Environmental Health

Featured Science Activities

Our science activities are summarized in a series of feature articles that highlight recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) environmental health science activities. They are short summaries of peer-reviewed journal articles and USGS reports co-authored by our specialized teams of scientists.
Older featured science activities are on our old Web site.

Filter Total Items: 154
Date published: September 2, 2016
Status: Completed

Low Levels of Contaminants Found in Great Lakes Tree Swallow Eggs

Tree swallow eggs at most study sites in the Great Lakes basin were minimally exposed to legacy organic contaminants and brominated flame retardants.

Date published: September 1, 2016
Status: Completed

Swine Manure Application as a Source of Hepatitis E Virus and other Livestock-Related Pathogens

The presence of indicator bacteria, hepatitis E virus (HEV), and numerous bacterial pathogen genes increased following precipitation-induced runoff events in streams draining adjacent land surfaces in Iowa where swine manure was recently applied.

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Date published: August 30, 2016
Status: Completed

Recovery of Stream and Adjacent Groundwater After Wastewater Treatment Facility Closure

The hydrology and chemistry of a wastewater-impacted stream and adjacent groundwater responded rapidly (had fewer chemicals at lower concentrations) following wastewater treatment facility shutdown. However, the adjacent shallow groundwater remained a continuing source of some wastewater-derived contaminants to the stream at least 1 year post-shutdown.

Date published: August 29, 2016
Status: Completed

Study Reveals Processes that Control Uranium Bioavailability in a Freshwater Snail—Relevance to Aquatic Biota in the Grand Canyon Area

Scientists refined an existing speciation model to identify key biogeochemical processes controlling dissolved uranium bioavailability to a freshwater snail. This information is important to advance current understanding and prediction of the ecological risk posed by uranium mining to freshwater ecosystems, including federally managed lands such as in the Grand Canyon area.

Date published: July 28, 2016
Status: Completed

New Guide to Help Identify Harmful Algal Blooms

To assist Native American and Alaska Native communities, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists developed a guide to evaluate algal blooms for the presence of cyanobacteria that are known to produce a variety of toxins.

Date published: July 20, 2016
Status: Completed

Nutrients in Dust from the Sahara Desert cause Microbial Blooms on the East Coast of the United States

Saharan dust nutrients, particularly iron, deposited episodically in tropical marine waters stimulate marine microbial bloom growth and change microbial community structure.

Contacts: Dale Griffin
Date published: June 24, 2016
Status: Completed

DOI Distinguished Service Award Given to Two Program Scientists

Two U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program (TSHP) scientists, Denis R. LeBlanc and Dr. Michael T. Meyer, received the Department of Interior's (DOI) highest honor—the Distinguished Service Award. The award is given to recognize outstanding contribution to science, outstanding skill or ability in the performance of duty, outstanding contribution made during an eminent...

Contacts: Mike Focazio
Date published: June 21, 2016
Status: Completed

New Hepatitis B Virus Discovered in White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii)

The first known hepatitis B virus to infect fish (white sucker; Catostomus commersonii) has been discovered by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists. 

Date published: June 21, 2016
Status: Completed

USGS Scientists Measure New Bacterial Nitrogen Removal Process in Groundwater

For the first time, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and the University of Connecticut scientists have detected active anammox bacteria in groundwater.

Date published: June 20, 2016
Status: Completed

Bacterial Pathogen Genes in Streams related to Animal Type and Hydrologic Conditions

A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study elucidates the influence of animal type and environmental variables on bacterial pathogen occurrence in streams under typical watershed conditions.

Date published: June 20, 2016
Status: Completed

Persistent Contaminant Threats Following Hurricane Sandy—Establishing Baselines and Assessing Impacts

Potential long-term contaminant threats resulting from compromised infrastructure, beach erosion, and sediment disturbance were evaluated in the coastal environments of New Jersey and New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Contacts: Timothy Reilly
Date published: June 16, 2016
Status: Completed

Synthetic Progestin Affects Fish Reproductive Development and Behavior in Laboratory Exposure Study

Scientists conducted laboratory experiments on levonorgestrel (a synthetic progestin) and observed differential effects to males (reproductive behavior) and females (masculinization) of eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki).