Some Answers and More Questions About the Role of Small Particles in Ecosystems

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-14-2021


small particles, ecosystems, nanoparticles, biogeochemical, metalloid, contamination, Clark Fork River


There is extensive evidence demonstrating that manufactured nanoparticles are cycled biogeochemically in the environment, can be taken up by organisms, and can have impacts from the level of organisms to ecosystems. Fortunately, aside from catastrophic spills, the environmental concentrations of manufactured nanoparticles are expected to be comparatively low. However, this re-search has rekindled interest in the comparatively abundant natural and incidentally formed nanoparticles in the environment. In this talk, Dr. Colman will share evidence from work in wastewater lagoons and in the metal and metalloid contaminated Clark Fork River to demonstrate the ubiquity of natural and incidental nanoparticles, examine their characteristics, and describe their potential interactions with organisms

Streaming Media


Dr. Ben Colman is an Associate Professor of Aquatic Ecosystem Ecology in the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. He received his BA in Chemistry at Carleton College, and a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Colman is broadly interested in patterns and drivers of element cycling in ecosystems, and how those change when ecosystems are exposed to chemical change.