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Thomas M. Holsen

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Thomas M. Holsen
Associate Director Center for
Air Resources Engineering and Science (CARES)
204 Rowley Laboratories
Clarkson University
PO Box 5710
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725
Phone: 315-268-3851
FAX: 315-268-7636

B.Sc., University of California at Berkeley (1983)
M.S., University of California at Berkeley (1985)
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley (1988)

Courses taught include:
CE 480 — Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment
CE 491 — Senior Design
CE 580 — Environmental Chemistry
CE 584 — Chemodynamics
CE 681 — Environmental Physico-Chemical Processes

Research Interests:

Dr. Holsen's research interests include the sources, transport, transformations and fate of hydrophobic organic chemicals including emerging contaminants and metals including mercury in a wide array of environmental systems including the Adirondacks and the Great Lakes. Of particular interest is pollutant exchange (wet deposition, dry deposition and air-surface/air-water exchange) between earth's surface and the atmosphere.

Current Projects:

The Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program:  Pushing the Science. In the Great Lakes Fish Monitoring and Surveillance Program (GLFMSP), fish from each lake are analyzed for contaminants to assess temporal trends in organic contaminants and mercury in the open waters of the Great Lakes, using fish as biomonitors.  This proposal builds on the foundation we have developed as the current GLFMSP operator.  During the next five years, we will further enhance the program by obtaining three new analytical instruments to give us state-of-the-art capability to identify and quantify both emerging and legacy pollutants at levels previously impossible to achieve.  In addition, we will supplement fish analyses by assessing contaminant transfer from the water column and through the food chain, expand the analyte list to include important emerging contaminants and use supplemental approaches (a bioassay tool and fatty acids, stable isotopes, and fish stomach analysis) to enhance the program.  In addition we will augment our collaborations with other state and federal programs performing similar work.  In total these enhancements will give us a much clearer picture of the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and will make the GLFMSP a world-wide scientific leader in documenting how human activity is impacting the world we live in.

Research and Demonstration of Innovative Drinking Water Treatment Technologies in Small Systems. The main objective of this study is to engineer, develop and demonstrate an integrated process comprised of membrane technology (i.e., ceramic NF, UF or MF) and electrical discharge plasma generated via a novel reticulated vitreous carbon (RVC) electrode material. The reasons for this integration are four-fold: (1) the novel RVC electrode material will significantly improve the efficiency and longevity of the electrical discharge; (2) the membrane process protects the porous electrode material from clogging and removes constituents targeted in conventional water treatment processes and that reduce the effectiveness of the advanced oxidation processes; (3) both the membrane and electrical discharge remove pathogens; and (4) electrical discharge is effective for the destruction of a wide variety of organic contaminants and contaminant precursors.

Atmospheric Deposition, Transport, Transformations and Bioavailability of Mercury across a Northern Forest Landscape. Widespread contamination of mercury in remote aquatic environments due to atmospheric deposition and consequent high concentrations in aquatic biota, suggest that there is an acute need to improve understanding of the mechanisms of mercury transport and transformations in lake/watershed ecosystems. The goal of this interdisciplinary project it to develop a better understanding of how atmospherically deposited mercury is transported through an entire watershed system. Results from field and laboratory experiments will be used to improve an existing mercury transport model.

Impacts of Manure Spreading Techniques on Downwind Air Quality: Particles, Ammonia, and Bioaerosols. Emissions of ammonia and particulates from agricultural feeding operations contribute significantly to greenhouse gases inventories, and are of health concern. Additionally, bioaerosols were identified by the EPA as future contaminants of interest from animal feeding operations. Little information is available on emissions of these pollutants from mobile sources (e.g. manure application) at dairy operations. Further, renewed interest in anaerobic digestion for biogas production requires better understanding of air emissions from digester effluent compared to untreated manure. Our goal is to produce data and improve models useful for the development of science-based emission reduction targets to improve air quality and protect human and environmental health. Objectives include developing data regarding the fate and transport of ammonia and particulate matter from agricultural lands during and following application of untreated or anaerobic digested manure from confined dairy operations. We will characterize captured particulate matter regarding bioaerosols (fungi, total and fecal indicator bacteria, pathogens, antibiotic resistant genes and host-specific PCR biomarkers for cattle fecal pollution). Transport models for ammonia and particulate matter will be modified to incorporate emission factors specific to manure application method and treatment. Field samples will be taken from two dairy farms located in Northern New York, each applying manure using conventional splash plate, low height splash plate, and direct injection methods. Results from this study will improve our understanding of how manure application and treatment methods affect air emissions. Validated models will ensure that the data generated will be applicable to other locations in the US.

Recent Publications

Choi, H,D., Huang, J., Mondal. S., Variation in concentrations of three mercury (Hg) forms at a rural and a suburban site in New York State, Sci Total Environ 448 (2013) 96–106

Salamova, A., Pagano, J.J., Holsen, T.M., Hites, R.A. Post-1990 Temporal Trends of PCBs and Organochlorine Pesticides in the Atmosphere and in Fish from the Great Lakes Basin are Similar. Submitted to ES&T 2013

Torkmahalleh, M., Lin, L., Holsen, T.M., Rasmussen, D., Hopke, P.K,  Cr Speciation Changes in the presence of Ozone and Reactive Oxygen Species at Low Relative Humidity (2013) Atmos Environ 71, 92-94

Torkmahalleh, M.A., Yu, C.H., Lin, L., Fan, Z., Hopke, P.K., Improved Atmospheric Sampling of Hexavalent Chromium In preparation 130

Sofuoglu, S.C., Sofuoglu,A., Holsen, T.M., Alexander, C.M., Pagano, J.J. Atmospheric Concentrations and Potential Sources of PCBs, PBDEs, and Pesticides to Acadia National  Park,  Accepted for publication in Environ. Pollution

Cheng, I., Zhang, L., Blanchard, P., Dalziel, J., Tordon, R., Huang, J., Holsen, T.M., Comparisons of Mercury Sources and Atmospheric Mercury Processes between a Coastal and Inland site.  Accepted for publication in JGR 2013

Maxwell, J.A., Holsen, T.M. Mondal, S.,  Gaseous Elemental Mercury Emissions from Snow Surfaces in Northern New York, Accepted by PLOS ONE 2012

Yu, X., Driscoll, C.T., Huang, J., Holsen, T.M., Blackwell, B.D.  Modeling and mapping of atmospheric mercury deposition in Adirondack Park, New York  Accepted for publication in PLOS ONE 2013

Huang, J., Choi, H.D., Landis, M.S., Holsen, T.M. An Application of Passive Samplers to Understand Atmospheric Mercury Concentration and Dry Deposition Spatial Distributions (2012) J Environ Monitor.  Accepted for publication.  DOI: 10.1039/c2em30514c

Kim, J.E., Han, Y.J., Kim, J.E., Holsen, T.M. Factors influencing atmospheric wet deposition of trace elements in rural Korea (2012) Atmos. Research, 116, 185–194
Thomas Holsen