I am a "dirty water biologist" with interests and experience in water pollution ecology in streams, that is, relating human-influences on stream environments to biological effects and estimating risks of adverse effects. My recent interests and work have included effects of mining and trace elements on stream ecosystems, developing biotic ligand models (BLMs) to predict effects of metal mixtures in natural waters, and studies of nutrient enrichments and eutrophication in streams.
My professional interests and experience are focused on water pollution ecology in streams, that is, relating human-influences on stream environments to biological effects and estimating risks of adverse effects. Particular areas of interests include:
*Effects of nutrient enrichment on stream ecosystems. Particular aspects of interest include 1) factors limiting nuisance growth in rooted aquatic plants vs. algae, 2) integrating experimental and field bioassessment information between factors such nutrients, flows, algae and plants
*Ecological risk assessment, in particular predicting risks, adverse effects, and safe concentrations of trace metals in freshwater ecosystems. Particular aspects of interest include 1) water quality criteria development; 2) expanding the use of predictive toxicity models, with a recent emphasis on the biotic ligand model (BLM) with cadmium, cobalt, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc; 3) relating ecotoxicology testing to natural systems through population modeling or field studies
* Use of aquatic bioassessment or biomonitoring techniques to interpret changing environmental conditions.
The publications listed are from an automatic feed from USGS Publications Warehouse. It's somewhat random and most are paywalled. A more structured listing is available elsewhere (Google Scholar), and those full-text versions that may legally be freely shared are also available elsewhere (ResearchGate). The full-text of most publications is also available in PDF format by sending an e-mail.
Science and Products
Blaine County’s population nearly quadrupled from about 5,700 to 22,000 people between 1970 and 2010. Residents and resource managers of the Wood River Valley of south-central Idaho are concerned about the potential effects that population growth and the expected increased demand for water might have on the quantity and quality of the valley’s ground and surface waters. Increased water use has...
Nutrient enrichment can affect the ecological health of a stream. For example, excessive aquatic plant growth caused by increased nutrients can reduce dissolved oxygen necessary for other aquatic life. Topics of particular interest in this study area include:
seasonal patterns among nutrients, flows, algae and plants in streams
rooted aquatic plant vs. algae growth
Historically, Idaho has been home to many productive underground and open-pit mining operations. These activities have also produced water quality problems in some areas. One such example is the Blackbird Mine in central Idaho. Following mining operations from the 1940s through the 1960s, Panther Creek and its tributaries were severely damaged by runoff from the Blackbird Mine. Water-quality...
The mining district in the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River valley was among the Nation’s largest producers of silver, lead, zinc, and other metals from the 1880s to the 1980s. These activities have produced large quantities of waste material that contain environmentally hazardous contaminants such as cadmium, lead, and zinc. Much of this material has been discharged directly to or washed into...
Characterizing toxicity of metal‐contaminated sediments from the Upper Columbia River, Washington, USA, to benthic invertebrates
Sediments from the Upper Columbia River, Washington, USA, are contaminated with metals from smelting operations. We conducted short‐term and long‐term tests with the midge Chironomus dilutus and the amphipod Hyalella azteca and short‐term tests with the freshwater mussel Lampsilis siliquoidea with 54 sediments from...Besser, John M.; Steevens, Jeffery; Kunz, James L.; Brumbaugh, William G.; Ingersoll, Christopher G.; Cox, Stephen E.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Balistrieri, Laurie S.; Sinclair, Jesse A.; MacDonald, Donald D.
Understanding the captivity effect on invertebrate communities transplanted into an experimental stream laboratory
Little is known about how design and testing methodologies affect the macroinvertebrate communities that are held captive in mesocosms. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a 32‐d test to determine how seeded invertebrate communities changed once removed from the natural stream and introduced to the laboratory. We evaluated larvae survival...Schmidt, Travis S.; Rogers, Holly; Miller, Janet L.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Balistrieri, Laurie S.
Mercury concentrations in water and mercury and selenium concentrations in fish from Brownlee Reservoir and selected sites in the Boise and Snake Rivers, Idaho and Oregon, 2013-17
Mercury (Hg) analyses were conducted on samples of water and sport fish collected from selected sampling sites in the Boise and Snake Rivers and Brownlee Reservoir, in Idaho and Oregon, to meet National Pollution Discharge and Elimination System permit requirements for the City of Boise, Idaho, from 2013 to 2017. City of Boise personnel collected...MacCoy, Dorene E.; Mebane, Christopher A.
Potential toxicity of dissolved metal mixtures (Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn) to early life stage white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the Upper Columbia River, Washington, United States
The Upper Columbia River (UCR) received historical releases of smelter waste resulting in elevated metal concentrations in downstream sediments. Newly hatched white sturgeon hide within the rocky substrate at the sediment–water interface in the UCR for a few weeks before swim-up. Hiding behavior could expose them to metal contaminants, and metal...Balistrieri, Laurie S.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Cox, Stephen E.; Puglis, Holly J.; Calfee, Robin D.; Wang, Ning
Spatial and temporal trends in selenium in the upper Blackfoot River watershed, southeastern Idaho, 2001–16
Phosphate mining in southeastern Idaho has been an important economic driver for the region and State for over 100 years, but weathering of mining waste rock has also released selenium into the Blackfoot River. This report analyzes and presents data from three separate but complementary studies monitoring selenium in streams in the region. The U.S...Zinsser, Lauren M.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Mladenka, Greg C.; Van Every, Lynn R.; Williams, Marshall L.
Understanding the influence of nutrients on stream ecosystems in agricultural landscapes
Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together,...Munn, Mark D.; Frey, Jeffrey W.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Black, Robert W.; Duff, John H.; Lee, Kathy E.; Maret, Terry R.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Waite, Ian R.; Zelt, Ronald B.
A long-term copper exposure in a freshwater ecosystem using lotic mesocosms: Invertebrate community responses
A lotic mesocosm study was carried out in 20-m-long channels, under continuous, environmentally realistic concentrations of copper (Cu) in low, medium, and high exposures (nominally 0, 5, 25, and 75 μg L−1; average effective concentrations <0.5, 4, 20, and 57 μg L−1 respectively) for 18 mo. Total abundance, taxa richness, and community...Joachim, Sandrine; Roussel, Hélène; Bonzom, Jean-Marc; Thybaud, Eric; Mebane, Christopher A.; Brink, Paul Van den; Gauthier, Laury
Larval aquatic insect responses to cadmium and zinc in experimental streams
To evaluate the risks of metal mixture effects to natural stream communities under ecologically relevant conditions, the authors conducted 30-d tests with benthic macroinvertebrates exposed to cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in experimental streams. The simultaneous exposures were with Cd and Zn singly and with Cd+Zn mixtures at environmentally...Mebane, Christopher A.; Schmidt, Travis S.; Balistrieri, Laurie S.
Potential sources of analytical bias and error in selected trace element data-quality analyses
Potential sources of analytical bias and error associated with laboratory analyses for selected trace elements where concentrations were greater in filtered samples than in paired unfiltered samples were evaluated by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Quality Specialists in collaboration with the USGS National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL) and...Paul, Angela P.; Garbarino, John R.; Olsen, Lisa D.; Rosen, Michael R.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Struzeski, Tedmund M.
Environmental toxicology without chemistry and publications without discourse: Linked impediments to better science
No abstract available.Mebane, Christopher A.; Meyer, Joseph S.
Quantifying fish swimming behavior in response to acute exposure of aqueous copper using computer assisted video and digital image analysis
Behavioral responses of aquatic organisms to environmental contaminants can be precursors of other effects such as survival, growth, or reproduction. However, these responses may be subtle, and measurement can be challenging. Using juvenile white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) with copper exposures, this paper illustrates techniques used for...Calfee, Robin D.; Puglis, Holly J.; Little, Edward E.; Brumbaugh, William G.; Mebane, Christopher A.
In Response: Biological arguments for selecting effect sizes in ecotoxicological testing—A governmental perspective
Criticisms of the uses of the no-observed-effect concentration (NOEC) and the lowest-observed-effect concentration (LOEC) and more generally the entire null hypothesis statistical testing scheme are hardly new or unique to the field of ecotoxicology [1-4]. Among the criticisms of NOECs and LOECs is that statistically similar LOECs (in terms of...Mebane, Christopher A.