Friday, November 30, 2001

Burkholder to Address Pfiesteria and Coastal Water Quality Issues

Chestertown, MD, November 30, 2001 — The McLain Program in Environmental Studies and the Washington College Chapter of Sigma Xi, as part of the Women In Science Lecture Series, present PFIESTERIA AND OTHER COASTAL WATER QUALITY ISSUES, a lecture by Joann M. Burkholder, Ph.D., on Wednesday, December 5, 2001, at 5 p.m. in the Hynson Lounge. The event is free at the public is invited to attend.
Burkholder is a professor of botany and director of North Carolina State University's Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology. Her research focuses on the nutritional ecology of algae, dinoflagellates, and aquatic angiosperms in relation to the impact that harmful algal blooms have on freshwater and marine coastal ecosystem functioning.
Through the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, Burkholder has studied the toxic dinoflagellate, Pfiesteria piscicida, which has been implicated as the primary causative agent of major fish kills and fish disease events in North Carolina estuaries, coastal areas and aquaculture operations. Pfiesteria and closely related toxic species have also been confirmed in fish kill/disease areas and aquaculture facilities outside North Carolina, from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf Coast. According to research Pfiesteria has been in this region for thousands of years as a nontoxic predator on other organisms (bacteria, algae, small animals), but experiments in the lab and the field indicate that human influences such as animal waste and nutrient run-off from farming have slowly shifted the environment to encourage Pfiesteria's fish-killing activity.
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, is a non-profit membership society of more than 80,000 scientists and engineers elected to the Society because of their research achievements or potential. Sigma Xi awards annual grants to promising young researchers, holds forums on critical issues at the intersection of science and society, and sponsors a variety of programs supporting honor in science and engineering, science education, science policy and the public understanding of science. This affiliation allows Washington College faculty and students to advance scientific education and research through grants, travel awards, conferences, and visiting scientists.

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