Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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Science Centers and scientists suported by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program develop and apply advanced analytical methods, field investigations, laboratory studies, and modeling capabilities to understand sources, movement, and exposure pathways of chemical and microbial contaminants in the environment. They are integrated in the Ecosystems Mission Area as the Environmental Health Program with science centers and scientists supported by the Contaminant Biology Program who then determine toxicity and effects of contaminants and pathogens.

Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Our Science Feature Articles highlight recent USGS environmental health science activities.

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GeoHEALTH-USGS

GeoHEALTH-USGS

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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News

Date published: September 11, 2020

Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish Varied by Species and Location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Summary of Existing Data and a Roadmap for Integrated Monitoring

Fish mercury data from State monitoring programs and research studies within the Chesapeake Bay were compiled and summarized to provide a comprehensive overview of the variation in fish mercury concentrations among species and habitats within the watershed...

Date published: September 11, 2020

Review of Cyanobacterial Neurotoxins—Information for Prioritizing Future Science Directions

The current state of knowledge on the modes of action, production, fate, and occurrence of the freshwater cyanobacterial neurotoxins, anatoxin-a and saxitoxin, was reviewed and synthesized to identify gaps and critical research needs to better...

Date published: September 11, 2020

Conceptual Model Developed to Understand Contaminant Pathways between Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems

A conceptual model, based on contaminant properties and ecotoxicological principles, was developed to understand the transfer of contaminants from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems and the effects of various classes of contaminants on terrestrial...

Publications

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Year Published: 2020

Boreal blazes: Biomass burning and vegetation types archived in the Juneau Icefield

The past decade includes some of the most extensive boreal forest fires in the historical record. Warming temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, the desiccation of thick organic soil layers, and increased ignition from lightning all contribute to a combustive combination. Smoke aerosols travel thousands of kilometers, before blanketing the...

Kehrwald, Natalie; Jasmann, Jeramy Roland; Dunham, Melissa E.; Ferris, David G.; Osterburg, Erich C.; Kennedy, Joshua; Havens, Jeremy; Barber, Larry; Fortner, Sarah K.

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Year Published: 2020

Malignant melanoma of Brown Bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont/Quebec

In 2012, brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) with large, raised, black growths were first reported from multiple areas within the Vermont portion of Lake Memphremagog. Subsequent surveys conducted from 2014 to 2017 at two sites within the lake indicated a prevalence of 30% in adult brown bullhead 200 mm and above total length. These lesions...

Blazer, Vicki S.; Shaw, Cassidy H.; Smith, Cheyenne R.; Emerson, P; Jones, Thomas R.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury source changes and food web shifts alter contamination signatures of predatory fish from Lake Michigan

To understand the impact reduced mercury (Hg) loading and invasive species have had on methylmercury bioaccumulation in predator fish of Lake Michigan, we reconstructed bioaccumulation trends from a fish archive (1978 to 2012). By measuring fish Hg stable isotope ratios, we related temporal changes in Hg concentrations to varying Hg sources....

Lepak, Ryan F.; Hoffman, Joel C.; Janssen, Sarah E.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; DeWild, John F.; Tate, Michael T.; Babiarz, Christopher L.; Yin, Runsheng; Murphy, Elizabeth W; Engstrom, Daniel R; Hurley, James P.