Distracted by Disaster: Applying Principals of Environmental Microbiology and Chemistry to Push Beyond Hurried Response to Thoughtful Prevention

11. August 2022, 13:00 Uhr - 14:00 Uhr

Eawag Dübendorf

Speaker: Prof. Cresten Mansfeldt, UC Boulder
Place: Eawag Dübendorf, FC D24

The Front Range in Colorado provides an early exaggerated case study in the impacts of the global disruption to biogeochemical cycles. The emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 was compounded with two extraordinary fire seasons in the region, resulting in the largest wildfire season (2020) being succeeded by the most expensive (2021). These global phenomena required rapid adaptation of techniques routine in environmental microbiology and chemistry to support public health initiatives and ensure access to clean water resources. This talk will focus on the daily SARS-CoV-2 surveillance within on-campus wastewater at the University of Colorado Boulder performed from 2020-2021 to emphasize the need of environmental microbiology in support of public health as well as the ongoing ecosystem health monitoring of Coal Creek after the Marshall Fire to highlight the utility of environmental chemistry to inform communities responding to global environmental changes. Both campaigns are united by capturing data to support action and community informed empowerment, and the talk will conclude by discussing developing tools to anticipate future hazard events and identifying potential ethical concerns in applying these surveillance techniques to tackle future disasters.