Aquatic Research Group Seminar looks at the ecological impacts of microplastics

The first event in the 2019-20 Aquatic Research Group (ARG) Seminar Series features University of Toronto Assistant Professor Chelsea Rochman presenting a talk titled “Ecological impacts of microplastics in the environment.” It takes place today, Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 12:30 p.m. in 140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building (HNES). The seminar will be followed by a free lunch at 1:30 p.m. All members of the York community are welcome to attend.

The pan-Faculty ARG Seminar Series, organized by biology Professor Sapna Sharma in York University’s Faculty of Science, brings top ecologists from across the province to York to talk about their research in aquatic ecology and what’s causing stress in our waterways.

Chelsea Rochman

Chelsea Rochman

Motivated by basic and applied questions, Rochman’s research seeks to understand the sources, fate and ecological implications of anthropogenic pollutants in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Since microplastics provide a unique opportunity to examine a complex mixture of contaminants, her past and current body of work focuses specifically on microplastics. Their presence is associated with the physical stressor of the particle, innate chemicals added during manufacturing and chemicals that accumulate on microplastics from surrounding water.

Rochman, who received her PhD in ecology through a joint program at San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis, is an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. Previously, she was a David H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow in the Aquatic Health Program at UC Davis. To bridge the gap between academia and management, Rochman collaborates with non-profit organizations and government agencies.

Here’s a look at the rest of the ARG Seminar Series lineup:

Nov. 13: Professor Robert Bailey (Ontario Tech University), “Bioassessment of freshwater ecosystems”

Feb. 12: Assistant Professor Claire Oswald (Ryerson University), “Impacts of road salt inputs on GTA streams” (tentative title)

Feb. 24: Assistant Professor Carly Ziter (Concordia University), “Thinking beyond the park: landscape structure, land-use history and biodiversity shape urban ecosystem services”

March 11: Professor Karen Kidd (McMaster University), “Local through global influences of human activities on mercury in aquatic ecosystems.”

Each seminar will start at 12:30 p.m., followed by a free lunch at 1:30 p.m. The seminars will all take place in HNES 140 except the talk on Feb. 24, which will be in 306 Lumbers Building.

The ARG includes researchers who focus on aquatic science from the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Environmental Studies, and Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. The seminar series is designed to engage this multidisciplinary scientific community at all levels, including graduate and undergraduate students, both at York University and in the wider aquatic science community.

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