Point and Nonpoint Sources of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds and the Potential effects on Fish and Frogs in the New Jersey Pinelands

Science Center Objects

Scientists from the NJ WSC, Leetown Science Center and New Jersey Pinelands Commission recently initiated a 4 year study designed to characterize the point and non-point sources of endocrine disrupting compound (EDCs) and their potential effects on fish and frogs in the NJ Pinelands.

Priority Questions addressed in this study:

  • Are EDCs present in the surface water of streams above and below municipal sewage treatment plants and in the surface water of stormwater basins and ponds located in altered landscapes?
  • Do biological manifestations of endocrine disruption occur in native and non-native fish and frog species at these sites?
  • Do differences in the proposed biological and chemical measures of endocrine disruption exist between point and non-point sources in the Pinelands?
  • How do the results for these impacted sites compare to the results for minimally impacted reference streams and ponds?

On-stream point source component:

Water and fish will be collected above and below two sewage treatment plants (STP) and at two reference locations. Largemouth bass and one native Pinelands species will be collected at the STP sites and two native species will be collected at the reference location.   

Off-stream non-point source component:

Water and adult green frogs will be collected at 15 wetlands. Stormwater basins and ponds surrounded by suburban development as well as ponds surrounded by forests (reference) will be selected from a pool of wetlands mapped previously. (see map Pinelands sampling sites_frogs.jpg)

Surface water will be sampled for:

  • Hormone activity as an indicator of estrogenic compounds
  • Natural phytoestrogens and mycotoxins, hormones, trace metals, and 69 anthropogenic EDCs indicative of wastewater sources.

Fish and frogs health metrics include:

  • Sex ratios – skewed sex ratios can indicate endocrine disruption
  • Occurrence of testicular oocytes – presence of female gonadal tissue in male testes (intersex)
  • Parasites – indicator of a suppressed immune system which may be linked to EDCs


NJWSC team: Brianna Williams, Kristin Romanok, Jonathan Cohl, Lisa Carper, Molly Schreiner



   William Penn Foundation 

   Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University 

   New Jersey Pinelands Commission

   USGS Environmental Health

   USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative