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Merrik Bush-Pirkle
SFSU Office of Public Affairs
(415) 338-1665

Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


The following are a few highlights of papers being presented by San Francisco State researchers at the June 15-19 Pacific Division Mtg of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science 

9:15 a.m., Creative Arts, Room 146
Investigations of Iron and Manganese Oxide Materials for Remediation of Arsenic
Chemistry professor Bruce Manning, who chairs Session 1 of the Western Society of Soil Scientists Symposium, will present data showing that certain naturally occurring elements in soil, and their synthetic cousins, can help reduce toxic levels of arsenic in soil and groundwater when introduced through remediation technology. (415/338-1292;

1:20 p.m., Creative Arts, Room 134
Airborne Vocal Communication in the Pacific Harbor Seal
What do the throaty barks of Pacific harbor seals mean? Do they threaten, warn or console each other? And does noise pollution interfere with this vocal communication? Few studies exist documenting harbor seal communication. Using field observations, sound recordings and video footage, SF State graduate student Kimberly Austin is shedding new light on the harbor seal’s repertoire of sounds and the impact human disturbances might have on their well being. “The more we know about the structure of the harbor seals’ airborne communication, the better decisions we can make from a conservation and management standpoint,” said Austin. (510/387-6656;

8:30 a.m., Creative Arts 135
Repatriating Ancestral Voices in a Digital Age: CA Indian Language Revitalization
While early anthropologists were proclaiming whole California tribes extinct, others were salvaging them through audio recordings. SF State anthropologist Melissa Nelson will talk about how California Indian tribes are using this early audio evidence in legal battles over land boundaries, cultural artifacts and tribal recognition, as well as to reconstruct and restore language and culture using web sites, film and digital stories. (415/338-7062;

9:30 a.m., Creative Arts 135
The Ecology of Fire Use by Native Californians
How did California Indians alter their environment using fires to increase the natural resources available to them? Tim Jordan will present a broad range of evidence showing that without fire as a tool, it is unlikely that many of their cultural practices and products that relied on plant material would have become so widespread. (415/338-6583;

Note to reporters: For a complete meeting program, visit the AAASPD website:


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Last modified April 24, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs