Contaminant Biology

Publications

Dive into our publications and explore the science from the Environmental Health Program (Toxic Substances Hydrology and Contaminant Biology).

GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

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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Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Learn about our Featured Science Activities through our pages that highlight recent studies, publications, and results.

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Filter Total Items: 438
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Year Published: 2019

Spatial variation in aquatic invertebrate and riparian songbird mercury exposure across a river-reservoir system with a legacy of mercury contamination

Mercury (Hg) loading and methylation in aquatic systems causes a variety of deleterious effects for fish and wildlife populations. Relatively little research has focused on Hg movement into riparian food webs and how this is modulated by habitat characteristics. This study characterized differences in Hg exposure in aquatic invertebrates and...

Jackson, Allyson K.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Emery, Colleen

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Year Published: 2019

In ovo exposure to brominated flame retardants Part II: Assessment of effects of TBBPA-BDBPE and BTBPE on hatching success, morphometric and physiological endpoints in American kestrels

Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2,3-dibromopropyl ether) (TBBPA-BDBPE) and 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTPBE) are both brominated flame retardants (BFRs) that have been detected in birds; however, their potential biological effects are largely unknown. We assessed the effects of embryonic exposure to TBBPA-BDBPE and BTBPE in a model avian...

Eng, Margaret; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Henry, Paula F. P.; Letcher, Robert J.; Schultz, Sandra L.; Bean, Thomas G.; Peters, Lisa E.; Palace, Vince P.; Williams, Tony D.; Elliott, John E.; Fernie, Kim J.

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Year Published: 2019

In ovo exposure to brominated flame retardants Part I: Assessment of effects of TBBPA-BDBPE on survival, morphometric and physiological endpoints in zebra finches

Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2,3-dibromopropyl) ether (TBBPA-BDBPE) is an additive flame retardant used in polyolefins and polymers. It has been detected in biota, including in avian eggs, yet little is known of its effects. We assessed the pattern of TBBPA-BDBPE concentrations in songbird eggs over the incubation period, and the effects of embryonic...

Eng, Margaret; Williams, Tony D.; Fernie, Kim J.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Henry, Paula F. P.; Letcher, Robert J.; Elliott, John E.

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Year Published: 2019

Feather mercury concentrations in North American raptors sampled at migration monitoring stations

We assessed total mercury (THg) concentrations in breast feathers of diurnal North American raptors collected at migration monitoring stations. For 9 species in the Pacific Flyway, we found species and age influenced feather THg concentrations whereas sex did not. Feather THg concentrations µg/g dry weight (dw) averaged (least-squared mean±...

Baurbour, Ryan; Martinico, Breanna L.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.; Hull, Angus C.; Fish, Allen M.; Hull, Joshua M.

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Year Published: 2019

Perfluoroalkyl contaminant exposure in tree swallows nesting at Clarks Marsh, Oscoda, Michigan, USA

A site in north eastern Michigan, Oscoda Township, has some of the highest recorded exposure in birds to perfluorinated substances (PFASs) in the U.S. Some egg and plasma concentrations at that location exceeded the lowest reproductive effect threshold established for two avian laboratory species. The objectives of this study were to determine...

Custer, Christine M.; Custer, Thomas W.; Delaney, Robert; Dummer, Paul; Schultz, Sandra L.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury concentrations vary within and among individual bird feathers: A critical evaluation and guidelines for feather use in mercury monitoring programs

Feathers are widely used to represent mercury contamination in birds. Yet, few recommendations exist that provide guidance for using bird feathers in mercury monitoring programs. We conducted a literature review and 5 experiments to show that mercury concentrations vary substantially within (vane >100% higher than calamus) and among (>1000...

Peterson, Sarah H.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Toney, Matthew; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury exposure and altered parental nesting behavior in a wild songbird

Methylmercury is a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor and may impair avian reproduction directly through embryotoxicity or by altering parental care behaviors. We studied mercury exposure and incubation behavior of free-living tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting in artificial nest boxes. Using small temperature dataloggers, we measured...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Modeling elk‐to‐livestock transmission risk to predict hotspots of brucellosis spillover

Wildlife reservoirs of infectious disease are a major source of human‐wildlife conflict because of the risk of potential spillover associated with commingling of wildlife and livestock. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the presence of brucellosis (Brucella abortus) in free‐ranging elk (Cervus canadensis) populations is of significant...

Rayl, Nathaniel D.; Proffitt, Kelly M.; Almberg, Emily S.; Jones, Jennifer D.; Merkle, Jerod; Gude, Justin A.; Cross, Paul C.

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Year Published: 2019

Patterns of mercury and selenium exposure in Minnesota common loons

Common loons (Gavia immer) are at risk of elevated dietary mercury (Hg) exposure in portions of their breeding range. To assess the level of risk among loons in Minnesota (USA), we investigated loon blood Hg concentrations in breeding lakes across Minnesota. Loon blood Hg concentrations were regressed on predicted Hg concentrations in standardized...

Kenow, Kevin P.; Houdek, Steven C.; Fara, Luke J.; Erickson, Richard A.; Gray, Brian R.; Harrison, Travis J.; Monson, Bruce; Henderson, Carrol L.

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Year Published: 2019

Toxicokinetics of imidacloprid-coated wheat seeds in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and an evaluation of hazard

Birds are potentially exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides by ingestion of coated seeds during crop planting. Adult male Japanese quail were orally dosed with wheat seeds coated with an imidacloprid (IMI) formulation at either 0.9 mg/kg body weight (BW) or 2.7 mg/kg BW (~3 and 9% of IMI LD50 for Japanese quail, respectively) for 1 or 10 days....

Bean, Thomas G.; Gross, Michael S.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Henry, Paula F. P.; Schultz, Sandra L.; Hladik, Michelle; Kuivila, Kathryn; Rattner, Barnett A.

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Year Published: 2019

Nutrients mediate the effects of temperature on methylmercury concentrations in freshwater zooplankton

Methylmercury (MeHg) bioaccumulation in freshwater aquatic systems is impacted by anthropogenic stressors, including climate change and nutrient enrichment. The goal of this study was to determine how warmer water temperatures and excess nutrients would alter zooplankton communities and phytoplankton concentrations, and whether those changes would...

Jordan, Meredith P; Stewart, Robin; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Stracker, Angela L

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Year Published: 2019

Description of disparate responses of two indoor feral bee colonies

As is sometimes the case, field research does not always go according to plan. This is especially true when the research involves free-ranging animals. We recently conducted a preliminary field study that involved placing a beehive in a tent and individually releasing marked honey bees (Apis mellifera) outdoors to study their ability to locate...

Vyas, Nimish B.; Plunkett, Amanda D.