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Mission Areas

Environmental Health

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USGS specializes in science at the environment-health interface, by characterizing the processes that affect the interaction among the physical environment, the living environment, and people, and the resulting factors that affect ecological and human exposure to disease agents.

Our Science Strategy
Filter Total Items: 91
Date published: April 18, 2016
Status: Completed

Baseline Aquatic Contamination and Endocrine Status in Resident Fish Populations of Biscayne National Park and in the Adjacent Coastal Environment

As part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, water managers are planning to use treated wastewater from the South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to supplement the canal waters that will be used to rehydrate wetlands adjacent to the Biscayne National Park (Park).

Date published: March 10, 2016
Status: Active

Contaminants Assessments in the Coral Reefs of the Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

Coral reefs around the world are exposed to a number of environmental contaminants. USGS researchers investigate the issue of contamination on the reefs around the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Date published: February 25, 2016
Status: Completed

Mosquito Control Pesticide Impacts to Butterflies: Implications for Imperiled Butterfly Conservation on a National Wildlife Refuge

USGS researchers evaluate the impact of a pesticide on two imperiled butterfly species in the Florida Keys.

Date published: February 25, 2016

Methylmercury Impacts to Reproduction in the Eastern Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)

USGS researchers investigate the effects of methylmercury contamination on reproduction of the Eastern mosquitofish, a common fish in South Florida.

Date published: May 22, 2015
Status: Completed

Monitoring Mercury's Risk to Wildlife in California Lakes

USGS scientists sampled grebes in California lakes to compare mercury levels in these predators versus the small fish they prey on—developing a new tool for water quality monitoring.

Date published: April 17, 2015

Evaluating the Prevalence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in the Southeastern U.S.: Any Evidence of Disease-Related Population Declines?

Pathogens and infectious disease play a role in some recent species extinctions and are likely to impact biodiversity in the future. Environmental DNA - eDNA - is coupled with traditional amphibian sampling methods to determine the distribution and prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus, also known as Bd, in the southeastern US. 

Date published: January 1, 2001
Status: Completed

Mapping Shipping Hazards in San Francisco Bay

Information about the 1997-1998 study by USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, to map the floor of San Francisco Bay in order to reveal the bay's shipping hazards.

Contacts: Peter Dartnell
Filter Total Items: 2,467
Year Published: 2016

Blood selenium concentrations in female Pacific black brant molting in Arctic Alaska: Relationships with age and habitat salinity

Blood samples collected from 81 female Pacific black brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) molting near Teshekpuk Lake, Alaska, were analyzed for selenium concentration. The concentration of selenium in blood of after second year (hatched two or more years ago) females (0.84 μg/g wet weight) was significantly greater than the concentration in...

Franson, J. Christian; Flint, Paul L.; Schmutz, Joel A.

Year Published: 2016

Actively heated high-resolution fiber-optic-distributed temperature sensing to quantify streambed flow dynamics in zones of strong groundwater upwelling

Zones of strong groundwater upwelling to streams enhance thermal stability and moderate thermal extremes, which is particularly important to aquatic ecosystems in a warming climate. Passive thermal tracer methods used to quantify vertical upwelling rates rely on downward conduction of surface temperature signals. However, moderate to high...

Briggs, Martin A.; Buckley, Sean F.; Bagtzoglou, Amvrossios C.; Werkema, Dale D.; Lane, John W.
Briggs, M.A., Buckley, S.F., Bagtzoglou, A.C., Werkema, D. and Lane J.W. (2016), Actively heated high-resolution fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing to quantify flow dynamics in zones of strong groundwater upwelling, Water Resources Research, 52, doi: 10.1002/2015WR018219

Year Published: 2016

Bayesian nitrate source apportionment to individual groundwater wells in the Central Valley by use of elemental and isotopic tracers

Groundwater quality is a concern in alluvial aquifers that underlie agricultural areas, such as in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Shallow domestic wells (less than 150 m deep) in agricultural areas are often contaminated by nitrate. Agricultural and rural nitrate sources include dairy manure, synthetic fertilizers, and septic waste....

Ransom, Katherine M; Grote, Mark N.; Deinhart, Amanda; Eppich, Gary; Kendall, Carol; Sanborn, Matthew E.; Sounders, A. Kate; Wimpenny, Joshua; Yin, Qing-zhu; Young, Megan B.; Harter, Thomas
Bayesian nitrate source apportionment to individual groundwater wells in the Central Valley by use of elemental and isotopic tracers (2016). Katherine M. Ransom, Mark N. Grote, Amanda Deinhart, Gary Eppich, Carol Kendall, Matthew E. Sanborn, A. Kate Souders, Joshua Wimpenny, Qing-zhu Yin, Megan Young, Thomas Harter. Water Resources Research, 52, pg 5577-5597, doi: 10.1002/2015WR018523

Year Published: 2016

Dermocystidium sp. infection in Blue Ridge Sculpin captured in Maryland

Raised pale cysts were observed on Blue Ridge Sculpin Cottus caeruleomentum during stream fish community surveys in Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland. When examined histologically, preserved sculpin exhibited multiple cysts containing spherical endospores with a refractile central body characteristic of Dermocystidiumspp. Cysts were not observed on...

Blazer, Vicki S.; Hitt, Nathaniel P.; Snyder, Craig D.; Snook, Erin; Adams, Cynthia R.
Blazer, V.S., N.P. Hitt, C.D. Snyder, E.L. Snook and C.R. Adams. 2016. Dermocystidium sp. infection in Blue Ridge Sculpin captured in Maryland. J. Aquat. Animal Health 28:143-149.

Year Published: 2016

Infectious diseases of wolves in Yellowstone

The summer of 2005 began with such promise for wolves in Yellowstone.  The population had been at an all-time high the last few years, and the wolves appeared to be in good condition.  Several packs had been particularly busy during the breeding season, and early summer pup counts suggested another healthy crop of new wolves rising...

Almberg, Emily S.; Cross, Paul C.; Hudson, Peter J.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Smith, Douglas W.; Stahler, Daniel R.
Almberg, E; P. Cross, P. Hudson, A. Dobson, D. Smith, D. Stahler. 2016. Infectious diseases of wolves in Yellowstone. Yellowstone Science 24(1): 47-49

Year Published: 2016

The impact of onsite wastewater disposal systems on groundwater in areas inundated by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey

Coastal onsite wastewater disposal systems (OWDS) were inundated by Hurricane Sandy's storm tide. This study compares the shallow groundwater quality (nutrients, pharmaceuticals, and hormones) downgradient of OWDS before and after Hurricane Sandy, where available, and establishes a baseline for wastewater influence on groundwater in coastal...

Fisher, Irene; Phillips, Patrick J.; Colella, Kaitlyn; Fisher, Shawn C.; Tagliaferri, Tristen N.; Foreman, William T. ; Furlong, Edward T.

Year Published: 2016

Comparison of wastewater-associated contaminants in the bed sediment of Hempstead Bay, New York, before and after Hurricane Sandy

Changes in bed sediment chemistry of Hempstead Bay (HB) have been evaluated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which resulted in the release of billions of liters of poorly-treated sewage into tributaries and channels throughout the bay. Surficial grab samples (top 5 cm) collected before and (or) after Hurricane Sandy from sixteen sites in HB...

Fisher, Shawn C.; Phillips, Patrick J.; Brownawell, Bruce J.; Browne, James

Year Published: 2016

Regional variability in bed-sediment concentrations of wastewater compounds, hormones and PAHs for portions of coastal New York and New Jersey impacted by hurricane Sandy

Bed sediment samples from 79 coastal New York and New Jersey, USA sites were analyzed for 75 compounds including wastewater associated contaminants, PAHs, and other organic compounds to assess the post-Hurricane Sandy distribution of organic contaminants among six regions. These results provide the first assessment of wastewater compounds,...

Phillips, Patrick J.; Gibson, Cathy A; Fisher, Shawn C.; Fisher, Irene; Reilly, Timothy J.; Smalling, Kelly L. ; Romanok, Kristin M. ; Foreman, William T. ; ReVello, Rhiannon C.; Focazio, Michael J.; Jones, Daniel K.
Phillips, P.J., Gibson, C.A., Fisher, S.C., Fisher, I.J., Reilly, T.J., Smalling, K.L., Romanok, K.M., Foreman, W.T., ReVello, R.C., Focazio, M.J., and Jones, D.K., 2016, Regional variability in bed-sediment concentrations of wastewater compounds, hormone and PAHs for portions of coastal New York and New Jersey impacted by Hurricane Sandy: Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 107, no. 2, pp. 489–498, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.04.050.

Year Published: 2016

Understanding the hydrologic impacts of wastewater treatment plant discharge to shallow groundwater: Before and after plant shutdown

Effluent-impacted surface water has the potential to transport not only water, but wastewater-derived contaminants to shallow groundwater systems. To better understand the effects of effluent discharge on in-stream and near-stream hydrologic conditions in wastewater-impacted systems, water-level changes were monitored in hyporheic-zone and shallow...

Hubbard, Laura E.; Keefe, Steffanie H.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Barber, Larry B.; Duris, Joseph W.; Hutchinson, Kasey J.; Bradley, Paul M.
Laura E. Hubbard, Steffanie H. Keefe, Dana W. Kolpin, Larry B. Barber, Joseph W. Duris, Kasey J. Hutchinson and Paul M. Bradley. Understanding the hydrologic impacts of wastewater treatment plant discharge to shallow groundwater: before and after plant shutdown. Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., (2016), DOI: 10.1039/c6ew00128a.

Year Published: 2016

Saharan dust nutrients promote Vibrio bloom formation in marine surface waters

Vibrio is a ubiquitous genus of marine bacteria, typically comprising a small fraction of the total microbial community in surface waters, but capable of becoming a dominant taxon in response to poorly characterized factors. Iron (Fe), often restricted by limited bioavailability and low external supply, is an essential micronutrient that can...

Westrich, Jason R.; Ebling, Alina M.; Landing, William M.; Joyner, Jessica L.; Kemp, Keri M.; Griffin, Dale W.; Lipp, Erin K.

Year Published: 2016

Molecular detection of airborne Coccidioides in Tucson, Arizona

Environmental surveillance of the soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides is essential for the prevention of Valley fever, a disease primarily caused by inhalation of the arthroconidia. Methods for collecting and detectingCoccidioides in soil samples are currently in use by several laboratories; however, a method utilizing current air...

Chow, Nancy A.; Griffin, Dale W.; Barker, Bridget M.; Loparev, Vladimir N.; Litvintseva, Anastasia P.

Year Published: 2016

The new Landsat 8 potential for remote sensing of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM)

Due to a combination of factors, such as a new coastal/aerosol band and improved radiometric sensitivity of the Operational Land Imager aboard Landsat 8, the atmospherically-corrected Surface Reflectance product for Landsat data, and the growing availability of corrected fDOM data from U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations, moderate-resolution...

Slonecker, Terrance; Jones, Daniel K.; Pellerin, Brian A.
Slonecker, E. Terrence, Daniel K. Jones, and Brian A. Pellerin. "The new Landsat 8 potential for remote sensing of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM)." Marine pollution bulletin (2016).

Filter Total Items: 153
USGS scientists retrieve sampler from a boat
September 2, 2015

USGS Scientists Retrieve a Caged Mussel Sampler from a Boat

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists retrieve and process an ecological processing monitoring station. Each station includes a caged native mussel (shown attached to the buoy rope) and a sampler for measuring invertebrate consumers (not shown). Scientists have

...
Scientist deploying a silicone passive sampler
August 14, 2015

Scientist deploying a silicone passive sampler in Cerro Gordo County

Scientist deploying a silicone passive sampler near a corn field in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. The science team used the passive samplers to quantify pesticide exposure in wetland, grassland, and agricultural habitats.

Three osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings
June 10, 2015

Three osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings in Coastal Inland Bays

Three osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings in Coastal Inland Bays, Rehoboth, Delaware in 2015.

Two osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings
June 10, 2015

Two osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings in Coastal Inland Bays

Two osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings in Coastal Inland Bays, Rehoboth, Delaware in 2015.

Songbird surveys in the Oregon Coast Range
May 29, 2015

Songbird surveys in McDonald Dunn forest

Joan Hagar and Amy Comstock assess the long-term ecological value and characteristics of snags created for wildlife

Close up of a Northern Leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in a wetland
May 22, 2015

Close up of a Northern Leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in a wetland

Northern Leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) in a wetland in Worth County, Iowa. Scientists tracked 72 northern leopard frogs in two wetlands in an agricultural setting in Iowa for insights into where and when individual adult frogs are likely exposed to pesticides.

Experimental laboratory setup to study uranium uptake by aquatic organisms
April 16, 2015

Experimental laboratory setup to study uranium uptake

Bio-Uptake Research Laboratory — Menlo Park, California. Experimental laboratory setup to study uranium uptake by aquatic organisms.

March 31, 2015

Exploring Causes of Coral Disease

The Hawaiian Islands’ beautiful ocean and beaches attract more than 8.5 million tourists each year. The USGS aims to help Hawaii preserve its underwater natural resources by tracing how oceanography may influence coral disease outbreaks. Looking into contaminants in the freshwater, or how quickly a bay may or may not flush, will help enrich future and past studies about

...
USGS Scientist collecting water samples in a stream
December 31, 2014

USGS Scientist collecting water samples in North Sylamore Creek, Arkansas

USGS scientist collecting water samples and measuring water field properties at North Sylamore Creek, Arkansas, on January 7, 2014. Water samples were analyzed for over 700 chemicals and a wide range of biological activity and toxicity.

USGS Mobile Atmospheric Mercury Laboratory
December 31, 2014

USGS Mobile Atmospheric Mercury Laboratory

The USGS Mobile Atmospheric Mercury Laboratory has onboard instrumentation to measure aerosol concentrations and to continuously monitor mercury speciation and concentrations, air quality, automated wet deposition collection, and meteorological conditions.

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