Fingerprinting Sources of Environmental Pollution Using Stable Isotopes: A Focus on Nitrogen


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Can isotopes help determine pollution sources? Find out how isotope fingerprints can support implementing preventive measures and limit the damage caused by pollution, by knowing its sources. Live: Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 11am EDT | 8am PDT | 4pm BST | 5pm CEST On demand available after airing until Sept. 25, 2020. Register free

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Event Overview:
Environmental pollution is unfortunately everywhere-in our air, our soils, and our waterways. It is a pervasive characteristic of the world we inhabit, driven by our increasing need to exploit raw materials, manufacture modern technologies, and feed our ever-expanding populations. Across the world, huge volumes of environmental pollutants enter our planet’s oceans, lakes, and rivers, damaging the health of waters critical to supporting human and aquatic life. So, where do isotope fingerprints come in to determine the source of pollution? This webcast will provide an introduction to the use of stable isotopes as key tracers for sources of pollution, focusing on nitrogen (N) one of the key nutrients for life. We will discuss how isotopes can help us understand the N cycle and fingerprint sources of human-derived N pollution, both modern and historic. Through the use of geochemical tracers such as isotopes, scientists can help policy makers determine the best routes for mitigating environmental damage and hopefully start to reverse the impact we are having on delicate ecosystems.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • An overview of stable isotope systems that may be used to trace environmental pollution, including carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen

  • Understanding how we use isotopes to come to grips with the cycling of key nutrients like nitrogen

  • How nitrogen can be used to identify historical pollution in lake sediments and how we can use both N and O isotopes to help identify the sources of this pollution

Speaker: Dr. Andi Smith, Stable Isotope Geochemist, National Environmental Isotope Facility

Time and date: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 at 11am EDT | 8am PDT | 4pm BST | 5pm CEST

On demand available after airing until Sept. 25, 2020.

Sponsor: Thermo Fisher Scientific

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