Atmospheric aerosol and its effects on clouds are responsible for most of the uncertainty in predictions of future climate. Primary biological aerosol (PBA - consisting of airborne bacteria, fungal spores and pollen) is a subset of atmospheric aerosol that can strongly affect cloud properties, precipitation type and precipitation amount, yet existing atmospheric measurements are sparse. PBA emissions also affect local and regional air quality, causing allergenic responses in humans and crop and livestock health. Recent advances in real-time PBA detection using single particle fluoresence are revolutionizing our measurement capabilities, however there is a need to combine these techniques with other measurements that are more specific to biological particles. The Perring lab will combine real-time measurements of biological aerosol with offline analyses of specific biomarkers (e.g. amino acids or certain sugar alcohols) in both collected aerosol and precipitation samples to examine seasonal variations in PBA in Upstate NY.
Students who have done well in Chem 101/102 or Chem 111 are encouraged to apply. Motivated students in other scientific disciplines will also be considered. Experience with Matlab is desired but not required.