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Robert Mason, professor of marine sciences at the University of Connecticut, will discuss the ways in which Mercury is transported in aquatic systems noon Wednesday, April 25, in Hugel Science Center, Room 100.

The lecture, “Mercury in the Coastal Zone: An Important Source of Methylmercury to Ocean Fish,” is part of the College’s Interdisciplinary Seminar Series in the Life Sciences.

Mason’s seminar will focus on the role of biota, primarily microorganisms, in mediating the chemical transformations of mercury in natural aquatic systems.

According to Mason, Mercury inputs arise from both natural and anthropogenic sources and it appears that man’s activities have exacerbated the mercury problem globally and locally. Elevated levels of methylmercury in fish are an important human and ecosystem health concern. It is the fate, transport, and transformation of mercury in the environment that affects its bioavailability and bioaccumulation.

Mason’s trace metal laboratory focuses on mercury speciation and the biogeochemical cycling of mercury in aquatic systems and sediments. He has published about 100 articles and book chapters on the biogeochemistry of mercury. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut.

The Interdisciplinary Seminar Series in the Life Sciences has come about through the efforts of nine professors across six academic departments to help the Lafayette community gain a better understanding of the fundamental principles of research in biology, chemistry, engineering, and environmental science.

The series, which is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, will engage the campus community with current research topics in the life sciences and provide a venue for professional development in the life sciences for all Lafayette faculty through new research relationships.

As well as lecturing, invited speakers will meet with interested students and faculty. In these meetings, students will have the opportunity to discuss the science being presented and gain alternative perspectives on future careers in the field. Faculty will also have the opportunity to show the speakers the research they and their students are doing here at Lafayette.

Previous series speakers:

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