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

Element concentrations in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) from the U.S. and Binational Great Lakes’ areas of concern

Selected elements were targeted in state Remedial Action Plans as one group of chemicals affecting the Beneficial Use Impairments of Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC). Livers of nestling tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, were harvested from 76 sites in the Great Lakes which included multiple sites at 27 AOCs and 12 reference sites from 2010...

Custer, Thomas W.; Custer, Christine M.; Dummer, Paul; Goldberg, Diana R.; Franson, J. Christian

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Year Published: 2019

Assessment of bird exposure to lead at Tyndall and Beale Air Force Bases, 2016–17

Soil contamination by lead (Pb) from past small munitions training on Beale Air Force Base, California, and Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, may result in adverse effects for passerine birds that utilize the locations. A study was conducted during 2016-17 by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S...

Bargar, Timothy A.
Bargar, T.A., 2019, Assessment of bird exposure to lead at Tyndall and Beale Air Force Bases, 2016–17: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5164, 30 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185164.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury isotopes reveal an ontogenetic shift in habitat use by walleye in lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan

In general, fish residing in rivers differ from fish residing in lakes in their mercury (Hg) isotope ratios. Specifically, fish residing in lakes typically show enriched values for the isotope ratios of δ202Hg (mass-dependent fractionation of isotope 202Hg) and Δ199Hg (mass-independent fractionation of isotope 199Hg) compared with fish...

Madenjian, Charles P.; Janssen, Sarah E.; Lepak, Ryan F.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; Rosera, Tylor J.; DeWild, John F.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Cogswell, Stewart F.; Holey, Mark E.

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Year Published: 2019

Behavioral effects of copper on larval white sturgeon

Early–life stage white sturgeon are sensitive to copper (Cu), with adverse behavioral responses observed during previous studies. The objectives of the present study were to quantify the effects of Cu exposure on white sturgeon swimming and feeding behaviors and determine their time to response. Larval sturgeon (1–2, 28, or 35 d posthatch [dph])...

Puglis, Holly J.; Calfee, Robin D.; Little, Edward E.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury contamination in resident and migrant songbirds and potential effects on body condition

Methlymercury is a significant risk to environmental health globally. We examined the ecological drivers of methylmercury bioaccumulation in songbirds and its effect on body condition while experimentally removing the potentially confounding and predominant effects of site and habitat. We measured blood and...

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

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Year Published: 2019

Absence of PCB hot spot effect in walleye Sander vitreus from lower Green Bay of Lake Michigan

Under certain conditions, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentration in individuals of one sex of an adult fish population may exceed that of the other sex by more than a factor of two. This phenomenon, known as the PCB hot spot effect, has been postulated to be contingent upon the following two conditions: (1) presence of a PCB hot spot in...

Madenjian, Charles P.; Dembkowski, Daniel J.; Isermann, Daniel A.; Batterman, Stuart A.; Chernyak, Sergei C.; Cogswell, Stewart F.; Holey, Mark E.

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Year Published: 2019

Use of blood clotting assays to assess potential anticoagulant rodenticide exposure and effects in free-ranging birds of prey

Non-target wildlife, particularly birds of prey, are widely exposed to and acutely poisoned by anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). An unresolved issue surrounding such exposure, however, is the potential for sublethal effects. In particular, the consequences of AR exposure and resulting coagulopathy on health and survival of...

Hindmarch, Sofi; Rattner, Barnett A.; Elliott, John E.

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Year Published: 2019

Polychlorinated biphenyl tissue‐concentration thresholds for survival, growth, and reproduction in fish

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have left a legacy of environmental contamination. Even though they were banned from production and active use in the 1970s, they persist in the environment and still have the potential to impact aquatic life. Our objective was to identify data from controlled laboratory studies of PCB‐related adverse effects in...

Berninger, Jason P.; Tillitt, Donald E.

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Year Published: 2019

Extreme value-based methods for modeling elk yearly movements

Species range shifts and the spread of diseases are both likely to be driven by extreme movements, but are difficult to statistically model due to their rarity. We propose a statistical approach for characterizing movement kernels that incorporate landscape covariates as well as the potential for heavy-tailed distributions. We used a spliced...

Wijeyakulasuriya, Dhanushi A.; Hanks, Ephraim M.; Shaby, Benjamin A.; Cross, Paul C.

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Year Published: 2019

Assessment of chronic low‐dose elemental and radiological exposures of biota at the Kanab North uranium mine site in the Grand Canyon watershed

High‐grade U ore deposits are in various stages of exploitation across the Grand Canyon watershed, yet the effects of U mining on ecological and cultural resources are largely unknown. We characterized the concentrations of Al, As, Bi, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb, Hg, Mo, Ni, Se, Ag, Tl, Th, U, and Zn, gross alpha and beta activities, and U and Th...

Cleveland, Danielle; Hinck, Jo Ellen; Lankton, Julia S.

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Year Published: 2019

Stream mercury export in response to contemporary timber harvesting methods (Pacific Coastal Mountains, Oregon, USA)

Land-use activities can alter hydrological and biogeochemical processes that can affect the fate, transformation, and transport of mercury (Hg). Previous studies in boreal forests have shown that forestry operations can have profound, but variable effects on Hg export and methylmercury (MeHg) formation. The Pacific Northwest is an important...

Eckley, Chris S.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Tate, Michael T.; Kowalski, Brandon M; Danehy, Robert; Johnson, Sherri L; Krabbenhoft, David P.

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Year Published: 2018

Sex‐specific responses in neuroanatomy of hatchling American kestrels in response to embryonic exposure to the flame retardants bis(2‐ethylhexyl)‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromophthalate and 2‐ethylhexyl‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromobenzoate

Bis(2‐ethylhexyl)‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromophthalate (BEH‐TEBP) and 2‐ethylhexyl‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromobenzoate (EH‐TBB), flame retardant components of FireMaster 550® and 600® have been detected in tissues of wild birds. To address the paucity of information regarding potential impacts of flame retardants on the brain, brain volume regions of hatchling...

Guigueno, Mélanie F.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Henry, Paula F. P.; Peters, Lisa E.; Palace, Vince P.; Letcher, Robert J.; Fernie, Kim J.