Barnett Rattner, Ph.D.
Dr. Barnett Rattner is an ecotoxicologist. He conducts hypothesis-driven laboratory and field investigations, risk assessments and scholarly evaluations on the toxicity of legacy and contemporary pollutants (industrial contaminants, metals, pesticides, petroleum crude oil) to wildlife and the environment. His current focus is on exposure and adverse effects of anticoagulant rodenticides, flame retardants and pharmaceuticals, comparative toxicology, non-target secondary poisoning associated with rodenticides, alternative testing methods, and screening-level risk assessments. Dr. Rattner actively represents the DOI as a member of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, and serves as a special consultant to the Fish and Wildlife Service on issues related to nontoxic shot used in hunting.
- B.S., University of Maryland, 1972 - Zoology
- M.S., University of Maryland, 1974 - Zoology, Developmental Biology
- Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1977 - Zoology, Environmental Physiology
- National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship, Naval Medical Research Institute, 1978 - Hyperbaric Physiology
Areas of Expertise/Interest: Wildlife Toxicology; Risk Assessment; Physiology
- Development of data and models to evaluate the hazard and risk of anticoagulant rodenticides to non-target raptorial species
- Aborption, distribution, metabolism, eliminaiton and toxicity of neonicotinoids in seed-eating birds
- Toxicity of flame retardants and pesticides to avian species
- Contaminant exposure and potential reproductive effects in ospreys nesting in Chesapeake and Delaware Bay
- Contaminant-related activities and synoptic reviews in support of client agencies in the Department of the Interior
- Technical assistance to the Fish and Wildlife Service on alternative shot
Accomplishments, Awards, and Achievements:
- Authored over 130 publications, co-edited three books (Handbook of Ecotoxicology, Ecotoxicology of Wild Mammals,Anticoagulant Rodenticides and Wildlife), and made over 150 presentations at scientific meetings, workshops and symposia.
- Compiled two widely used internet-accessible ecotoxicological databases (Contaminant Exposure and Effects—Terrestrial Vertebrates database, Biological and Ecotoxicological Characteristics of Terrestrial Vertebrate Species Residing in Estuaries).
- Serves as Terrestrial Editor of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, and as an Editorial Board member of the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, and Outlooks on Pest Management.
- SETAC Government Service Award 2007
- President, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry - North America 2012
- President, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry World Council 2015
- Fellow, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2017
- Distinguished Service Award, Department of the Interior 2018
Science and Products
Long-term Studies Examine Contaminant Exposure and Reproduction of Ospreys Nesting in Two Large United States Estuaries
In a series of studies from 2010 to 2018, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists detected low levels of legacy contaminants and pharmaceuticals in osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and their food chain within the Chesapeake and Delaware River estuaries. Osprey reproductive success increased during the same period and was determined to be adequate to sustain a stable population in both...
Genomic and Behavioral Effects of the Neonicotinoid Imidacloprid in Birds Exposed Through Pesticide-Coated Seeds
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: 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 about the...
Contaminant Exposure, Food Web Transfer and Potential Health Effects on Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay Waterbirds
The Challenge: Agricultural, industrial and urban activities have had major effects on waterbirds in Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. Some legacy pollutants (PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, flame retardants, metals) pose a potential threat to wildlife in some locations. Pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and endocrine disrupting compounds have been detected in water and fish tissue, yet...
Hazard, Risk and Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetic Model for Anticoagulant Rodenticides in Kestrels and Owls
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 expanded use of first-...
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 scavenging livestock treated shortly...
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 development of federal guidelines, ...
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 wet weight of PBDEs in osprey...
Contaminant Exposure and Effects—Terrestrial Vertebrates (CEE-TV) Database Summary Findings for Trust Resources in U.S. Coastal Habitats
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, critical data gaps are being...
Examination of contaminant exposure and reproduction of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting in Delaware Bay and River in 2015
Data collected as part of a large ecotoxicology study to assess concentrations, geographic gradients and temporal trends in contaminant exposure of ospreys nesting in Delaware River and Bay.
The Contaminant Exposure and Effects-Terrestrial Vertebrates database (CEE-TV) contains searchable pollution data (>20,000 records, >275,000 individuals, >500 species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles) that reside in estuarine and coastal habitats along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Coasts including Alaska and Hawaii and in the Great Lakes Region.
The Whole Wildlife Toxicology Catalog is a compilation of websites containing toxicological information related to amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals that may be of value to scientists, risk assessors, regulators and natural resource managers.
Exposure of wildlife to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) is likely to occur but evidence of hazard and risk is limited. One exposure pathway that has received attention is trophic transfer of APIs in a water-fish-osprey food chain.
Exposure of wildlife to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) is likely to occur but evidence of hazard and risk is limited. One exposure pathway that has received attention is trophic transfer of APIs in a water-fish-osprey food chain. Samples of water, fish plasma and osprey plasma were collected from Delaware River and Bay, and analyzed for 21 APIs. Only 2 of 21 analytes exceeded Method...
Use of blood clotting assays to assess potential anticoagulant rodenticide exposure and effects in free-ranging birds of prey
Non-target wildlife, particularly birds of prey, are widely exposed to and acutely poisoned by anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). An unresolved issue surrounding such exposure, however, is the potential for sublethal effects. In particular, the consequences of AR exposure and resulting coagulopathy on health and survival of...Hindmarch, Sofi; Rattner, Barnett A.; Elliott, John E.
Examination of contaminant exposure and reproduction of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting in Delaware Bay and River in 2015
A study of ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) nesting in the coastal Inland Bays of Delaware, and the Delaware Bay and Delaware River in 2015 examined spatial and temporal trends in contaminant exposure, food web transfer and reproduction. Concentrations of organochlorine pesticides and metabolites, polychlorinated biphenyls...Rattner, Barnett A.; Lazarus, Rebecca S.; Bean, Thomas G.; McGowan, Peter C.; Callahan, Carl R.; Erickson, Richard A.; Hale, Robert
Environmental contaminants of health-care origin: Exposure and potential effects in wildlife
A diverse range of fauna could be exposed to active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) via diet, dermal absorption or bioconcentration. Low level exposures of free-ranging wildlife to APIs has only been demonstrated for a few pathways (e.g., ingestion of fish in estuaries by piscivorous birds), and many remain hypothetical (e.g., ingestion of...Bean, Thomas; Rattner, Barnett A.
Biomarker responses of Peromyscus leucopus exposed to lead and cadmium in the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District
Biomarker responses and histopathological lesions have been documented in laboratory mammals exposed to elevated concentrations of lead and cadmium. The exposure of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) to these metals and the potential associated toxic effects were examined at three contaminated sites in the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining...Beyer, W. Nelson; Casteel, Stan W.; Friedrichs, Kristen R.; Gramlich, Eric; Houseright, Ruth A.; Nichols, John W.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Kim, Dae Young; Rangen, Kathleen; Rattner, Barnett A.; Schultz, Sandra
Anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity to non-target wildlife under controlled exposure conditions
Much of our understanding of anticoagulant rodenticide toxicity to non-target wildlife has been derived from molecular through whole animal research and registration studies in domesticated birds and mammals, and to a lesser degree from trials with captive wildlife. Using these data, an adverse outcome pathway identifying molecular initiating and...van den Brink, Nico; Elliott, J.; Shore, R.; Rattner, B.; Rattner, Barnett A.; Mastrota, F. Nicholas
Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife: Concluding remarks
Rodents are known to affect human society globally in various adverse ways, resulting in a widespread demand for their continuous control. Anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) have been, and currently remain, the cornerstone of rodent control throughout the world. Although alternative control methods exist, they are generally less effective. ARs work...van den Brink, Nico W.; Elliott, John E.; Shore, Richard F.; Rattner, Barnett A.
Anticoagulant rodenticides and wildlife: Introduction
Rodents have interacted with people since the beginning of systematic food storage by humans in the early Neolithic era. Such interactions have had adverse outcomes such as threats to human health, spoiling and consumption of food sources, damage to human infrastructure and detrimental effects on indigenous island wildlife (through inadvertent...van den Brink, Nico W.; Elliott, John E.; Shore, Richard F.; Rattner, Barnett A.; van den Brink, Nico W.; Elliott, John E.; Shore, Richard F.; Rattner, Barnett A.
Pharmaceuticals in water, fish and osprey nestlings in Delaware River and Bay
Exposure of wildlife to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) is likely to occur but studies of risk are limited. One exposure pathway that has received attention is trophic transfer of APIs in a water-fish-osprey food chain. Samples of water, fish plasma and osprey plasma were collected from Delaware River and Bay, and analyzed for 21 APIs....Bean, Thomas G.; Rattner, Barnett A.; Lazarus, Rebecca S.; Day, Daniel D.; Burket, S. Rebekah; Brooks, Bryan W.; Haddad, Samuel P.; Bowerman, William W.
Wildlife and environmental pollution
No abstract available.Rattner, Barnett A.
Predictive framework for estimating exposure of birds to pharmaceuticals
We present and evaluate a framework for estimating concentrations of pharmaceuticals over time in wildlife feeding at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The framework is composed of a series of predictive steps involving the estimation of pharmaceutical concentration in wastewater, accumulation into wildlife food items, and uptake by wildlife...Bean, Thomas G.; Arnold, Kathryn E.; Lane, Julie M.; Bergström, Ed; Thomas-Oates, Jane; Rattner, Barnett A.; Boxall, Allistair B.A.
Amino acid specific stable nitrogen isotope values in avian tissues: Insights from captive American kestrels and wild herring gulls
Through laboratory and field studies, the utility of amino acid compound-specific nitrogen isotope analysis (AA-CSIA) in avian studies is investigated. Captive American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were fed an isotopically characterized diet and patterns in δ15N values of amino acids (AAs) were compared to those in their tissues (muscle and red...Hebert, Craig E.; Popp, B.N.; Fernie, K.J.; Ka'apu-Lyons, C.; Rattner, Barnett A.; Wallsgrove, N.
Alternative approaches to vertebrate ecotoxicity tests in the 21st century: A review of developments over the last 2 decades and current status
The need for alternative approaches to the use of vertebrate animals for hazard assessment of chemicals and pollutants has become of increasing importance. It is now the first consideration when initiating a vertebrate ecotoxicity test, to ensure that unnecessary use of vertebrate organisms is minimized wherever possible. For some regulatory...Lillicrap, Adam; Belanger, Scott; Burden, Natalie; Du Pasquier, David; Embry, Michelle; Halder, Marlies; Lampi, Mark; Lee, Lucy; Norberg-King, Teresa J.; Rattner, Barnett A.; Schirmer, Kristin; Thomas, Paul
To assist decision makers in risk assessments, two sets of indices have been developed to rank terrestrial vertebrates for their utility in biomonitoring and susceptibility.
The Contaminant Exposure and Effects-Terrestrial Vertebrates database (CEE-TV) contains contaminant exposure and effects information for terrestrial vertebrates (birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles) that reside in estuarine and coastal habitats along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Coasts including Alaska and Hawaii and in the Great Lakes Region.
Lower levels of environmental contaminants—including pesticides, flame retardants and other pollutants—were recently found in osprey eggs in the Delaware Estuary compared to those tested from the 1970s through the early 2000s.