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2009.12.10 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

Biology Professor Featured in National Science Publication

Omaha - Science News, the bi-weekly news magazine of the Society for Science and the Public, has published an article on the research of a University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) biology professor.

Alan Kolok, a professor in the Biology Department, is conducting research regarding the relationships among land use, occurrence of pollutants in local waterways and the effect of those pollutants on fish.

With the help of Ph.D. student Marlo Sellin, Kolok is examining the impacts of runoff from agriculturally-intensive landscapes on local waterways.

In one experiment, Kolok and Sellin placed minnows in tanks containing water and sediments collected from the Elkhorn River. The Elkhorn River drains productive agricultural land that is primarily used for corn and soybean production, as well as for the finishing of beef cattle. While exposure to Elkhorn River water did not alter the biology of the female fish, exposure to sediments dredged from the river did.

Contaminants that alter the reproductive biology of fish and wildlife are assumed to be in the water, rather then associated with sediment. The work of Kolok and Sellin provides evidence that this assumption is not valid.

“The research we are conducting is important because it flies in the face of our current notions regarding how steroidogenic compounds behave in natural waterways,” Kolok said. “Now that we have uncovered new routes of exposure that were previously unknown, there is potential for a lot of really new and exciting research.”

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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