May 2, 2019

Dr. Hans Paerl

Dr. Hans Paerl

Environmental Science & Technology, the flagship journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS), has named an article by Hans Paerl, PhD, on “Mitigating the Expansion of Harmful Algal Blooms Across the Freshwater-to- Marine Continuum,” as their feature article of 2018.

Additionally, Environmental Science & Technology Letters, another journal of the ACS, has selected a paper co-authored by Jason Surratt, PhD, and Yue Zhang, PhD — “Effect of the Aerosol-Phase State on Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation from the Reactive Uptake of Isoprene-Derived Epoxydiols (IEPOX)” — as one of the journal’s five best papers of the past year.

Dr. Yue Zhang

Dr. Yue Zhang

Dr. Jason Surratt

Dr. Jason Surratt

Professor Paerl, Professor Surratt and Zhang, a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, all work in the environmental sciences and engineering department at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Timothy Otten, PhD, a co-author on Paerl’s paper, received a doctoral degree from the Gillings School’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in 2012.

“ES&T is one of the best journals to publish in for environmental chemistry and environmental pollution topics,” said Surratt.

The paper he co-authored with Zhang investigated the complex chemistry, morphology and gas-to-particle partitioning of secondary organic aerosols (SOA), which is a topic at the forefront of atmospheric chemistry research. In their lab, the co-authors examined the reactive uptake of trans-β-isoprene epoxydiol (trans-β-IEPOX) on acidic sulfate particles that were coated with SOA (derived from α-pinene ozonolysis). Modeling this experimental effect with field data from the 2013 Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study campaign suggested that SOA coatings on acidic sulfate particles play a significant role in the production of IEPOX-derived SOA.

In their ES&T feature article, meanwhile, Paerl and co-authors Otten and Raphael Kudela, PhD, clarify how human nutrient pollution, coupled with rising temperatures and an increasing frequency of extreme storms and droughts, is promoting a global expansion of harmful algal blooms (HABs) across the freshwater-to-marine continuum from river headwaters to the coastal ocean. HABs pose serious consequences for water supplies, fisheries, recreational use, tourism and property values.

Their article also shows that there has been a paradigm shift in researchers’ understanding of how nutrients control such blooms. Phosphorus (P) reductions traditionally have been prescribed exclusively for freshwater systems, while nitrogen (N) reductions primarily were stressed for brackish and coastal waters.  Because most systems are interconnected, however, P only reductions upstream may not necessarily reduce the impact of HABs downstream.

Paerl noted that, “reducing both N and P inputs is the only viable nutrient management solution for long-term control of HABs along the continuum.”

“On behalf of the journal’s editors and editorial advisory board members, I congratulate you on this great accomplishment,” wrote David Sedlak, editor-in-chief of Environmental Science & Technology, in a message to Paerl. “Thank you for publishing your best work in ES&T.”

The journal also published an editorial announcing the editors’ choice for best papers of the year.

Other co-authors from the Gillings School on the ES&T Letters study are doctoral student Yuzhi Chen; Zhenfa Zhang, PhD; Avram Gold, PhD; and William Vizuete, PhD.


Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@listserv.unc.edu.

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