Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted. For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown
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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
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).
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.
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.
USGS researchers investigate the effects of methylmercury contamination on reproduction of the Eastern mosquitofish, a common fish in South Florida.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The quality of the water we drink can inpact our health.
Three osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings in Coastal Inland Bays, Rehoboth, Delaware in 2015.
Two osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nestlings in Coastal Inland Bays, Rehoboth, Delaware in 2015.
Joan Hagar and Amy Comstock assess the long-term ecological value and characteristics of snags created for wildlife
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.
Bio-Uptake Research Laboratory — Menlo Park, California. Experimental laboratory setup to study uranium uptake by aquatic organisms.
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 lifting a grab sample from ice hole on a stream in North Dakota. The scientist is part of a science team that assessing the potential impacts of a brine spill from unconventional oil and gas activities (UOG) on environmental health.
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.
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.