Thesis Defense - Kaitlin Perkins

Apr 26 2021 1:00 pm
Zoom Virtual Meeting

Please join us for Kaitlin Perkins’ thesis defense

Concentration and composition of nanoparticles and colloidal particles in a mine-waste contaminated river

Kaitlin Perkins

MS Systems Ecology

Monday, April 26, 2021

1:00 pm MST (12:00 PST)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 964 8063 4370
Passcode: 529711


Dr. Benjamin P. Colman (chair)

Dr. Alysia Cox

Dr. Bob Hall

Dr. Nancy Hinman


Metals and metalloids (metal(loid)s) in aquatic ecosystems are often described through measures of their concentrations in whole and filtered waters. The filtered fraction is operationally defined as being “dissolved,” and assumed to be primarily composed of free metal(loid) ions or of ions bound by low molecular weight organic matter. This definition ignores that the dissolved fraction also likely contains colloidal particles (1 to 1000 nm) that can pass through commonly used filters. This colloidal fraction can also be preferentially removed from the water column by algae and other aquatic organisms compared to free metal(loid) ions and organic bound metal(loid)s. The abundance and composition of colloidal particles is not well described, though they may be important in describing the bioavailability and toxicity of contaminants. To better understand the abundance and composition of colloidal particles in aquatic ecosystems, we used single particle inductively coupled plasma time-of-flight mass spectrometry (spICP-TOFMS) to simultaneously characterize and quantify a range of elements in individual colloidal particles over a mine-waste contaminated river. Our analyses revealed that colloidal particles are abundant, their composition varies, and that they may play an important role in the fate and transport of contaminants in river ecosystems.