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GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

The GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter provides information on new USGS science activities related to safeguarding the health of fish, wildlife, domesticated animals, livestock, and people from environmental exposures to contaminants and pathogens.

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Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Lean about our Featured Science Activities through our pages that highlight recience studies, publications, and results.

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Filter Total Items: 3,075
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Year Published: 2019

Wetland-scale mapping of preferential fresh groundwater discharge to the Colorado River

Quantitative evaluation of groundwater/surface water exchange dynamics is universally challenging in large river systems, because existing methodology often does not yield spatially‐distributed data and is difficult to apply in deeper water. Here we apply a combined near‐surface geophysical and direct groundwater chemical toolkit to refine fresh...

Briggs, Martin A.; Nelson, Nora C.; Gardner, Philip M.; Solomon, D. Kip; Terry, Neil; Lane, John W.

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Year Published: 2019

Multi-scale preferential flow processes in an urban streambed under variable hydraulic conditions

Spatially preferential flow processes occur at nested scales at the sediment-water interface (SWI), due in part to sediment heterogeneities, which may be enhanced in flashy urban streams with heavy road sand influence. However, several factors, including the flow-rate dependence of preferential hyporheic flow and discrete groundwater discharge...

Dehkordy, Farzaneh MahmoodPoor; Briggs, Martin A.; Day-Lewis, Frederick D.; Singha, Kamini; Krajnovich, Ashton; Hampton, Tyler B.; Zarnetske, Jay P.; Scruggs, Courtney R.; Bagtzoglou, Amvrossios C.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury concentrations vary within and among individual bird feathers: A critical evaluation and guidelines for feather use in mercury monitoring programs

Feathers are widely used to represent mercury contamination in birds. Yet, few recommendations exist that provide guidance for using bird feathers in mercury monitoring programs. We conducted a literature review and 5 experiments to show that mercury concentrations vary substantially within (vane >100% higher than calamus) and among (>1000...

Peterson, Sarah H.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Toney, Matthew; Herzog, Mark P.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury exposure and altered parental nesting behavior in a wild songbird

Methylmercury is a neurotoxin and endocrine disruptor and may impair avian reproduction directly through embryotoxicity or by altering parental care behaviors. We studied mercury exposure and incubation behavior of free-living tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting in artificial nest boxes. Using small temperature dataloggers, we measured...

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

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Year Published: 2019

Biogeochemical and physical processes controlling mercury methylation and bioaccumulation in Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah and Arizona, 2014 and 2015

Mercury monitoring results from about 300 Morone saxatilis (striped bass) muscle tissue samples collected by the State of Utah from Lake Powell resulted in a Utah/Arizona fish consumption advisory issued in 2012 for approximately the lower 100 kilometers of the reservoir. Chemical, physical, and biological data were collected during two synoptic...

Naftz, David L.; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Aiken, George; Boyd, Eric S.; Conaway, Christopher H.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; Anderson, Gregory M.
Naftz, D.L., Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Krabbenhoft, D.P., Aiken, G., Boyd, E.S., Conaway, C.H., Ogorek, J., and Anderson, G.M., 2019, Biogeochemical and physical processes controlling mercury methylation and bioaccumulation in Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah and Arizona, 2014 and 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1159, 81 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181159.

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Year Published: 2019

Modeling elk‐to‐livestock transmission risk to predict hotspots of brucellosis spillover

Wildlife reservoirs of infectious disease are a major source of human‐wildlife conflict because of the risk of potential spillover associated with commingling of wildlife and livestock. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the presence of brucellosis (Brucella abortus) in free‐ranging elk (Cervus canadensis) populations is of significant...

Rayl, Nathaniel D.; Proffitt, Kelly M.; Almberg, Emily S.; Jones, Jennifer D.; Merkle, Jerod A.; Gude, Justin A.; Cross, Paul C.

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Year Published: 2019

Constraining the oxygen isotopic composition of nitrate produced by nitrification

Measurements of the stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (15N/14N) and oxygen (18O/16O) in nitrate (NO3–) enable identification of sources, dispersal, and fate of natural and contaminant NO3– in aquatic environments. The 18O/16O of NO3– produced by nitrification is often assumed to reflect the proportional contribution of oxygen atom...

Boshers, Danielle S.; Granger, Julie; Tobias, Craig R.; Böhlke, John K.; Smith, Richard L.

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Year Published: 2019

Improved enrichment factor calculations through principal component analysis: Examples from soils near breccia pipe uranium mines, Arizona, USA

The enrichment factor (EF) is a widely used metric for determining how much the presence of an element in a sampling media has increased relative to average natural abundance because of human activity. Calculation of an EF requires the selection of both a background composition and a reference element, choices that can strongly influence the...

Bern, Carleton R.; Walton-Day, Katie; Naftz, David L.

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Year Published: 2019

Patterns of mercury and selenium exposure in Minnesota common loons

Common loons (Gavia immer) are at risk of elevated dietary mercury (Hg) exposure in portions of their breeding range. To assess the level of risk among loons in Minnesota (USA), we investigated loon blood Hg concentrations in breeding lakes across Minnesota. Loon blood Hg concentrations were regressed on predicted Hg concentrations in standardized...

Kenow, Kevin P.; Houdek, Steven C.; Fara, Luke J.; Erickson, Richard A.; Gray, Brian R.; Harrison, Travis J.; Monson, Bruce; Henderson, Carrol L.

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Year Published: 2019

Fungicides: An overlooked pesticide class?

Fungicides are indispensable to global food security and their use is forecasted to intensify. Fungicides can reach aquatic ecosystems and occur in surface water bodies in agricultural catchments throughout the whole growing season due to their frequent, prophylactic application. However, in comparison to herbicides and insecticides, the exposure...

Zubrod, Jochen; Bundschuh, Micro; Arts, Gertie; Bruhl, Carsten; Imfeld, Gwenaël; Knäbel, Anja; Payraudeau, Sylvain; Rasmussen, Jes J; Rohr, Jason; Scharmüller, Andreas; Smalling, Kelly; Stehle, Sebastian; Schulz, Ralf; Schäfer, Ralf B.

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Year Published: 2019

Toxicokinetics of imidacloprid-coated wheat seeds in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and an evaluation of hazard

Birds are potentially exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides by ingestion of coated seeds during crop planting. Adult male Japanese quail were orally dosed with wheat seeds coated with an imidacloprid (IMI) formulation at either 0.9 mg/kg body weight (BW) or 2.7 mg/kg BW (~3 and 9% of IMI LD50 for Japanese quail, respectively) for 1 or 10 days....

Bean, Thomas G.; Gross, Michael S.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Henry, Paula F. P.; Schultz, Sandra L.; Hladik, Michelle; Kuivila, Kathryn; Rattner, Barnett A.

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Year Published: 2019

Associations between environmental pollutants and larval amphibians in wetlands contaminated by energy-related brines are potentially mediated by feeding traits

Energy production in the Williston Basin, located in the Prairie Pothole Region of central North America, has increased rapidly over the last several decades. Advances in recycling and disposal practices of saline wastewaters (brines) co-produced during energy production have reduced ecological risks, but spills still...

Smalling, Kelly L.; Anderson, Chauncey W.; Honeycutt, R. Ken; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Preston, Todd M.; Hossack, Blake R.