused on selenium and the US EPA has recently revised their selenium criteria for the improved protection of aquatic life. In this talk, I will describe the current selenium burden in CCR-receiving systems as it relates to these revised criteria for surface waters and fish tissues, and discuss how sub-teratogenic levels of selenium exposure can compromise the ecological fitness of freshwater fishes. Finally, I will present the CCR waste stream as a multivariate mix of toxicologically-relevant stressors and consider how ecosystem-specific features influence the magnitude and duration of CCR impacts in lakes with decades-long histories of inputs from adjacent power plants.