The selenium contamination of freshwater ecosystems is an ongoing environmental health problem around the world. A naturally occurring trace element, selenium levels are high in certain geologic formations like sedimentary shales that form much of the bedrock in the western United States. Soils derived from this bedrock and weathering shale outcrops can contribute to elevated selenium levels in surrounding watersheds.
New research today in environmental sciences and Technology by UConn Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment Jessica Brandt with Travis Schmidt and colleagues at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) study some of the complexities of selenium and how it moves through the ecosystem during events runoff and as a result of seasonal irrigation of selenium enriched soils.
The research focused on the Lower Gunnison River basin in Colorado, an area affected by selenium-enriched bedrock known as the Upper Cretaceous Mancos Shale, and identified critical habitat for the Razorback Sucker (Xyrauchen texanus ) and the Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius). Between June 2015 and October 2016, the research team took water samples and …
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