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Contaminant Biology

Science Centers and scientists supported by Contaminant Biology develop and apply advanced laboratory methods, field investigations, and modeling capabilities to understand toxicity and effects of environmental contaminant and pathogen exposure.  

News

USGS partners with Havasupai Tribe to identify potential contaminant exposure pathways from Grand Canyon uranium mining

USGS partners with Havasupai Tribe to identify potential contaminant exposure pathways from Grand Canyon uranium mining

GeoHEALTH—USGS Newsletter, July 2023

GeoHEALTH—USGS Newsletter, July 2023

USGS EcoNews - Vol. 4 | Issue 2

Publications

Integrated science for the study of microplastics in the environment—A strategic science vision for the U.S. Geological Survey

Executive SummaryEvidence of the widespread occurrence of microplastics throughout our environment and exposure to humans and other organisms over the past decade has led to questions about the possibility of health hazards and mitigation of exposures. This document discusses nanoplastics as well as microplastics (referred to solely as microplastics); the microplastics have a range from 1 micromet
Authors
Deborah D. Iwanowicz, Austin K. Baldwin, Larry B. Barber, Vicki S. Blazer, Steven R. Corsi, Joseph W. Duris, Shawn C. Fisher, Michael Focazio, Sarah E. Janssen, Jeramy Roland Jasmann, Dana W. Kolpin, Johanna M. Kraus, Rachael F. Lane, Mari E. Lee, Kristen B. McSwain, Timothy D. Oden, Timothy J. Reilly, Andrew R. Spanjer

Global mercury concentrations in biota: Their use as a basis for a global biomonitoring framework

An important provision of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the adopted measures and its implementation. Here, we describe for the first time currently available biotic mercury (Hg) data on a global scale to improve the understanding of global efforts to reduce the impact of Hg pollution on people and the environment. Data from the peer-reviewed lit
Authors
David C. Evers, Josh T. Ackerman, Staffan Åkerblom, Dominique Bally, Niladri Basu, Kevin Bishop, Nathalie Bodin, Hans Fredrik Veitberg Braaten, Mark Burton, Paco Bustamante, Celia Y. Chen, John Chételat, Linroy Christian, Rune Dietz, Paul Drevnick, Collin Eagles-Smith, Luis Fernandez, Neil Hammerschlag, Mireille Harmelin-Vivien, Agustin Harte, Eva Kruemmel, Jose Lailson-Brito, Gabriella Medina, Cesar Rodriguez, Iain Stenhouse, Elsie M. Sunderland, Akinori Takeuchi, Timothy Tear, Claudia Vega, Simon Wilson, Pianpian Wu

Wildfire burn severity and stream chemistry influence aquatic invertebrate and riparian avian mercury exposure in forested ecosystems

Terrestrial soils in forested landscapes represent some of the largest mercury (Hg) reserves globally. Wildfire can alter the storage and distribution of terrestrial-bound Hg via reemission to the atmosphere or mobilization in watersheds where it may become available for methylation and uptake into food webs. Using data associated with the 2007 Moonlight and Antelope Fires in California, we examin
Authors
Garth Herring, Lora B. Tennant, James Willacker, Matthew Johnson, Rodney B. Siegel, Julie S. Polasik, Collin Eagles-Smith

Science

Estimating Methylmercury Injury to Birds—“The Bird Mercury Tool”

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have developed a tool that can be used by practitioners to help interpret injury to birds caused by methylmercury contamination. This tool was developed from a comprehensive review of 168 studies and summarizing data on the effects of methylmercury on birds.
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Estimating Methylmercury Injury to Birds—“The Bird Mercury Tool”

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have developed a tool that can be used by practitioners to help interpret injury to birds caused by methylmercury contamination. This tool was developed from a comprehensive review of 168 studies and summarizing data on the effects of methylmercury on birds.
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U.S. Geological Survey Science Opportunities Related to the Nationally Relevant Study of Harmful Algal Blooms and Algal Toxins

In 2024, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a strategic vision document identifying harmful algal bloom (HAB) and algal toxin science gaps, while prioritizing research relevant to the mission, expertise, and capabilities of the USGS. The intention is for USGS and stakeholders to use this document as a starting point for planning, prioritizing, and designing future HAB and algal toxin...
link

U.S. Geological Survey Science Opportunities Related to the Nationally Relevant Study of Harmful Algal Blooms and Algal Toxins

In 2024, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a strategic vision document identifying harmful algal bloom (HAB) and algal toxin science gaps, while prioritizing research relevant to the mission, expertise, and capabilities of the USGS. The intention is for USGS and stakeholders to use this document as a starting point for planning, prioritizing, and designing future HAB and algal toxin...
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The Dragonfly Mercury Project

The Dragonfly Mercury Project measures mercury concentrations in dragonfly larvae from U.S. National Parks and other protected places across the country. This information helps scientists and resource managers, and policymakers assess potential environmental health risks due to mercury, track patterns over time, and assess the efficacy of mercury mitigation efforts. Explore this website to learn...
link

The Dragonfly Mercury Project

The Dragonfly Mercury Project measures mercury concentrations in dragonfly larvae from U.S. National Parks and other protected places across the country. This information helps scientists and resource managers, and policymakers assess potential environmental health risks due to mercury, track patterns over time, and assess the efficacy of mercury mitigation efforts. Explore this website to learn...
Learn More