The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, containing more than 1/5 of the world’s surface fresh water. Last fall, the University of Michigan Water Center was established to help protect and restore such freshwater ecosystems. In May, the Water Center awarded its first grants to researchers who can fill “critical science gaps” related to Great Lakes waters and wildlife; among the dozen grant recipients is Baylor’s Dr. Cole Matson.
Matson, an assistant professor of environmental science, received a two-year, $50,000 grant to study area birds as indicators of contaminant exposure. The third-year Baylor professor will work with the U.S. Geological Survey to assess chromosomal damage in tree swallow nestlings collected from contaminated areas across the Great Lakes region. The data collected will help states and the Environmental Protection Agency assess specific issues related to the Great Lakes ecosystem and provide a framework for understanding the impact of environmental contamination in other locations.
After earning degrees from Texas A&M and Texas Tech, Matson spent two years as executive director of Duke’s Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology before coming to Baylor in 2011. Here, he teaches upper-level classes in biology and environmental science within the College of Arts and Sciences and is a part of Baylor’s Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research.
Sic ’em, Dr. Matson!