Contaminant Biology

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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: 2017

Could changes in the agricultural landscape of northeastern China have influenced the long-distance transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5Nx viruses?

In the last few years, several reassortant subtypes of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAI H5Nx) have emerged in East Asia. These new viruses, mostly of subtype H5N1, H5N2, H5N6, and H5N8 belonging to clade 2.3.4.4, have been found in several Asian countries and have caused outbreaks in poultry in China, South Korea, and Vietnam. HPAI...

Gilbert, Marius; Prosser, Diann J.; Zhang, Geli; Artois, Jean; Dhingra, Madhur S.; Tildesley, Michael J.; Newman, Scott H.; Guo, Fusheng; Black, Peter; Claes, Filip; Kalpradvidh, Wantanee ; Shin, YeunKyung; Jeong, Wooseog ; Takekawa, John Y.; Lee, Hansoo; Xiao, Xiangming
Gilbert, M., Prosser, D. J., Zhang, G., Artois, J., Dhingra, M. S., Tildesley, M., Newman, S. H., Guo, F., Black, P., Claes, F., Kalpradvidh, W., Shin, Y. K., Heong, W., Takekawa, J. Y., Lee, H., and Xiao, X., 2017, Could changes in the agricultural landscape of northeastern China have influenced the long-distance transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5Nx viruses?: Frontiers in Veterinary Science, v. 4, Article 225, p. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2017.00225

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Year Published: 2017

Comment on linking the sex difference in PCB concentrations of fish to release of eggs at spawning: Time to jettison the dogma

For the past 20 years or so, a commonly used explanation in the scientific literature for higher polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations in male fish than in female fish has been that females lose a high proportion of their PCB body burden by releasing eggs at spawning time, and therefore the females undergo a substantial decrease in their...

Madenjian, Charles P.
Madenjian, C. P. 2017. Comment on linking the sex difference in PCB concentrations of fish to release of eggs at spawning: time to jettison the dogma. Oceanography & Fisheries: Open Access Journal 5:555661.

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Year Published: 2017

Metabarcoding of environmental DNA samples to explore the use of uranium mine containment ponds as a water source for wildlife

Understanding how anthropogenic impacts on the landscape affect wildlife requires a knowledge of community assemblages. Species surveys are the first step in assessing community structure, and recent molecular applications such as metabarcoding and environmental DNA analyses have been proposed as an additional and complementary wildlife survey...

Klymus, Katy E.; Richter, Catherine A.; Thompson, Nathan; Hinck, Jo Ellen
Klymus, K., Richter, C., Thompson, N., and Hinck, J., 2017, Metabarcoding of Environmental DNA Samples to Explore the Use of Uranium Mine Containment Ponds as a Water Source for Wildlife: Diversity, v. 9, no. 4, 54

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Year Published: 2017

EROD activity, chromosomal damage, and oxidative stress in response to contaminants exposure in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings from Great Lakes Areas of Concern

Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor, nestlings were collected from 60 sites in the Great Lakes, which included multiple sites within 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) and six sites not listed as AOCs from 2010 to 2014. Nestlings, approximately 12 days-of-age, were evaluated for ethoxyresorufin-O-dealkylase (EROD) activity, chromosomal damage, and six...

Custer, Thomas W.; Custer, Christine M.; Dummer, Paul; Bigorgne, Emilie; Oziolor, Elias; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Schultz, Sandra L.; Erickson, Richard A.; Aagaard, Kevin; Matson, Cole W.
Custer, T.W., Custer, C.M., Dummer, P.M., Bigorgne, E., Oziolor, E.M., Karouna-Renier, N., Schultz, S., Erickson, R.A., Aagaard, K., Matson, C.W. 2017. EROD activity, chromosomal damage, and oxidative stress in response to contaminants exposure in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings from Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Ecotoxicology. Vol. 26(10):1392-1407. DOI: 10.1007/s10646-017-1863-7.

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Year Published: 2017

Restoration of contaminated ecosystems: adaptive management in a changing climate

Three case studies illustrate how adaptive management (AM) has been used in ecological restorations that involve contaminants. Contaminants addressed include mercury, selenium, and contaminants and physical disturbances delivered to streams by urban stormwater runoff. All three cases emphasize the importance of broad stakeholder input early and...

Farag, Aida; Larson, Diane L.; Stauber, Jenny; Stahl, Ralph; Isanhart, John; McAbee, Kevin T.; Walsh, Christopher J.
Farag, A.M., Larson, D.L., Stauber, J., Stahl, R., Isanhart, J., McAbee, K., and Walsh, C.J., 2017, Restoration of contaminated ecosystems: adaptive management in a changing climate: Restoration Ecology, v. 25, no. 6, p. 884-893

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Year Published: 2017

Widespread legacy brine contamination from oil production reduces survival of chorus frog larvae

Advances in drilling techniques have facilitated a rapid increase in hydrocarbon extraction from energy shales, including the Williston Basin in central North America. This area overlaps with the Prairie Pothole Region, a region densely populated with wetlands that provide numerous ecosystem services. Historical (legacy) disposal practices often...

Hossack, Blake R.; Puglis, Holly J.; Battaglin, William A.; Anderson, Chauncey W.; Honeycutt, R. Ken; Smalling, Kelly L.
Hossack, B. R., H. J. Puglis, W. A. Battaglin, C. W. Anderson, R. K. Honeycutt, and K. L. Smalling. 2017. Widespread legacy brine contamination from oil production reduces survival of chorus frog larvae. Environmental Pollution 231:742–751.

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Year Published: 2017

Sex difference in PCB concentrations of a catostomid fish

Unraveling the complexities associated with the relative differences in contaminant concentrations between the sexes of mature fish may provide insights into important behavioral and physiological differences between the sexes of not just fish but higher vertebrates as well. Whole-fish polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations were determined...

Madenjian, Charles P.; Stevens, Andrew L.; Stapanian, Martin A.; Batterman, Stuart A.; Chernyak, Sergei M.; Menczer, Jordan E.; McIntyre, Peter B.

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Year Published: 2017

Characterizing Golden Eagle risk to lead and anticoagulant rodenticide exposure: A review

Contaminant exposure is among the many threats to Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) populations throughout North America, particularly lead poisoning and anticoagulant rodenticides (AR). These threats may act in concert with others (e.g., lead poisoning and trauma associated with striking objects) to exacerbate risk. Golden Eagles are skilled...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Buck, Jeremy A.

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Year Published: 2017

Satellite-tagged osprey nearly sets longevity record and productivity response to initial captures

We equipped adult Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) from 24 nests in Oregon/Washington with satellite-tracked battery-powered radios, known as platform transmitter terminals (PTTs), in 1996–1999. These Ospreys from the lower Columbia River (river miles 76–286), and the Willamette Valley in western Oregon were part of a larger study of Osprey fall...

Henny, Charles J.; Martell, Mark S.
Henny, C.J., Martell, M., 2017, Satellite-tagged osprey nearly sets longevity record and productivity response to initial captures: Journal of Raptor Research, v. 51, no. 2, p. 180-183, https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-16-71.1.

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Year Published: 2017

Efficacy and residual toxicity of a sodium hydroxide based ballast water treatment system for freshwater bulk freighters

The efficacy and residual toxicity of a sodium hydroxide (NaOH) based ballast water treatment system (BWTS) were tested aboard the Great Lakes carrier M/V American Spiritin 1000 L mesocosms containing water from the ship's ballast tanks. NaOH was added to elevate the pH to 11.5 or 11.7 for 48 h, after which pH...

Elskus, Adria; Mitchelmore, Carys L.; Wright, David; Henquinet, Jeffrey W.; Welschmeyer, Nicholas; Flynn, Colin; Watten, Barnaby J.
IN PRESS

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Year Published: 2017

Maternal transfer of mercury to songbird eggs

We evaluated the maternal transfer of mercury to eggs in songbirds, determined whether this relationship differed between songbird species, and developed equations for predicting mercury concentrations in eggs from maternal blood. We sampled blood and feathers from 44 house wren (Troglodytes aedon) and 34 tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) mothers...

Ackerman, Joshua T.; Hartman, C. Alex; Herzog, Mark P.
Ackerman, JT, CA Hartman, MP Herzog. 2017. Maternal transfer of mercury to songbird eggs. Environmental Pollution 230: 463-468. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.06.099

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Year Published: 2017

Selenium: Mercury molar ratios in freshwater fish in the Columbia River Basin: Potential applications for specific fish consumption advisories

Fish provide a valuable source of beneficial nutrients and are an excellent source of low fat protein. However, fish are also the primary source of methylmercury exposure in humans. Selenium often co-occurs with mercury and there is some evidence that selenium can protect against mercury toxicity yet States issue fish consumption advisories based...

Cusack, Leanne K.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Harding, Anna K.; Kile, Molly; Stone, Dave