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Dr. Kingsley Odigie: Pyrogenic Remobilization and Fate of Toxic Trace Elements

Wednesday May 1st, 2019, from 12:30 - 1:30 pm in the Student Services Building Room 120 (SSB120).

Snacks and beverages will be provided during the seminar. Please, bring your own mug to reduce waste.

Pyrogenic Remobilization and Fate of Toxic Trace Elements


Anthropogenic emissions over the past century have substantially increased the levels of toxic trace elements (e.g., lead) in the biosphere. Understanding the physical and chemical processes that drive the cycling of these contaminants is important for protecting human and environmental health. This presentation will focus on my work exploring the impacts of fire on the mobilization and fate of contaminants in two regions: Western United States and Patagonia in Chile. In the Western United States, I investigated the impacts of recent wildfires on the remobilization of toxic elements, with a focus on lead. I used geochemical profiles, including lead isotopes, to assess how the historic use of leaded gasoline has contributed to fire-remobilized lead at two contrasting sites in California. In Patagonia, I investigated the mobilization of toxic elements in response to large-scale fires that were set during European colonization in the region. The results show a positive relationship between fire size and the flux of metals. These findings have strong implications with respect to climate change because the frequency and intensity of wildfires are expected to increase.


Dr. Kingsley Odigie is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Prior to joining UCR, he held a postdoctoral appointment at the U.S. Geological Survey in Santa Cruz. Dr. Odigie completed his Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology at the University of California in Santa Cruz in 2014 and holds a B.S. in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry and a B.S. in Forensic Science from San José State University in California. Dr. Odigie’s research interests encompass the use of geochemical tools (e.g., chemical speciation and isotopic composition analyses) and computer models to (1) reconstruct past environmental conditions, (2) unravel the biogeochemical processes that control the cycling of trace element contaminants and evaluate their associated implications for human and environmental health, and (3) predict the behavior of contaminants in response to expected natural and anthropogenic environmental changes. Dr. Odigie has received several recognitions for his research, including Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Fellowship, University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, and International Association for GeoChemistry (IAGC) Kharaka Award.