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Dusty Roads Outreach—Gene Shinn Spreads the Word on Impacts of Dust Transported by Transoceanic Winds

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Between September and November, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Gene Shinn conducted a dust-beating swing across the country. Among Gene and his team's research activities is the study of impacts of African dust transported to North America by transatlantic winds. Gene's talks during his 2-month odyssey focused on those impacts, with titles ranging from "Soil Dust: Big Impact of Tiny Specks" to "Transoceanic Soil-Dust Transport and Medical Implications." Gene's travels included an invited talk at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)'s Rocky Mountains Section meeting in Laramie, WY, and a luncheon discussion with the board of the Agouron Institute in Pasadena, CA. Agouron focuses on and promotes subjects they feel are not receiving adequate attention.

After a presentation at a USGS session on medical geology at the Geological Society of America (GSA) annual meeting in Denver, Gene traveled on to be the Geological Society of Utah's luncheon speaker in Salt Lake City. From there, Gene traveled directly to Yale University, where he was the weekly speaker in the Department of Forestry for the Curtis and Edith Munson Marine Conservation Lecture Series. Two weeks later, he was at Florida International University. The following week, both Gene and Dale Griffin spoke to the Florida Keys Technical Advisory Committee in Marathon, FL. The week after that, Dale made a dust presentation at the first Sino-U.S. Workshop on Dust Storms and Their Effect on Human Health, held November 25-26 in Raleigh, NC. The meeting was organized and sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and North Carolina State University (NCSU).

Dale and Gene also spent the past several months advising military Homeland Defense personnel on the potential threat of dust as a cover or carrier for bioterrorism activities. The clear reading from all these travels is that the USGS' St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, remains the first governmental organization to identify and culture viable bacteria from transatlantic dust. This work by Dale Griffin was made possible by funding from NASA's "Healthy Planet" program. Until Dale's work, the microbiological paradigm was that ultraviolet (UV) radiation would kill microbes during aerial transport. Not!

This USGS research was recently a highlight in National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Rita Colwell's address to the American Society of Microbiology, viewable at URL http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/forum/colwell/rc020519asmlecture.htm. To view an 8-minute online USGS video on African dust, link to URL http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/african_dust/documentary/.

Related Web Sites
Coral Mortailty and African Dust Project
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Online Documentary: "The Effects of Globally Transported African and Asian Dust on Coral Reef and Human Health"
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Dr. Colwell's Remarks - Plenary Lecture: "A Global Passport for Microbiology"
National Science Foundation (NSF)

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in this issue: Fieldwork cover story:
USS Arizona

Adriatic Sea Sediment-Transport Cruise

Bear Lake Sea-Floor Mapping

Assateague Island Vegetation Mapping

Field-Testing New Portable Drilling System

Research Diamondback Terrapin

Outreach Transoceanic Dust Impacts

Woods Hole Field Center Open House

St. Petersburg Field Center Open House

Great American Teach-In

Fourth-Graders Tour St. Petersburg Field Center

Girl Scouts 90th Anniversary


Meetings Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats

Planning Gas-Hydrates Research

Science and Politics in Ecosystem Decisions

Sea-Floor Mapping Techniques

Staff & Center News GHASTLI Lab Visitors

Science Museum Board

Two New Scientists

Louisiana Coastal-Restoration Advisory Board

Air Medical Transport Center Tour

MRIB Programmer

New Webmistress

Publications Dec./Jan. Publications List

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