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 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

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.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury source changes and food web shifts alter contamination signatures of predatory fish from Lake Michigan

To understand the impact reduced mercury (Hg) loading and invasive species have had on methylmercury bioaccumulation in predator fish of Lake Michigan, we reconstructed bioaccumulation trends from a fish archive (1978 to 2012). By measuring fish Hg stable isotope ratios, we related temporal changes in Hg concentrations to varying Hg sources....

Lepak, Ryan F.; Hoffman, Joel C.; Janssen, Sarah E.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; DeWild, John F.; Tate, Michael T.; Babiarz, Christopher L.; Yin, Runsheng; Murphy, Elizabeth W; Engstrom, Daniel R; Hurley, James P.

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Year Published: 2019

Urban stormwater: An overlooked pathway of extensive mixed contaminants to surface and groundwaters in the United States

Increasing global reliance on stormwater control measures to reduce discharge to surface water, increase groundwater recharge, and minimize contaminant delivery to receiving waterbodies necessitates improved understanding of stormwater-contaminant profiles. A multi-agency study of organic and inorganic chemicals in urban stormwater from 50 runoff...

Masoner, Jason R.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Barber, Larry B.; Burden, D.S.; Foreman, William T.; Forshay, Kenneth J.; Furlong, Edward; Groves, Justin F.; Hladik, Michelle; Hopton, Matthew E.; Jaeschke, Jeanne B.; Keefe, Steffanie H.; Krabbenhoft, David; Lowrance , Richard; Romanok, Kristin; Rus, David L.; Selbig, William R.; Williams, Brad; Bradley, Paul