Can trees uncover pollution patterns? WWU geologist to discuss April 24

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 8:34am
Western Today staff

Bernard Housen will discuss the use of tree leaves as pollution monitors as part of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment speaker series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 24 in the Environmental Studies building, room 100 on Western’s campus.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

In his talk titled “Magnetic Properties of Tree Leaves Reveal Pollution Patterns in Bellingham,” Housen describes the use of tree leaves as biomonitors of airborne particulate matter in Western Washington. Airborne particulates are important factors in local and regional air quality, which in turn impacts the health of residents. Current studies suggest that metallic particulates, which derive primarily from industrial or vehicular sources, may carry greater exposure-related risks and tree leaves are especially effective collectors of particulate matter in urban and rural environments.

Housen is a professor of Geology at Western. He grew up in Auburn, graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences, and attended graduate school at the University of Michigan, where he earned a master’s and a doctorate in Geological Sciences.

The presentation will include a question-and-answer period. Anyone interested in the topic is encouraged to attend and participate. The speaker series is intended to bring together environmentally minded members of the Western and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.

Western’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized leader in producing the next generation of environmental professionals and stewards. Huxley’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum reflects a broad view of the physical, biological, social, and cultural world, and has earned international recognition for quality.

For more information, please contact Jen VanderWeyden at WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment at (360) 650-2554.