Web-Based Tool Aids in Understanding the Movement of Avian Influenza
Visualization tool helps scientists see how relations between poultry density and waterfowl migration routes affect avian influenza riskScience Feature
USGS Scientist Receives Award for Assistance with Wetlands Assessment
Dr. Keith A. Loftin received the EPA's Achievement in Science and Technology Award for his contributions to the National Wetlands AssessmentScience Feature
Studying Shifts in Stream Microbial Communities Exposed to Wastewaters
Shifts in microbial community structure were present in stream sediments that had chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas wastewatersScience Feature
Nitrate Addition Enhances Arsenic Immobilization in Groundwater
The addition of nitrate in a low oxygen groundwater resulted in the immobilization of naturally occurring dissolved arsenicScience Feature
Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
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
The Challenge: Anticoagulant rodenticides have been identified as being hazardous to predatory and scavenging birds on a global scale. Restrictions on the sale, distribution and packaging of some second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (e.g., brodifacoum, difethialone, bromadiolone and difenacoum) have been instituted by the US EPA, and will likely result in...
The Challenge: Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that has been used by veterinarians for the treatment of inflammation, fever and pain in domestic livestock. This drug appears to have been the principal cause of a severe population crash of vultures of the genus Gyps in India and Pakistan. Vultures unintentionally ingested diclofenac when...
The Challenge: The Department of the Interior has extensive responsibilities for management of fish and wildlife, and their supporting habitat. Stewardship activities include assessment of potentially adverse effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on biota, including chemical contaminants. We assist by providing scientific information to support...
The Challenge: Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants (PBDEs) are contaminants that bioaccumulate and biomagnify in aquatic and terrestrial food webs. Unlike many contemporary pollutants, these flame retardants have increased in the environment over the past 30 years. Studies in Chesapeake and Delaware Bays have documented concentrations of nearly 1 μg/g...
The Challenge: The National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been the only large-scale effort that has examined contaminant exposure in terrestrial vertebrates in the United States. Halogenated contaminants, metals, and new pollutants continue to pose hazards to wildlife at many geographic scales. To address this hazard,...
The Challenge: Emerging contaminants may be in part responsible for recent endocrine disruption observed in fish in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Endocrine active compounds implicated in the decline of fish populations may affect other wildlife as well. There are 6 species of turtles and 5 of snakes living within the main-stem and tidal areas of the Bay. As...
Wetlands of the northern Great Plains are crucial feeding grounds for migrating birds and waterfowl embedded in an agricultural landscape. Land use and hydrology can affect adult aquatic insects – crucial prey for critically declining populations of insectivorous birds. Current studies focus on effects of current-use pesticides on adult aquatic insects to inform decision making about...
Water quality and aquatic life standards that are set by Federal and state regulatory agencies are used to evaluate the quality of our nation’s water and the health of aquatic ecosystems. These standards currently are based on hardness of the water and are determined for single metals, not for mixtures of metals that are typically found in natural systems. Metal mixtures can...
Monarch butterfly populations have declined sufficiently to result in noticeably fewer overwintering at sites in central Mexico as in California.
The goal of this investigation is to provide improved information and tools to support decisions related to management, risk assessment, remediation planning, and mitigation of the effects of hard-rock metal mining and uranium mining on watersheds and ecosystems.
This study is assessing the environmental health risks associated with wastes from unconventional oil and gas development by characterizing waste materials, identifying potential environmental pathways, and evaluating the potential effects on organisms from exposure to unintended waste releases.
The USGS is investigating a wastewater plume in a shallow aquifer near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to increase the understanding of the physical, chemical, and microbiological processes that affect the fate and transport of contaminants in groundwater.
Organic contamination in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings at United States and binational great Lakes Areas of Concern
Contaminant exposure of tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, nesting in 27 Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes basin was assessed from 2010 to 2014 to assist managers and regulators in their assessments of Great Lakes AOCs. Contaminant concentrations in nestlings from AOCs were compared with those in nestlings from nearby non-AOC sites....Custer, Thomas W.; Custer, Christine M.; Dummer, Paul; Goldberg, Diana R.; Franson, J. Christian; Erickson, Richard A.
Geologic materials and human health: Chapter 5.14
No abstract available.Plumlee, Geoffrey S.; Morman, Suzette A.
Family inspiration for my career(s) in transdisciplinary science
I have been fortunate to spend the last 31 years working for an organization that has allowed me to make multiple career shifts across earth science disciplines and to collaborate with people in fields well beyond the earth sciences. Many inspirational colleagues have guided me along this transdisciplinary science path, but perhaps my biggest...Plumlee, Geoffrey S.
Energy and Minerals Science at the U.S. Geological Survey
The economy, national security, and standard of living of the United States depend on adequate and reliable supplies of energy and mineral resources. Based on population and consumption trends, the Nation’s and World’s use of energy and minerals is expected to grow, driving the demand for scientific understanding of resource formation, location,...Ferrero, Richard C.; Kolak, Jonathan J.; Bills, Donald J.; Bowen, Zachary H.; Cordier, Daniel J.; Gallegos, Tanya J.; Hein, James R.; Kelley, Karen D.; Nelson, Philip H.; Nuccio, Vito F.; Schmidt, Jeanine M.; Seal, Robert R.
Water quality, sediment characteristics, aquatic habitat, geomorphology, and mussel population status of the Clinch River, Virginia and Tennessee, 2009-2011
Chemical, physical, and biological data were collected during 2009-2011 as part of a study of the Clinch River in Virginia and Tennessee. The data from this study, data-collection methods, and laboratory analytical methods used in the study are documented in this report. The study was conducted to describe the conditions of the Clinch River and to...Krstolic, Jennifer L.; Johnson, Gregory C.; Ostby, Brett J.K.
Meeting the Science Needs of the Nation in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy-- A U.S. Geological Survey Science Plan for Support of Restoration and Recovery
n late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy came ashore during a spring high tide on the New Jersey coastline, delivering hurricane-force winds, storm tides exceeding 19 feet, driving rain, and plummeting temperatures. Hurricane Sandy resulted in 72 direct fatalities in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States, and widespread and substantial...Buxton, Herbert T.; Andersen, Matthew E.; Focazio, Michael J.; Haines, John W.; Hainly, Robert A.; Hippe, Daniel J.; Sugarbaker, Larry J.
Environmental health science at the U.S. Geological Survey
USGS environmental health science focuses on the environment-health interface. Research characterizes the processes that affect the interaction among the physical environment, the living environment, and people, as well as the factors that affect ecological and human exposure to disease agents and the resulting toxicologic or infectious disease....Buxton, Herbert T.; Bright, Patricia R.
The role of airborne mineral dusts in human disease
Exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) is generally acknowledged to increase risk for human morbidity and mortality. However, particulate matter (PM) research has generally examined anthropogenic (industry and combustion by-products) sources with few studies considering contributions from geogenic PM (produced from the Earth by natural processes...Morman, Suzette A.; Plumlee, Geoffrey S.
Bird mercury concentrations change rapidly as chicks age: toxicological risk is highest at hatching and fledging.
Toxicological risk of methylmercury exposure to juvenile birds is complex due to the highly transient nature of mercury concentrations as chicks age. We examined total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in blood, liver, kidney, muscle, and feathers of 111 Forster's tern (Sterna forsteri), 69 black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), and 43...Ackerman, Joshua T.; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Herzog, Mark P.
Review of samples of water, sediment, tailings, and biota at the Little Bonanza mercury mine, San Luis Obispo County, California
Background and Objectives The Little Bonanza mercury (Hg) mine, located in San Luis Obispo County, California, is a relatively small mine with, a historical total Hg production of about 1,000 flasks. The mine workings and tailings are located in the headwaters of the previously unnamed west fork of Las Tablas Creek (WF Las Tablas Creek), which...Rytuba, James J.; Hothem, Roger L.; Goldstein, Daniel N.; Brussee, Brianne E.; May, Jason T.
Geologic map of the Sand Creek Pass quadrangle, Larimer County, Colorado, and Albany County, Wyoming
New geologic mapping within the Sand Creek Pass 7.5 minute quadrangle defines geologic relationships within the northern Front Range of Colorado along the Wyoming border approximately 35 km south of Laramie, Wyo. Previous mapping within the quadrangle was limited to regional reconnaissance mapping; Eaton Reservoir 7.5 minute quadrangle to the east...Workman, Jeremiah B.; Braddock, William A.
Digital tabulation of stratigraphic data from oil and gas wells in the Santa Maria Basin and surrounding areas, central California coast
Stratigraphic information from 694 oil and gas exploration wells from the onshore Santa Maria basin and surrounding areas are herein compiled in digital form from reports that were released originally in paper form. The Santa Maria basin is located within the southwesternmost part of the Coast Ranges and north of the western Transverse Ranges on...Sweetkind, Donald S.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Langenheim, V.E.; Shumaker, Lauren E.
In addition to news releases on our latest papers, we provide Science Feature Articles that highlight results from environmental health science activities across the U.S. Geological Survey.See Our Science Feature Articles
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Some gulls in southcentral Alaska are carriers of antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, according to a new study co-authored by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Mercury contamination is widespread, at various levels across western North America in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish and wildlife.
A recent study looks at the impact of climate change on certain fish in Wisconsin lakes.
“Whatcha gonna do when they come for you”-thinks this week’s EarthWord...
When you’re not dead yet, but aren’t feeling well either, there’s an EarthWord for that...
New USGS models help predict storm effects on beaches
First-of-its-kind survey shows that algal toxins are found nationwide
At least one pharmaceutical chemical was detected in all 59 streams sampled
A new study from the USGS assesses water quality data for the Juniata River Basin in Western Blair County, Pennsylvania.
These are the first published studies to demonstrate water-quality impacts to a surface stream due to activities at an unconventional oil and gas wastewater deep well injection disposal site.
Researchers have figured out what makes certain chemicals accumulate to toxic levels in aquatic food webs. And, scientists have developed a screening technique to determine which chemicals pose the greatest risk to the environment.
The world's largest breeding population of ospreys is coping well with the long-lasting residues of toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago but remain in the Chesapeake Bay food chain at varying levels, such as the pesticide DDT and insulating chemicals known as PCBs.