Contaminant Biology Program

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Science Centers and scientists supported by the Contaminant Biology Program develop and apply advanced laboratory methods, field investigations, and modeling capabilities to understand toxicity and effects of environmental contaminant and pathogen exposure.  They are integrated in the Ecosystems Mission Area as the Environmental Health Program with science centers and scientists supported by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program who determine sources, movement, and exposure pathways of contaminants in the environment.

Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Our Science Feature Articles highlight recent USGS environmental health science activities.

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GeoHEALTH-USGS

GeoHEALTH-USGS

The GeoHEALTH–USGS Newsletter—published since 2004—provides information on USGS science activities pertinent to safeguarding the health of fish, wildlife, domesticated animals, and people from environmental exposures to contaminants and pathogens.

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News

Date published: September 11, 2020

Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish Varied by Species and Location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Summary of Existing Data and a Roadmap for Integrated Monitoring

Fish mercury data from State monitoring programs and research studies within the Chesapeake Bay were compiled and summarized to provide a comprehensive overview of the variation in fish mercury concentrations among species and habitats within the watershed...

Date published: September 11, 2020

Review of Cyanobacterial Neurotoxins—Information for Prioritizing Future Science Directions

The current state of knowledge on the modes of action, production, fate, and occurrence of the freshwater cyanobacterial neurotoxins, anatoxin-a and saxitoxin, was reviewed and synthesized to identify gaps and critical research needs to better...

Date published: September 11, 2020

Conceptual Model Developed to Understand Contaminant Pathways between Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems

A conceptual model, based on contaminant properties and ecotoxicological principles, was developed to understand the transfer of contaminants from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems and the effects of various classes of contaminants on terrestrial...

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Freshwater neurotoxins and concerns for human, animal, and ecosystemhealth: A review of anatoxin-a and saxitoxin

Toxic cyanobacteria are a concern worldwide because they can adversely affect humans, animals, and ecosystems. However, neurotoxins produced by freshwater cyanobacteria are understudied relative to microcystin. Thus, the objective of this critical review was to provide a comprehensive examination of the modes of action, production, fate, and...

Christensen, Victoria; Khan, Eakalak

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Year Published: 2020

Standardized guide to the examination and necropsy of the horseshoe crab using Limulus polyphemus as Limulidae prototype

The Atlantic, or American, horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) has existed largely unchanged for over 100 million years. Millions of individuals are commonly observed ashore in spring and summer months during spawning events along the entire North American coastline expanding from the East to the Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico. Other...

Roorda, Katie; Arnold, Jill; Meteyer, Carol; Whitaker, Brent

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Year Published: 2020

Malignant melanoma of Brown Bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont/Quebec

In 2012, brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) with large, raised, black growths were first reported from multiple areas within the Vermont portion of Lake Memphremagog. Subsequent surveys conducted from 2014 to 2017 at two sites within the lake indicated a prevalence of 30% in adult brown bullhead 200 mm and above total length. These lesions...

Blazer, Vicki S.; Shaw, Cassidy H.; Smith, Cheyenne R.; Emerson, P; Jones, Thomas R.