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Media Advisory: Science on the Green


Reporters and Editors, Please Note

WHO: DRI scientists

WHAT: Researching natural contributors to air pollution

WHERE: Angel Park Golf Club (See driving directions below*)

Wed., May 18 and Thurs., May 19. Mornings, by appointment (call Ron Kalb)

WHY: To help urban planners make good decisions about landscaping and land-cover choices

Researchers will use a leaf gas-exchange chamber and a gas chromatograph to monitor gases from plants

Scenic golf course, interviews with researchers, scientific instruments

The unexpected -- environmental science on a golf course. Plants contribute to smog? Good corporate citizenship -- golf course shares environmental concerns and works with scientists at DRI

BACKGROUND: While most people don't think of trees, plants and landscaping as contributors to smog, they do play a role. And, understanding that role is important to a state growing as fast as Nevada and others in the Southwest. A study by Desert Research Institute scientists may soon help urban planners and developers make land-cover choices friendlier to air quality.

DRI Assistant Research Professor Mark Potosnak and Graduate Research Assistant Maria Papiez are studying how biological substances affect air quality. These substances include natural components in trees and plants similar to pine oil, menthol and camphor. When these natural organic compounds are mixed with sunlight and human-caused emissions like nitrogen oxide from motor vehicles, the reactions create smog, also known as ground-level ozone air pollution.

This research is extremely important in the Southwest where rapid commercial and residential development are changing the landscape and having an impact on air quality. DRI's work will help provide solid, science-based information for legislators, city planners and developers as they work toward healthy growth in arid urban areas.

The study cuts across two DRI divisions -- Atmospheric Sciences, and Earth and Ecosystems Sciences. This type of interdisciplinary research is a DRI hallmark.

Directions to Angel Park Golf Course, 100 S. Rampart Blvd.:
From I-15 N take US-95 N about 5 miles and exit via Exit 42A
Take Summerlin Parkway exit at Exit 81A
Merge onto E Summerlin Parkway a go about 2 miles
Take Rampart Blvd. exit
Turn left on Canyon Run Drive