Environmental Lecture on ‘Contaminants in Aquatic Ecosystems’ Set

1/13/12 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University’s Environmental Lecture Series will continue its 20th year of the series on Jan. 26 when it hosts Dr. Jonathan Maul, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Maul will present a talk titled “Contaminants in aquatic ecosystems: Current issues across broad spatial scales” at 7:30 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. The theme for the series this year is “Chemical Pollution in a Global Economy.”

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Maul’s general research interests are in the areas of aquatic ecotoxicology and ecology.  He has experience and future interest in evaluating community and organism-level responses to a range of chemical stressors including pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and pharmaceuticals as well as non-contaminant stressors such as habitat alterations and predator-prey interactions.

Contaminants are chemicals put into the environment at concentrations above normal background levels. Contaminants in aquatic environments can be changed by chemical and biological processes, as well as relocated by physical processes (flow, currents, etc.). These are important to the global fate of contaminants, their general risks and areas of concern.  Persistent organic contaminants include classes of chemicals that are not easily processed or decomposed, and thus may accumulate to levels that can poison organisms.

In order to understand risk of persistent organic contaminants to aquatic organisms and ecosystem processes, it is important to understand their long-term fates, both chemically and physically. It is also important to investigate the organisms, trophic groups, functional groups, etc, that may be at greatest risk of exposure. The goal of this lecture is to discuss current issues in ecotoxicology, such as the impact of contaminant mixtures in the environment, specific concerns about pharmaceuticals/pesticides, and the impact of large toxic releases. The presentation will look at examples that consider processes at the watershed scale up to a global scale.

Dr. Maul received his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences with a focus in Environmental Toxicology from Arkansas State University, an M.S. in Biological Sciences from The University of Mississippi, and a B.S. in Biology from Stony Brook University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Southern Illinois University and was a biologist for the USDA Agricultural Research Service for two years.

Current support for the lecture series is provided by a grant from the Lubrizol Foundation and additional support from Ashland University. Recent lectures are archived for viewing at www.ashland.edu/departments/environmental-science/lecture-series.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

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