Thursday, July 10, 2014
Fifteen Great Lakes educators took to the water earlier this week for the annual Shipboard and Shoreline Science Workshop. They will spend the next six days working alongside scientists as they conduct field research aboard the EPA research vessel Lake Guardian. And emerging contaminant research has a prominent role on the agenda.
With help from SUNY Fredonia researcher Sam Mason, teachers are learning about plastic pollution in Lake Erie and collecting samples that Mason and her team will analyze back in the lab. The results will be compared with samples taken in 2012 that found unusually—and unexpectedly—high concentrations of plastic particles. The work is part Mason's larger efforts to quantify the plastic pollution in each Great Lake and understand the potential impacts of this emerging contaminant.
Joining Mason and the teachers on the boat is also Steve Mauro, a microbiologist at Gannon University. Mauro gained public attention in 2011 when he and his research team discovered that small concentrations of fluoxetine, a chemical in Prozac, are killing E. coli in Lake Erie's Presque Isle Bay. The samples he and workshop participants collect this week will help Mauro better understand the impact fluoxetine and other pharmaceutical chemicals are having throughout the lake.
You can learn more about workshop activities and hear from Mason and Mauro directly on WICU 12 Erie.
And be sure to check out the latest issue of UpClose for more information on Mason's plastic research. Watch for the next edition later this month to hear from Mauro about his work on the Lake Guardian and related projects.