SAC #37: Pesticides in Remote Alpine and Polar Ecosystems



07 June 2007, 4- 5:30pm


Room 6 N 2 in the Richardson Building (6th floor).


Kimberly Hageman, University of Otago, Department of Chemistry


Synthetic pesticides and other semi-volatile organic pollutants have been detected in some of the Earth?s most remote alpine, Arctic, and Antarctic ecosystems and in sentinel species such as polar bears and Adélie penguins. The presence of pesticides in remote ecosystems is of concern because many are carcinogenic or estrogenic and therefore pose toxicological threats to sensitive aquatic and terrestrial organisms. While the presence of anthropogenic SOCs in polar regions is largely attributed to long-range atmospheric transport, mountains located near centers of human activity may be subject to both long-range and regional sources. Despite significant policy implications, little research attention has been devoted to understanding the relative contributions of different pesticide sources on mountain ecosystems.

This presentation will describe results from a recent project in which pesticide concentrations were quantified in snow and other environmental matrices collected at alpine, Arctic, and sub-Arctic sites in national parks in the western United States. Correlation analysis revealed that regional current and historic agricultural practices are largely responsible for the distribution of pesticides in the national parks in this study. This presentation will also describe plans to utilize New Zealand?s South Island to gain globally-applicable insights about atmospheric transport processes that would be difficult to acquire elsewhere. The South Island is one of the best places in the world to study theses processes because the pesticide source pattern surrounding the Southern Alps is relatively simple compared to those that typically surround continental mountain systems. Additional ideas for collaborative projects with University of Otago researchers will also be discussed.

About the Speaker

Kimberly Hageman is an environmental chemist focused on studying the fate of organic pollutants in the environment. She has recently joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Otago, where she teaches environmental chemistry and is in the process of establishing an analytical laboratory. Kimberly conducted her PhD and postdoctoral research projects at Oregon State University in the US.