Dr. Sherri A. Mason
My research group is poised at the forefront of research on plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems, in general, and the Laurentian Great Lakes, more specifically.
SUNY Fredonia lies 2 miles from the shores of Lake Erie, one of the 5 Great Lakes, which in total comprise the largest freshwater ecosystem in the world. In collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute, we conducted the first-ever survey for plastic pollution within the open-waters of the Great Lakes. Not surprisingly (given the abundance of plastic within the world's oceans) we have found plastic particles within all 5 of the Great Lakes. The counts obtained, especially those within Lakes Erie and Ontario, rival those within the world's ocean. Even further, what surprised us the most is the size of the particles we found. To date ~70% of the plastic we skim off the surface of the Great Lakes is between one third and one millimeter in diameter. Tiny. We have had several (hundred) news reports as a result of our work. Here are links to a few:
During the summers of 2012 and 2013 we conducted open-water sampling campaigns in all 5 of the Laurentian Great Lakes. We currently have related plastic pollution research projects going in:
We hope to slowly build up an understanding of the types and abundance of plastics within the Great Lakes, laying the groundwork for important additional investigations into the degradation of the plastics, their penchant for adsorbing persistent organic chemicals, and their impact on aquatic organisms.
In addition to the above current research projects, my background is in atmospheric
kinetics and the impact of combustion emissions. As such my research group has previously
conducted research projects on the impact of forest fires on atmospheric chemistry,
computational model development, computational chemical analyses, smog chamber studies,
food waste analyses and biogas production studies.
Erikson, M., S. A. Mason, S. Wilson, C. Box, A. Zellers, W. Edwards, H. Farley, and S. Amato, ‘Microplastic Pollution in the Surface Waters of the Laurentian Great Lakes,’ Marine Pollution Bulletin, 77, 177, 2013.
Mason, S. A., J. Arey, and R. Atkinson, ‘Kinetics and Products of the OH Radical-Initiated Reaction of 1,4-Butanediol and Rate Constants for the Reactions of OH Radicals with 4-Hydroxybutanal and 3-Hydroxypropanal,’ Environ. Sci. Tech., 44, 707, 2010.
Mason, S. A., J. Arey, and R. Atkinson, ‘Rate Constants for the Gas-Phase Reactions of NO3 Radicals and O3 with C6-C14 1-Alkenes and 2-Methyl-1-alkenes at 296 ± 2 K,’ J. Phys. Chem. A, 113, 5649, 2009.
Mason, S. A., J. Trentmann, T. Winterrath, R. J. Yokelson, T. J. Christian, L. J. Carlson, T. R. Warner, L. C. Wolfe, and M. O. Andreae, ‘Intercomparison of Two Box Models of the Chemical Evolution in Biomass-Burning Smoke Plumes,’ J. Atmos. Chem., 55, 273, 2006.
Trentmann, J., R. J. Yokelson, P. V. Hobbs, T. Winterrath, T. J. Christian, M. O. Andreae, and S. A. Mason, ‘An Analysis of the Chemical Processes in the Smoke Plume from a Savanna Fire,’ J. Geophys. Res., 110, D12301, 2005.
Mason, S. A., R. J. Field, R. J. Yokelson, M. A. Kochivar, M. R. Tinsley, D. E. Ward, and W.-M.
Hao, ‘Complex Effects Arising in Smoke Plume Simulations due to Inclusion of Direct
Emissions of Oxygenated Organic Species from Biomass Combustion,’ J. Geophys. Res., 106, D12527, 2001.
Community Interest Powerpoints/Presentations