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: 2017

Season, molt, and body size influence mercury concentrations in grebes

We studied seasonal and physiological influences on mercury concentrations in western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) and Clark's grebes (A. occidentalis) across 29 lakes and reservoirs in California, USA. Additionally, at three of these lakes, we conducted a time series study, in which we repeatedly sampled grebe blood mercury concentrations...

Hartman, C. Alex; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Herzog, Mark P.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.
Hartman, C.A., Ackerman, J.T., Herzog, M.P., Eagles-smith, C.A., 2017. Season, molt, and body size influence mercury concentrations in grebes. Environmental Pollution 229: 29–39. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2017.05.058

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Year Published: 2017

Migratory ducks and protected wetlands in India

India is the most important wintering ground for migratory ducks in the Central Asian Flyway. Because of its latitudinal and climatic extent, the country provides a diversity of wetland habitats for migratory ducks (Ali & Ripley 1978). India is the seventh largest country in the world with an area of about 3.3 million km2 or 2.4% of the world’...

Namgail, Tsewang; Takekawa, John Y.; Balachandran, Sivananinthaperumal; Mundkur, Taej; Sathiyaselvam, Ponnusamy; Prosser, Diann J.; McCracken, Tracy; Newman, Scott H.
Namgail, T., Takekawa, J.Y., Balachandran, S., Mundkur, T., Sathiyaselvam, P., Prosser, D.J., McCracken, T., and Newman, S.H., 2017, Migratory ducks and protected wetlands in India, in Prins, H. and Namgail, T., editors, Bird Migration across the Himalayas: Wetland Functioning amidst Mountains and Glaciers: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 373-379.

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Year Published: 2017

A critical evaluation of the utility of eggshells for estimating mercury concentrations in avian eggs

Eggshells are a potential tool for non-lethally sampling contaminant concentrations in bird eggs, yet few studies have examined their utility to represent mercury exposure. We assessed mercury concentrations in eggshell components for 23 bird species and determined whether they correlated with total mercury (THg) in egg contents. We designed a...

Peterson, Sarah H.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Hartman, C. Alex; Herzog, Mark P.
Peterson, SH, JT Ackerman, CA Eagles-Smith, CA Hartman, MP Herzog. 2017. A critical evaluation of the utility of eggshells for estimating mercury concentrations in avian eggs. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. doi: 10.1002/etc.3777

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Year Published: 2017

Importance of the 2014 Colorado River Delta pulse flow for migratory songbirds: Insights from foraging behavior

The Lower Colorado River provides critical riparian areas in an otherwise arid region and is an important stopover site for migrating landbirds. In order to reverse ongoing habitat degradation due to drought and human-altered hydrology, a pulse flow was released from Morelos Dam in spring of 2014, which brought surface flow to dry stretches of the...

Darrah, Abigail J.; Greeney, Harold F.; van Riper, Charles
Darrah, Abigail .J., Harold F. Greeney and Charles van Riper III. 2016. Importance of the 2014 Colorado River Delta pulse flow for migratory songbirds: Insights from foraging behavior. Ecological Engineering. early online. Full cite to follow.

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Year Published: 2017

An evaluation of inorganic toxicity reference values for use in assessing hazards to American robins (Turdus migratorius)

When performing screening-level and baseline risk assessments, assessors usually compare estimated exposures of wildlife receptor species with toxicity reference values (TRVs). We modeled the exposure of American robins (Turdus migratorius) to 10 elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Se, Zn, and V) in spring and early summer, a time when...

Beyer, W. Nelson; Sample, Bradley E.
Beyer, W. N. and Sample, B. E., 2016, An evaluation of inorganic toxicity reference values for use in assessing hazards to American robins (Turdus migratorius): Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management , v. 13, no. 2, p. 352-359.

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Year Published: 2017

A modeling approach to compare ΣPCB concentrations between congener-specific analyses

Changes in analytical methods over time pose problems for assessing long-term trends in environmental contamination by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Congener-specific analyses vary widely in the number and identity of the 209 distinct PCB chemical configurations (congeners) that are quantified, leading to inconsistencies among summed PCB...

Gibson, Polly P.; Mills, Marc A.; Kraus, Johanna M.; Walters, David M.

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Year Published: 2016

Bald Eagle nestling mortality associated with Argas radiatus and Argas ricei tick infestation and successful management with nest removal in Arizona, USA

Eight Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nestlings heavily infested with larval ticks were found in or under a nest near the confluence of the Verde and Salt rivers in Arizona in 2009-11. The 8-12-wk-old nestlings were slow to respond to stimuli and exhibited generalized muscle weakness or paresis of the pelvic limbs. Numerous cutaneous and...

Justice-Allen, Anne; Orr, Kathy; Schuler, Krysten L.; McCarty, Kyle; Jacobson, Kenneth; Meteyer, Carol U.
Anne Justice-Allen, Kathy Orr, Krysten Schuler, Kyle McCarty, Kenneth Jacobson, and Carol Meteyer (2016) Bald Eagle Nestling Mortality Associated with Argas radiatus and Argas ricei Tick Infestation and Successful Management with Nest Removal in Arizona, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases: October 2016, Vol. 52, No. 4, pp. 940-944.

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Year Published: 2016

Changing agricultural practices: Potential consequences to aquatic organisms

Agricultural practices pose threats to biotic diversity in freshwater systems with increasing use of glyphosate-based herbicides for weed control and animal waste for soil amendment becoming common in many regions. Over the past two decades, these particular agricultural trends have corresponded with marked declines in populations of fish and...

Lasier, Peter J.; Urich, Matthew L.; Hassan, Sayed M.; Jacobs, Whitney N.; Bringolf, Robert B.; Owens, Kathleen M.
Lasier, P. J., Urich, M. L., Hassan, S. M., Jacobs, W. N., Bringolf, R. B., and Owens, K. M., 2016, Changing agricultural practices: potential consequences to aquatic organisms: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, v. 188, no. 672, p. 1-17.

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Year Published: 2016

Ground squirrel shooting and potential lead exposure in breeding avian scavengers

Recreational ground squirrel shooting is a popular activity throughout the western United States and serves as a tool for managing ground squirrel populations in agricultural regions. Belding’s ground squirrels (Spermophilus beldingi) are routinely shot in California, Nevada, and Oregon across habitats that overlap with breeding avian scavengers....

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Wagner, Mason T.
Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Wagner, M.T., 2016, Ground squirrel shooting and potential lead exposure in breeding avian scavengers: PLOS ONE, v. 11, no. 12, p. e0167926, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167926 pone.0167926.

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Year Published: 2016

Assessment of trace element accumulation by earthworms in an orchard soil remediation study using soil amendments

This study assessed potential bioaccumulation of various trace elements in grasses and earthworms as a consequence of soil incorporation of organic amendments for in situ remediation of an orchard field soil contaminated with organochlorine and Pb pesticide residues. In this experiment, four organic amendments of differing total organic carbon...

Centofantia, Tiziana; Chaney, Rufus L.; Beyer, W. Nelson; McConnell, Laura L.; Davis, A. P.; Jackson, Dana

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Year Published: 2016

Transcriptome discovery in non-model wild fish species for the development of quantitative transcript abundance assays

Environmental studies increasingly identify the presence of both contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) and legacy contaminants in aquatic environments; however, the biological effects of these compounds on resident fishes remain largely unknown. High throughput methodologies were employed to establish partial transcriptomes for three wild-caught...

Hahn, Cassidy M.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Cornman, Robert S.; Mazik, Patricia M.; Blazer, Vicki S.
Hahn, C.M, L. R. Iwanowicz, V.S. Blazer, Heather L. Walsh, Ryan P. Braham and P. Mazik. (2016) Transcriptome Discovery in Non-Model Wild Fish Species for the Development of Quantitative Transcript Abundance Assays. Fish Physiology and Biochemistry Part D: Genomics and Proteomics. 20: 27-40.

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Year Published: 2016

Low-cost floating emergence net and bottle trap: Comparison of two designs

Sampling emergent aquatic insects is of interest to many freshwater ecologists. Many quantitative emergence traps require the use of aspiration for collection. However, aspiration is infeasible in studies with large amounts of replication that is often required in large biomonitoring projects. We designed an economic, collapsible pyramid-shaped...

Cadmus, Pete; Pomeranz, Justin; Kraus, Johanna M.