Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University
Abstract: Many human activities result in trace element contamination in aquatic ecosystems. Water quality criteria (WQC) designed to protect aquatic ecosystems from trace element toxicity are typically based on toxicity tests in which only direct exposure through water is evaluated, while dietary exposure pathways are ignored. Moreover, the species that often dominate freshwater ecosystems (aquatic insects) are generally under-represented in lab based toxicity tests, creating a disconnect between different aspects of the Clean Water Act (the setting of WQC and biomonitoring programs designed to evaluate biological integrity). This seminar will give an overview of research efforts in the Buchwalter lab to better understand trace element bioaccumulation and trophic transfer in a test system utilizing natural periphyton assemblages and a lab-reared mayfly. The seminar will focus on trace elements (arsenic and selenium) associated with coal ash and discuss issues associated with the wet storage of coal combustion products.