After completing BS and MS degrees (with Dr. Bidlack) at UCO, I went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Botany at the University of Oklahoma in January 2000. Under the direction of John S. Fletcher, my research project centered around the role of vegetation in the phytoremediation and ecological recovery of hazardous waste sites contaminated with organic pollutants. The results of my research indicated that few plant species are important in regards to phytoremediation potential of such disturbed sites. However, the combined effects from the invasion of tolerant plant species, dynamics of plant succession, and interactions between plant roots and rhizosphere microflora has resulted in ever-improving site conditions and significant dissipation of recalcitrant organic pollutants.
Recently, I completed a post-doc with a multidisciplinary research group that included members in the Biology, Bioresource & Chemical Engineering, and Microbiology Departments at Colorado State University (CSU). We studied specific mechanisms regarding the use of phytoremediation as an alternative remedial approach to heavy metal and organically contaminated soils. The research projects simultaneously occurring at CSU will provide much needed information to environmental professionals and others as we move forward in using a plant-microbe approach to remedy the environmental problems facing the 21st Century.
Paul Olson's Resume