An underwater glider, gut microbes, low-cost air sensors, and more

EPA Science Matters

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December 6, 2016
EPA’s Science Matters newsletter delivers the latest from EPA’s Office of Research and Development straight to your inbox. Keep scrolling to read recent news and upcoming events.
Recently in EPA Research
slocum glider

Aquatic Robotics: Underwater Glider Helps Monitor Great Lakes Water Quality

EPA’s autonomous Slocum glider, the Nokomis, recently returned from a 40-day deployment in which it traveled over 1000 kilometers around Lake Superior collecting water quality data. The glider provides high resolution observations that complement our other Great Lakes science initiatives. Read more about the Nokomis in the blog.

group of researchers

Does the Microbiome Influence More than just our Gut?

The Pathfinder Innovation Project program is an internal competition for EPA scientists to receive time to explore their biggest ideas in environmental research. EPA’s Tamara Tal applied to the program to better understand whether the toxicity of environmental chemicals is modified by gut microbes. Learn about her team’s research project in the blog Pathfinder Innovation Project – Does the Microbiome Influence More than Just our Gut?

sensors installed in memphis

EPA Brings a Low-Cost Air Sensor Network to Memphis

As part of the CitySpace Air Sensor Network project, EPA researchers will install and field test a city-wide network of low-cost sensors to measure air pollution across the greater Memphis, Tennessee area. The goal of the project is to examine the value of using a low-cost air sensor network to estimate the distribution of local air quality conditions. Read more about this project in the blog EPA Brings a Low-Cost Air Sensor Network to Memphis.

Research Recap graphic with turkey

What We’re Thankful for in Environmental Science

We hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving last month! In a special blog post, our blog editor Kacey asked a few colleagues what they’re thankful for in the field of environmental science.

algal bloom in lake

Small Water Systems with a Big Problem: Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful algal blooms are a concern for all water managers but can be a particularly tough issue to tackle for managers of small systems. Responding to these blooms in a timely and efficient manner can make all the difference in the treatment process. Learn more about this issue, as well as some important takeaways from a recent EPA webinar geared to help small systems managers.

stack of recyclables

Sustainable Materials Management: At Your Fingertips

Last month, EPA released the beta version of the Materials Management Wizard web application, or “M-Wiz” for short. M-Wiz helps users navigate EPA-sourced tools and resources designed to support sustainable materials management decisions. Learn more about the tool in the blog Sustainable Materials Management: At Your Fingertips.

team of scientists installing sensor in corn field

Scientists of the Corn

EPA is at the Oregon State University Vegetable Research Farm studying how nitrate moves from crops, like corn, into groundwater. The study will help explain how we can protect drinking water by planting crops between corn rows to keep the nitrogen in the field. Learn more about the study in the blog Scientists of the Corn.

beach on Marjuro atoll

The Freshwater Cycle in the Marshall Islands

EPA research hydrologist Dr. Bill Shuster recently traveled to the Marshall Islands as an Embassy Science Fellow. He supported the US embassy there on science and technology matters and shared his scientific expertise to improve the island’s freshwater resource management. Learn more about his experience in the blog The Freshwater Cycle in the Marshall Islands.


Mapping Ecosystem Markets in EnviroAtlas: Providing Innovative Data and Tools to Inform Decision-Making

Ecosystem markets provide an innovative way to safeguard the goods and services people get from ecosystems, and EPA is thrilled to announce that maps of such markets are the latest major addition to our EnviroAtlas web tool. Read more in the blog Mapping Ecosystem Markets in EnviroAtlas: Providing Innovative Data and Tools to Inform Decision-Making.

chemical molecule

Harnessing Smart Web Technology for Sustainable Chemicals

EPA’s David E. Meyer and his team are developing an automated application to gather and manage necessary life cycle assessment data (how a product is produced, used, and handled at the end of its life) to quickly evaluate the environmental sustainability of chemicals. Learn more about this project in the blog Pathfinder Innovation Project – Harnessing Smart Web Technology for Sustainable Chemicals.

Drs Burke and Benjamin shake hands after signing MOU

Healthy Environments: A Shared Goal for Healthy Communities

This year at the 2016 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, EPA’s Dr. Tom Burke and APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin signed a Memorandum of Understanding between EPA’s Office of Research and Development and APHA. Learn about the partnership in the blog Healthy Environments: A Shared Goal for Healthy Communities.


Using Zebrafish to Quickly Screen Air Pollution Sources for Potential Impact on Heart Health

Many studies have shown that particulate matter can affect heart health. These health effects are caused by chemicals within particulate matter, which vary depending on the air pollution source. EPA’s Aimen Farraj and his team are developing an approach using zebrafish to rapidly assess the cardiotoxicity potential of particulate matter from different sources. Learn more about this project in the blog Pathfinder Innovation Project—Using Zebrafish to Quickly Screen Air Pollution Sources for Potential Impact on Heart Health.

contents of time capsule EPA’s Western Ecology Division Reflects on 50 Years of Research

EPA’s Western Ecology Division in Corvallis, Oregon recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the building. To commemorate the anniversary, the division opened the cornerstone and unsealed the time capsule to reflect on 50 years of research. Read more about the celebration in the blog EPA’s Western Ecology Division Reflects on 50 Years of Research.

Upcoming Events: Get Involved and Learn More!

Interested in getting involved or learning more? Try to catch one of the webinars or events occurring in the next few weeks.

Check out our Events page for even more!

p3 student

How to Apply for an EPA P3 Grant

Tuesday, December 6, 2:00-3:00 PM ET

P3 stands for People, Prosperity, and the Planet. Through EPA’s P3 program, college students can benefit people, promote prosperity, and protect the planet by designing environmental solutions that move us toward a sustainable future. The 2017-2018 P3 Phase 1 request for applications is expected to open in December 2016. Join this webinar to learn more about the P3 program and the funding opportunity.

children outside

Making Air Visible Event in North Carolina

Tuesday, December 6, 6:00-9:00 PM ET in Charlotte, NC

EPA will participate in Clean Air Carolina’s „Making Air Visible“ event, which will discuss how cutting-edge portable air sensors are enabling citizen scientists, along with government and private sector partners, to create healthier and more sustainable communities. Learn more about this event, the effort, and get info on how to attend.

meeting microphones

STAR Indoor Air and Climate Change Progress Review Meeting and Webinar

Wednesday, December 7 to Thursday, December 8

Join us for a Science to Achieve Results (STAR) progress review meeting and webinar for grantees awarded under the 2014 Request for Applications Indoor Air and Climate Change. Registration is free and open to the public. Learn more about these grants and find out how to attend.


Black Carbon Webinar Series

Friday, December 9, 12:00-1:00 PM ET

Black carbon is the sooty material emitted from combustion processes, and it can affect human health and the climate. In 2010, EPA awarded ten grants to universities and organizations to address black carbon’s role in global to local scale climate and air quality. In this webinar series, researchers from the grantee organizations will discuss the findings of their research projects. Learn more and register.

water tower

Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar: Approaches to Technology Approval

Tuesday, December 13, 2:00-3:00PM ET

This monthly webinar series provides a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water and waste water professionals, which allows EPA to provide training and foster collaboration and dissemination of information. December’s webinar is on Approaches to Technology Approval.

President Obama signing new TSCA

TSCA Stakeholder Meeting: New Chemicals Program

Wednesday, December 14, 9:00AM-3:00PM ET

EPA is holding a meeting to obtain input into the Agency’s implementation of new requirements for the New Chemicals Review Program under the Toxic Substances Control Act as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (TSCA). EPA will describe its review process, as well as discuss issues, challenges, and opportunities that the Agency has identified in the first few months of implementation. Find out more and register.

drinking glass

Water Research Webinar: Systems View of Nutrient Management

Wednesday, December 14, 2:00-3:00PM ET

Every other month, EPA hosts a webinar covering innovative research and sustainable solutions for complex, 21st century water issues. These solutions will help ensure that clean and adequate supplies of water are available to support human health and resilient aquatic ecosystems, now and into the future. December’s topic is Systems View of Nutrient Management – Nutrient Recovery from Human Urine.

Photo of a finger touching a computer chip

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series: Green Infrastructure Modeling Toolkit

Wednesday, December 14, 3:00-4:00PM ET

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) hosts a Tools and Resources webinar the third Wednesday of each month to share our research, demonstrate tools, and seek input from our partners. This webinar will present a toolkit consisting of five EPA green infrastructure models and tools, along with communication materials, that can be uses as a teaching tool and a quick reference resource when making green infrastructure implementation decisions. Learn more.

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Science Matters is produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. All content is copyright free and can be reprinted without permission.

Comments, feedback, and suggestions for future Science Matters articles are welcome. Please contact Samantha Linkins (linkins.samantha).



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