Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry
The disciplines of Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Toxicology compliment each other. Environmental Chemists work to understand the sources, fate, and transport of chemicals in the environment, while Environmental Toxicologists characterize the adverse effects of environmental chemicals on biota. At SPEA, scientists working in these disciplines are particularly interested in how anthropogenic activities impact water, soil, and air quality; how these chemicals alter genomes, impact the fitness of individuals, and shape populations, communities, and ecosystems; and how chemicals and their biological effects can combine to perturb Earth’s natural biogeochemical cycles and climate.
Visiting Clinical Professor
Rudy Professor and Environmental Science Faculty Chair
Professor and Director, Integrated Program in the Environment
Research by Indiana University environmental scientists shows that air-pollution-removal technology used in "self-cleaning" paints and building surfaces may actually cause more problems than they solve.
Research supports effectiveness of tree bark as novel sampling medium for contamination.
"We find that the environmental concentrations of these compounds are increasing rather rapidly," Hites said. "It's rare to find that concentrations of any compound are doubling within a year or two, which is what we're seeing with TBB and TBPH."
Air Pollution: Air concentrations of the brominated chemicals doubled every 13 months in recent years in Cleveland and Chicago.
This collaborative effort, led by LSU Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Andrew Whitehead, includes Joe Shaw and John Colbourne from Indiana University; Wes Warren of The Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis; Douglas Crawford and Marjorie Oleksiak of the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science; and Mark Hahn and Sibel Karchner from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in partnership with the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.
"Our work on methane cycling in warming tundra ecosystems fits well with the objectives for exploration of methane cycling on Mars -- a target of the upcoming missions," White said.
A project to measure levels of airborne toxic chemicals being deposited in the Great Lakes was recently awarded a $5 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network (IADN), led by SPEA professor Ronald Hites and research scientist Ilora Basu, began in 1990 under an agreement between the U.S. EPA and Environment Canada. IU has been in charge of the U.S. portion of the study since 1994, and the grant will extend IU's oversight of the project for a further five years.