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Upcoming SWS Webinars

Monthly webinars are offered as a benefit of membership. Once each quarter, in March, June, September and December, the monthly SWS webinar is open for non-members to attend (and at no cost), as well. Please login to register. Once logged in, you can register for member-only webinars by clicking here. 

Having Trouble?

If you are unable to attend, we record all of our webinars, so if you miss the live version you can watch it within 24 hours of the broadcast. Click here to see our webinar archive.

Download schedule of upcoming webinars

October 17, 2019 |  1:00 PM ET

Toxic Pollution in Wetlands and Remediation Actions

mahdavi-ramsar wetlands convention.jpg


Wetlands are valuable ecosystems with many functions, including habitat for fish and wildlife, protecting water quality, erosion prevention, flood storage, and recreation. Wetlands are also critical habitat for many species of migratory birds, including game species that are of great ecological and economic value. Wetland fauna are threatened by toxic pollution from point and non-point sources of wastewater, that is discharged into wetlands by industry, municipalities, and other land uses within their drainage basins. Pesticides and biocides are key contaminants. Other pollutants may include, lead and metal pollution, arsenic, mercury, pharmaceuticals, toxic algae/ cyanotoxins, and generic sediment contamination.

Recently, more attention has been given to toxic threats in Asian Wetlands. A message from World Wetlands Day 2015, indicated that many wetlands in Asian countries are connected to rice paddies that have been polluted by various types of pesticides and fertilizers. Although direct application of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and their metabolites have mostly ceased, many chemicals persist and continue to contaminate all habitats and niches. Currently, threats from modern, sophisticated toxic agents like Neonicotinoids, have resulted in diminished cohort development in birds.

Remediation of toxic pollution in wetlands may be accomplished by phytoremediation, also known as phytoextraction, phytoaccumulation, or phytosequestration. Phytoremediation uses plants or algae to remove contaminants from soil or water into harvestable plant biomass and is important in constructed wetlands. Constructed wetlands recreate the functions of natural wetland plant communities, consisting of a highly diverse mix of grasses, sedges, forbs (broadleaf plants), ferns, shrubs, and trees and, at the same time, act as a filtering agent to remediate toxic pollution.


Presented by:

Ahmad Mahdavi, PhD, Entomologist/ecotoxicologist


Ahmad Mahdavi is from Iran and is an insect/ pesticide environmental toxicologist. He earned both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Tehran (Karaj) in 1974 and 1981 in entomology/ pesticide toxicology, respectively. He earned his PhD from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1990, and his studies included entomology and pesticide toxicology. He has been involved in detailed studies of insect evolution and coevolutionary processes in the context of insect-plant interactions and chemical ecology.

As one of the pioneers of ecotoxicology, in a joint symposium between Guelph and MSU (USA), and later at the UC Berkeley (2000), Dr. Mahdavi started a broad study about the impacts of pesticides on the environment, wildlife, and pesticide related health effects on humans. Dr, Mahdavi moved to the University of Tehran 1998 and in 2002 established the NGO: Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, with the aim of reducing pesticide/ chemical pollution and strengthening regulations in Iran. The NGO was later established in Ontario and then, globally. Dr. Mahdavi is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which is the only global and United Nations-based, intergovernmental organization established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species. His focus in the UNEP-includes membership in the working group to prevent poisoning, for the protection of people, the environment, and wildlife against toxic compounds, in particular, on toxic impact on wetlands and migratory birds, with many recent international presentations. Dr. Mahdavi is a member of the Mountain partnership, Iranian Society of Toxicology, the Entomological Society of America, the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, the Sustainable Consumption and Production clearinghouse, and many other national and international societies. Dr. Mahdavi introduced the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, from the Persian Gulf area, to the world. In recent years, he has focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, climate change issues, ecosystem-based adaptations, global activities to conserve migratory birds, cooperation with Eye on Earth, digital earth, open data, computational toxicology, and global developments intended to conserve biodiversity. He is an avid user of Information and Communications Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and geospatial information for biodiversity in the agri-environment.

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November 22, 2019 | 1:00 PM ET

Coastal Wetlands and Climate Change

Presented by: Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier and Dr. Michael Osland

Coastal wetlands and climate change

Coastal marsh in San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge (Texas, USA)


Coastal wetlands provide critical fish and wildlife habitat and support many societal benefits, including protection of human communities from storms and maintenance of productive coastal fisheries. However, due to climate change and rising sea levels, the coastal wetlands present today are expected to be much different by the end of the century. Here we present results regarding some of the changes that are expected, with an emphasis on the role of warming winter temperature extremes, rising sea levels, and changing precipitation regimes. We also examine the role of wetlands in climate change adaptation (e.g., as natural infrastructure) and mitigation (e.g., blue carbon storage).


sutton grier

Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier's bio:

Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier is a visiting associate research professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Sutton-Grier is an ecosystem ecologist with expertise in wetland ecology and restoration, biodiversity, biogeochemistry, climate change and ecosystem services. She holds honors bachelor's degrees in environmental science and international studies from Oregon State University and a doctoral degree in ecology from Duke University.

Her research interests include the relationships between nature/biodiversity and human health, coastal blue carbon, and natural and nature-based coastal resilience strategies. She has been published in more than 40 environmental and policy journals, and one of her papers won the Ecological Society of America 2016 "Innovations in Sustainability Science" award. This year, she was selected as Sigma Xi Scientific Honors Society's Young Investigator.

She is particularly focused on seeking innovative opportunities to combine science and policy to solve environmental problems and promote ecosystem conservation.



Dr. Michael Osland's bio:

Dr. Michael Osland is a Research Ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Wetland and Aquatic Research Center. In broad terms, his research examines the response of ecosystem to changing conditions including the implications for conservation and restoration. Much of his current research focuses on wetland ecosystems at the dynamic interface between land and ocean: mangrove forests, salt marshes, and salt flats. His education includes a Ph.D. in Ecology from Duke University (2009) and a B.A. in Biology from Willamette University (2000). He was also a Fulbright Fellow in Costa Rica and a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador.

 Please login to register

Once logged in, you can register for members-only webinars by clicking here.


December 12, 2019 |  1:00 PM ET

Withering Wetlands - Global Trends in Wetland Loss and Degradation: Why, and What Can Be Done About It?

Presented by: Nick Davidson, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Upcoming Webinar; Abstract, photos, and presenter bios coming soon.

Note that the December webinar is our quarterly webinar that is open and free to the public! 



Webinars on YouTube

The SWS Webinar Committee is excited to announce that our free quarterly webinar recordings are now available on the SWS YouTube channel! Additionally, SWS supporters around the world can watch the webinars with subtitles in their native language. 

To view the webinars with subtitles, click the “CC” button in the bottom, right-hand corner of the video. You can change the language of the subtitles by clicking on the settings button in the bottom, right-hand corner and going to subtitles/CC > auto-translate > and choosing the language of your choice.

Here's what our members are saying...

"Thank you, presenters, and thank you SWS for hosting this. It is a great SWS membership benefit." - Kurt Kowalski, Ann Arbor, MI

"Excellent coverage of fascinating topics for wetland scientists!" - Ellen Hartig, New York, NY

ASWM Webinars

Interested in viewing more webinars? Visit the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) webinar's page to access free webinars. These webinars focus on various topics, mostly relating to a specific project or workgroup. To learn more please click here.