Photo from UTAS

Microplastics the focus of presentation at UT Arboretum

On Thursday, September 29th at 7 pm, the UT Arboretum Society is excited to announce that it will return to in-person programming at the UT Arboretum Auditorium as Dr. Martin Knoll updates attendees on microplastics in the Tennessee River and other locations worldwide.

The presentation is entitled “Microplastics in the Tennessee, Cumberland and Rhine Rivers: Why We Should Care,” and is open to the public.

Microplastic particles have been discovered in almost all environments on planet Earth. Recent research has identified several negative health impacts of these plastics on aquatic life. Microplastics have also been found in the lungs and bloodstream of humans. According to the Arboretum Society, this presentation will focus on Dr. Knoll’s own research investigating the concentration and types of microplastics found in the Tennessee, Cumberland and Rhine Rivers. Special emphasis will be placed on Dr. Knoll’s recent findings about the major sources of these microplastics and what might be done to reduce their numbers.

According to the UTAS website, Martin Knoll earned his BA degrees in German and Natural Resources at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. After studying at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he earned an MS degree in Geology at Vanderbilt University and a PhD in Geology at the University of Texas at El Paso.

He taught for 5 years at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, before returning to Sewanee in 1993 to teach Geology and Hydrology. He chairs the Department of Earth & Environmental Systems there. His research interests include the geology of the Mojave Desert, groundwater and stormwater dynamics on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, insects in Baltic amber, landscape evolution of southwest Germany, and microplastics in the Tennessee, Cumberland, Rhine and Danube Rivers. In 2017 he was project director for the Tenneswim, the most ambitious analysis of water quality in the Tennessee River ever conducted. He lives with his wife, 3 sons, and an English Bulldog in Sewanee, Tennessee.

The UT Arboretum Auditorium is located at 901 S Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge (37830).

No registration is necessary, but organizers say that seating is limited. The program is sponsored by the UT Arboretum Society and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning.

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