A brief ecotoxicology tour of fossil fuel pollution in Puget Sound, guided by salmon and marine forage fish

Fossil fuels, particularly in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are ubiquitous chemical contaminants throughout Puget Sound freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats. Environmental pollution involving PAHs reflect societal land uses of the past, present, and future, across multiple management and conservation sectors - e.g., historical industrial pollution, oil spills, and urban stormwater runoff associated with an expanding regional transportation grid.  This presentation will briefly review a few decades of continuous PAH ecotoxicology research by NOAA Fisheries, with an emphasis on the stewardship and restoration of vulnerable habitats for Pacific salmonids and marine forage fish, particularly Pacific herring.  Focal topics will include complex mixture toxicity; converging habitat stressors (particularly interactions with climate-driven thermal stress); sublethal or delayed-in-time effects; biological scaling (genes to populations); novel biomarkers for PAH exposure and response; and the use of models to align empirical research to regional conservation and recovery goals.

About the Speaker

The speaker standing near a shoreline in the evening
Nat Scholz, Ph.D.
Ecotoxicology Program Manager, NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Nat is a marine biologist and zoologist by training. He has managed the multidisciplinary Ecotoxicology Program since 2004. He joined the Center in 1998 as a Postdoctoral Associate with the National Academies of Science and Engineering (National Research Council) after completing a doctorate in zoology from the University of Washington. Prior to that he did masters and undergraduate research in Boston University's Marine Program in Woods Hole. He has published widely on the ecological impacts of freshwater and marine pollution - see Google Scholar for publications.

Environmental Speaker Series

The Environmental Speaker Series is hosted by the College of the Environment at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public. Talks are held each Thursday at 4:30 pm in Academic Instructional Center West room 204 - AW-204. Talks will also be streamed via zoom. Register with the Alumni Association for the zoom link. Paid parking is available in lot C.

Learn more about the Environmental Speaker Series
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