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
The U.S. Geological Survey Environmental Health Mission Area works to safeguard the Nation’s health, economy, and resources by leading science to understand and minimize exposures to toxicological and infectious disease agents in the environment.View Full Web Site
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: Neonicotinoid pesticides act as agonists of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and are designed to be lethal to insects while theoretically posing little to no threat to vertebrates. The perceived safety of neonicotinoids has led to a sharp increase in their use in the United States and globally, since they were first introduced in 1994. The use of the neonicotinoid...
The Challenge: Endocrine active chemicals (EAC) are known to interfere with hormonally regulated physiological processes, thereby affecting signaling in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-liver (HPGL) axis and commonly resulting in reproductive dysfunction. Computational models that relate hormonal and genomic biomarkers within the HPGL axis to the reproductive cycle and ecologically relevant...
The Challenge: Wild birds are exposed throughout their lives to natural and synthetic chemicals that are present in the environment, many of which interfere with the animal’s physiological and developmental systems. Relative concentrations, routes, frequency, and the environment in which chemical exposure occurs will determine to a large extent the bird’s response. Well-...
The Challenge: Mercury is a highly toxic element found throughout our environment. Although it occurs naturally in some environments, human industrial pollution has greatly increased the amount of mercury and the range of environments in which mercury is found. Recent studies have confirmed clear differences in the sensitivity of various bird species to methylmercury. Because the causes of...
The Challenge: Short-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs) are complex technical mixtures of polychlorinated n-alkanes used in lubricants and coolants in metalworking, as flame retardants, and in paints, adhesives, sealants, textiles and polymeric materials, plastics and rubber. SCCPs are of concern because they are globally transported, bioaccumulate in wildlife and humans, and are...
The Challenge: The use of flame retardants (FRs) as additives in a variety of consumer use products, including plastics, textiles, and electronics, is projected to continue and increase for the foreseeable future. Because of unanticipated environmental problems, some FRs have either been banned, restricted, or are being phased-out and replaced by other new and presumably safer FRs. Regrettably...
The Challenge: Neonicotinoids are now the most widely applied class of insecticides in the United States, and are predominantly used in the form of seed treatments. Compared to invertebrates, neonicotinoids are less toxic to wildlife, although genotoxic, cytotoxic, immunological, behavioral and reproductive effects have been reported in studies with birds. At present, little is known...
The Challenge: As a rule, plants and animals contain lower concentrations of lead than are present in soils that support them. Lead does not biomagnify along trophic levels in ecosystems but instead remains relatively immobile in soil. The exposure of wildlife to soil lead depends mainly on the incidental ingestion of soil. The native earthworm, Eisenoides lonnbergi, is anomalous in its...
Although there are ways of developing causal relationships between stressors and aquatic community responses without experimentation; some argue that experimental manipulation under controlled conditions is both critical and necessary to establish causation. Single species toxicity tests are the gold standard for developing toxicant biological response relationships however these tests are...
The Challenge: Black-tailed prairie dogs are considered a keystone species for the prairie habitat. Many avian species are associated with black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) in winter. Raptors feed on prairie dogs and non-raptor avian species forage within prairie dog colonies. However prairie dogs are also considered agricultural pests. The first generation...
The Challenge: The Upper Conasauga River is critical habitat for numerous rare, endangered, and threatened species of freshwater fish and mussels. However, their populations have significantly declined over the past decade. Previous research found elevated levels of nitrate in surface waters and hormones in sediments. Sexual development was significantly altered in western mosquitofish (...
Human dimensions in the context of natural resource management refers to the ways humans value natural resources, resource management preferences, and how humans affect or are affected by natural resource management decisions. Natural resource management and policy decisionmaking require incorporation of sound biological, social, and economic science. SEA scientists...
The Clinch-Powell River Basins Spanning Virginia and Tennessee
The Sediment-bound Contaminant Resiliency and Response (SCoRR) Mapping Application was developed to allow users to visualize and view information generated during this study. Additional datasets including Census data, the National Land Cover Database, and National Hydrography data are also provided for users to generate custom maps.
Seasonal sediment dynamics shape temperate bedrock reef communities
Mobilized seafloor sediment can impact benthic reef communities through burial, scour, and turbidity. These processes are ubiquitous in coastal oceans and, through their influence on the survival, fitness, and interactions of species, can alter the structure and function of benthic communities. In northern Monterey Bay, California, USA, as much as...Jared D. Figurski, Jan Freiwald, Steve I. Lonhart, and Curt D. Storlazzi
Conversion to drip irrigated agriculture may offset historic anthropogenic and wildfire contributions to sediment production
This study is an investigation into the roles of wildfire and changing agricultural practices in controlling the inter-decadal scale trends of suspended sediment production from semi-arid mountainous rivers. In the test case, a decreasing trend in suspended sediment concentrations was found in the lower Salinas River, California between 1967 and...A.B. Gray, G.B. Pasternack, E.B. Watson, M.A. Goñi, J.A. Hatten, J.A. Warrick
Trend analyses with river sediment rating curves
Sediment rating curves, which are fitted relationships between river discharge (Q) and suspended-sediment concentration (C), are commonly used to assess patterns and trends in river water quality. In many of these studies, it is assumed that rating curves have a power-law form (i.e. C = aQb, where a and b are fitted parameters). Two fundamental...Jonathan A. Warrick
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.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 RecoveryBuxton, 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 SurveyBuxton, Herbert T.; Bright, Patricia R.
Beach Nourishment Impacts on Bacteriological Water Quality and Phytoplankton Bloom Dynamics
A beach nourishment with approximately 1/3 fine-grained sediment (fines; particle diameterM. A. Rippy, P. J. S. Franks, F. Feddersen, R. T. Guza, and J. A. Warrick
Review of samples of water, sediment, tailings, and biota at the Little Bonanza mercury mine, San Luis Obispo County, CaliforniaRytuba, 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, WyomingWorkman, 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 coastSweetkind, Donald S.; Tennyson, Marilyn E.; Langenheim, V.E.; Shumaker, Lauren E.
Three-dimensional geologic model of the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, south-central OklahomaFaith, Jason R.; Blome, Charles D.; Pantea, Michael P.; Puckette, James O.; Halihan, Todd; Osborn, Noel; Christenson, Scott; Pack, Skip
A Review of Aeromagnetic Anomalies in the Sawatch Range, Central ColoradoBankey, Viki
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
Budget Focuses on Core USGS Science and Efficiency
The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.
A new USGS-NASA study found widespread shoreline loss along heavily oiled areas of Louisiana's coast after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and compared the erosion from the spill with coastal changes Hurricane Isaac caused in 2012.
Studies on the aquatic food web, tree swallows, and the spread of contaminants take center stage at SETAC 2016.
Building knowledge to protect ecological and human health
Environmental Ratios of Cadmium and Zinc are less Toxic to Aquatic Insects than Expected
As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.
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.