Jennie Sirota is studying mercury contamination in water habitats.
“Peat bogs have been found to have high levels of mercury contamination, which can flow into nearby lakes and streams. In water, mercury can transform into methylmercury and then accumulate in fish, and people that consume fish,” Sirota says.
While life-threatening effects can result from humans consuming mercury, it’s not yet known how mercury responds to a freezing cycle and how freezing cycles will be affected by global climate change. Sirota’s research involves pulling frozen water samples to see how mercury moves in the winter and determining how spring runoff contributes.
“I am passionate about the study of water because it is a vital resource that needs protection under changing conditions, pollution and other contamination sources,” she says. “In the future I hope to continue working toward improving water quality.”