Here is summary information; for a portfolio of work including related posts, see the author link at right.
Here is an abstract of the project, and a location map below.
Chemical regulation in the US has a complicated and controversial history. While it remains somewhat of a mystery as to why certain bans or policies are effective, this research aims to understand whether regulation can be successful. Framing this research, is the question: How can chemical regulation help aquatic ecosystems and surrounding residents? In this paper I examined the concentrations of a flame retardant known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the San Francisco Bay in two species of fish; the Shiner Surfperch and the White Croaker. I conducted both a temporal analysis and spatial analysis of two PBDE congeners; BDE-47 and BDE-100. This analysis aims at answering the question: How did PBDE regulation in the SF Bay work spatially and temporally? The temporal analysis revealed an overall decline in PBDE levels in fish in the SF Bay following the PBDE bans in the US and Europe. While these declining trends are evident in every tested location in the SF Bay, the spatial analysis reveals that PBDE concentrations are consistently higher in the East Bay than in other parts of the Bay. Comparing the results of this study to other studies around the world reveals that while PBDE concentrations have steadily decreased in the SF Bay, trends and results differ around the world. While chemical regulation has historically not been very successful in the US, this research suggests that chemical bans can be extremely effective.
Framing and focus questions
The ENVS capstone is defined by key questions. Following our situated approach to interdisciplinary environmental research, these include a broad framing question that serves as general motivation for this capstone project, and a specific focus question that defines the project’s research agenda. The framing and focus questions for this capstone are below.
Framing question: How can chemical regulation help aquatic ecosystems and surrounding residents?
Focus question: How did PBDE regulation in the SF Bay work spatially and temporally?
Depending on its type, the ENVS thesis results in a variety of outcomes, including a thesis (an extended scholarly manuscript), or a variety of non-thesis outcomes. Below is information on this capstone type, with links at bottom to all outcomes.
Type of capstone: Thesis (regular)
Capstone outcomes (PDF): File