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Parisa Ariya is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and the Chemistry Department at McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Ariya works mostly in atmospheric chemistry, but she’s also done a good deal of work with bioaerosols and airborne microorganisms. She’ll deliver a talk at the ASM General Meeting in May titled Bioaerosols: Impact on Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere. Bioaerosols – microscopic clumps of microorganisms and organic debris – arise through any of a number of mechanisms. The scientific community has come full circle on the idea of microorganisms in the atmosphere, according to Dr. Ariya. Back in the early days of microbiology it was widely recognized that the air is full of living, breathing microbes, but once our understanding of atmospheric chemistry and physics matured, the roles of microbes in atmospheric processes were marginalized. Thanks, in part, to Dr. Ariya’s work, the activities and functions of bioaerosols are getting new attention. We now know cells in bioaerosol particles can actively metabolize materials at interfaces, and Dr. Ariya says some of her future work will look into the details of these transformation processes and how they impact the atmosphere.
In this interview, Dr. Merry Buckley talks with Dr. Ariya about how bioaerosols are formed, what they’re doing, and why it isn’t a good idea to use bioaerosols to manage the weather.
To listen, click the play button below. You can subscribe for free to Dr. Merry Buckley's Meet the Scientist podcast via iTunes, through the RSS feed with a podcast aggregator or feed reader, or by email alert.
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