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: 2018

Characterizing toxicity of metal‐contaminated sediments from the Upper Columbia River, Washington, USA, to benthic invertebrates

Sediments from the Upper Columbia River, Washington, USA, are contaminated with metals from smelting operations. We conducted short‐term and long‐term tests with the midge Chironomus dilutus and the amphipod Hyalella azteca and short‐term tests with the freshwater mussel Lampsilis siliquoidea with 54 sediments from...

Besser, John M.; Steevens, Jeffery; Kunz, James L.; Brumbaugh, William G.; Ingersoll, Christopher G.; Cox, Stephen E.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Balistrieri, Laurie S.; Sinclair, Jesse A.; MacDonald, Donald D.

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Year Published: 2018

A diverse suite of pharmaceuticals contaminates stream and riparian food webs

A multitude of biologically active pharmaceuticals contaminate surface waters globally, yet their presence in aquatic food webs remain largely unknown. Here, we show that over 60 pharmaceutical compounds can be detected in aquatic invertebrates and riparian spiders in six streams near Melbourne, Australia. Similar concentrations in aquatic...

Richmond, Erinn K.; Rosi, Emma J.; Walters, David M.; Fikk, Jerker; Hamilton, Stephen K.; Brodin, Tomas; Sundelin, Anna; Grace, Michael R.

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Year Published: 2018

Reconnaissance of mixed organic and inorganic chemicals in private and public supply tapwaters at selected residential and workplace sites in the United States

Safe drinking water at the point-of-use (tapwater, TW) is a United States public health priority. Multiple lines of evidence were used to evaluate potential human health concerns of 482 organics and 19 inorganics in TW from 13 (7 public supply, 6 private well self-supply) home and 12 (public supply) workplace locations in 11 states. Only uranium (...

Bradley, Paul M.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Romanok, Kristin M.; Smalling, Kelly L.; Focazio, Michael J.; Brown, Juliane B.; Cardon, Mary C.; Carpenter, Kurt; Corsi, Steven R.; DeCicco, Laura A.; Dietze, Julie E.; Evans, Nicola; Furlong, Edward T.; Givens, Carrie E.; Gray, James L.; Griffin, Dale W.; Higgins, Christopher P.; Hladik, Michelle L.; Iwanowicz, Luke R. ; Journey, Celeste A.; Kuivila, Kathryn ; Masoner, Jason R.; McDonough, Carrie A.; Meyer, Michael T.; Orlando, James L.; Strynar, Mark J.; Weis, Christopher P.; Wilson, Vickie S.
Attribution: California Water Science Center, Colorado Water Science Center, Central Midwest Water Science Center, Kansas Water Science Center, Leetown Science Center, Michigan Water Science Center, Michigan-Ohio Water Science Center, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, Upper Midwest Water Science Center, New Jersey Water Science Center, Oregon Water Science Center, South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC), St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, Eastern Ecological Science Center, Water Resources, Ecosystems, Contaminant Biology, Toxic Substances Hydrology, Environmental Health Program, Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin, Region 4: Mississippi Basin, Region 1: North Atlantic-Appalachian, Region 2: South Atlantic-Gulf (Includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), National Water Quality Laboratory

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Year Published: 2018

Effects of persistent energy-related brine contamination on amphibian abundance in national wildlife refuge wetlands

To inform sustainable energy development, it is important to understand the ecological effects of historical and current production practices and the persistence of those effects. The Williston Basin is one of North America's largest oil production areas and overlaps the Prairie Pothole Region, an area densely...

Hossack, Blake R.; Smalling, Kelly L.; Anderson, Chauncey W.; Preston, Todd M.; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Honeycutt, R. Ken
Hossack, B. R., K. L. Smalling, C. W. Anderson, T. M. Preston, I. M. Cozzarelli, and R. Ken Honeycutt. 2018. Effects of persistent energy-related brine contamination on amphibian abundance in national wildlife refuge wetlands. Biological Conservation 228:36–43.

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Year Published: 2018

Embryonic effects of an environmentally relevant PCB mixture in the domestic chicken

Studies were conducted to develop methods to assess the effects of a complex mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus). Treatments were administered by egg injection to compare embryonic effects of an environmentally relevant PCB congener mixture in the domestic chicken over a range of doses. Chicken...

Ottinger, Mary Ann; Lavoie, Emma T.; Bohannon, Mary E. B.; Marcel, Allegra M.; Tschiffely, Anna E.; Duffy, Kara B.; McKernan, Moira A.; Thompson, Nichola; Whitehouse, H. Kasen; Davani, Kimya; Strauss, Marci; Tillitt, Donald E.; Lipton, Joshua; Dean, Karen M.
Ottinger, M.A., Lavoie, E.T., Bohannon, M.E.B., Marcel, A.M., Tschiffely, A.E., Duffy, K.B., McKernan, M., Thompson, N., Whitehouse, H.K., Davani, K., Strauss, M., Tillitt, D.E., Lipton, J., and Dean, K.M., 2018, Embryonic effects of an environmentally relevant PCB mixture in the domestic chicken: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 37, no. 10, p. 2513-2522

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Year Published: 2018

Chronic toxicity of 4-nonylphenol to two unionid mussels in water-only exposures

Limited studies indicate that mussels are generally insensitive to organic chemicals; however, these studies were conducted in acute or short-term exposures, and little is known about the chronic sensitivity of mussels to organic chemicals. We evaluated the chronic (28 days) toxicity of 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) to two commonly tested species of...

Ivey, Chris D.; Wang, Ning; Alvarez, David; Hammer, Edward J.; Bauer, Candice R.
Ivey, C.D., Wang, N., Alvarez, D.A., Hammer, E.J., and Bauer, C.R., 2018, Chronic Toxicity of 4-Nonylphenol to Two Unionid Mussels in Water-Only Exposures: Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, v. 101, no. 4, p. 423-427

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Year Published: 2018

The ecology of movement and behaviour: a saturated tripartite network for describing animal contacts

Ecologists regularly use animal contact networks to describe interactions underlying pathogen transmission, gene flow, and information transfer. However, empirical descriptions of contact often overlook some features of individual movement, and decisions about what kind of network to use in a particular setting are commonly ad hoc. Here, we...

Manlove, Kezia R.; Aiello, Christina M.; Sah, Pratha; Cummins, Bree; Hudson, Peter J.; Cross, Paul C.
Manlove, K., Aiello, C.M., Sah, P., Cummins, B., Hudson, P.J. & Cross, P.C. (2018). The ecology of movement and behavior: A saturated tripartite model for describing animal contacts. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285: 20180670

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Year Published: 2018

Mercury and lead exposure in avian scavengers from the Pacific Northwest suggest risks to California condors: Implications for reintroduction and recovery

Mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb) are widespread contaminants that pose risks to avian scavengers. In fact, Pb exposure is the primary factor limiting population recovery in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and Hg can impair avian reproduction at environmentally relevant exposures. The Pacific Northwest region of the...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Varland, Daniel E.
Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Varland, D.E., 2018, Mercury and lead exposure in avian scavengers from the Pacific Northwest suggest risks to California condors- Implications for reintroduction and recovery: Environmental Pollution, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.005.

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Year Published: 2018

Ratio of mercury concentration to PCB concentration varies with sex of white sucker (Catostomus commersonii)

The whole-fish total mercury (Hg) concentrations were determined in 25 mature female and 26 mature male white suckers (Catostomus commersonii) caught during their spawning run in the Kewaunee River, a tributary to Lake Michigan. The age of each fish was estimated using thin-sectioned otoliths, and total length (TL) and weight were determined for...

Madenjian, Charles P.; Stevens, Andrew L.; Stapanian, Martin A.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; DeWild, John F.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; Edwards, William H.; Ogilvie, Lynn M.; McIntyre, Peter B.
Madenjian, C. P., A. L. Stevens, M. A. Stapanian, D. P. Krabbenhoft, J. F. DeWild, J. M. Ogorek, W. H. Edwards, L. M. Ogilvie, and P. B. McIntyre. 2018. Ratio of mercury concentration to PCB concentration varies with sex of white sucker (Catostomus commersonii). Environments 5:94.

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Year Published: 2018

Potential toxicity of dissolved metal mixtures (Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn) to early life stage white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the Upper Columbia River, Washington, United States

The Upper Columbia River (UCR) received historical releases of smelter waste resulting in elevated metal concentrations in downstream sediments. Newly hatched white sturgeon hide within the rocky substrate at the sediment–water interface in the UCR for a few weeks before swim-up. Hiding behavior could expose them to metal contaminants, and metal...

Balistrieri, Laurie S.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Cox, Stephen E.; Puglis, Holly J.; Calfee, Robin D.; Wang, Ning

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Year Published: 2018

Examination of contaminant exposure and reproduction of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting in Delaware Bay and River in 2015

A study of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting in the coastal Inland Bays of Delaware, and the Delaware Bay and Delaware River in 2015 examined spatial and temporal trends in contaminant exposure, food web transfer and reproduction. Concentrations of organochlorine pesticides and metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyls...

Rattner, Barnett A.; Lazarus, Rebecca S.; Bean, Thomas G.; McGowan, Peter C.; Callahan, Carl R.; Erickson, Richard A.; Hale, Robert
Rattner, B. A., Lazarus, R. S., Bean, T. G., McGowan, P. C., Callahan, C. R., Erickson, R. A., and Hale, R. C., 2018, Examination of contaminant exposure and reproduction of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting in Delaware Bay and River in 2015: Science of the Total Environment, v. 639, p. 596-607. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.05.068

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Year Published: 2018

A critical time for mercury science to inform global policy

Mercury is a global pollutant released into the biosphere by varied human activities including coal combustion, mining, artisanal gold mining, cement production, and chemical production. Once released to air, land and water, the addition of carbon atoms to mercury by bacteria results in the production of methylmercury, the toxic form that...

Chen, Celia Y.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Eckley, Chris S.; Gay, David A.; Hsu-Kim, Heileen; Keane, S.E.; Kirk, Jane L.; Mason, Robert; Obrist, Daniel; Selin, Henrik; Selin, Noelle; Thompson, Marcella R.