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Fall 2014

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

Acid Reflux

A Natural Solution to the Unnatural

UT Arlington team explores ways to turn back pollution's effects 

Sophia Passy

Sophia Passy

When it comes to fixing streams polluted by acid rain, UTA biologists say there may be a natural solution. But for it to work, policymakers will have to give Mother Nature a push in the right direction.

Sophia Passy, associate professor of biology, and Katrina Pound, a recent Ph.D. graduate who worked in Dr. Passy’s lab, believe that watershed wetlands could serve as a natural source for the improvement of streams polluted by acid rain.

The duo draws their conclusions from research they conducted with the U.S. Geological Survey. For that project, they looked at 637 water samples from nearly 200 streams in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Scientists have long linked industrial pollution to the acidification of streams in this 6-million-acre region in northeastern New York. (Acidification involves the depositing of inorganic acids that are harmful to the biodiversity of streams, lakes, and soils.) The researchers found that when water from the streams was connected to wetlands, it had a higher organic content. That in turn helped reduce the harmful effects of the inorganic content deposited by the
acid rain.

“Ecologists and government officials have been looking for ways to reduce acidification and aluminum contamination of surface waters for 40 years,” Passy says. “While Clean Air Act regulations have fueled progress, the problem is still not solved. We hope that future restoration efforts in acid streams will consider the use of wetlands as a natural source of stream health improvement.”

More articles from this issue

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