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Contaminant Biology Program



American Wood Stork, (Mycteria americana) - click to enlarge Environmental contaminants (EC) are one of many stressors impacting ecosystems. Environmental contaminants originate from a variety of human activities including industry, energy production, agriculture, transportation, recreation, wastewater treatment, and urban horticulture. The magnitude of that contamination may range from the apparently innocuous such as pesticide runoff from lawns and gardens to the extreme such as hazardous waste from affected sites (Superfund sites). Adverse environmental effects may result from exposure to these ECs, ranging from sub-lethal toxicity (immunosuppression, altered reproduction) and mortality at the individual scale, to changes in species abundance or diversity at the population and community scales. The Department of the Interior (DOI) is committed to protecting our natural landscapes and trust resources from environmental contamination by supporting interagency research at the USGS Contaminant Biology Program in Gainesville.

outdoor mesocosms Research assistance and laboratory facilities at SESC enable DOI scientists and their partners to conduct aquatic studies at a variety of scales. Two indoor wet laboratories (3,500 square feet each) are available for dose response studies that can be used to evaluate EC toxicity to individual organisms. Numerous small scale (200 to 1,000 gallons) and large scale outdoor (0.1 to 1-acre) mesocosms are available and can be used to evaluate EC impacts to aquatic communities. The ability to conduct large-scale field studies in both shallow and deep-water systems is encouraged as the facility provides the necessary field equipment such as airboats, shock boats, and deep-water boats. Situated in north-central Florida, the Contaminants Biology Program in Gainesville is strategically located and ably equipped to serve the needs of agencies in the southeastern United States.


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