Fish exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2) in a laboratory have been found to pass adverse reproductive effects onto their offspring up to three generations later, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Missouri.
Aquatic environments are the ultimate reservoirs for many contaminants, including chemicals that mimic the functions of natural hormones. Fish and other aquatic organisms often have the greatest exposures to such chemicals during critical periods in development or even entire life cycles.
Scientists exposed fish to either BPA or EE2 for one week during embryonic development, while subsequent generations were never exposed. Future generations showed a reduced rate of fertilization and increased embryo mortality. The full study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is available online.
“This study shows that even though endocrine disruptors may not affect the life of the exposed fish, it may negatively affect future generations,” said USGS visiting scientist and University of Missouri Assistant Research Professor, Ramji Bhandari. “This is the first step in understanding how endocrine disruptors affect future generations, and more studies are needed to determine what happens in the natural environment.”
There were no apparent reproductive abnormalities in the first two generations of fish, except for two instances of male to female sex reversal in adults of the EE2 exposed generation. Findings show a 30 percent decrease in the fertilization rate of fish two generations after exposure, and a 20 percent reduction after three generations. If those trends continued, the potential for declines in overall population numbers might be expected in future generations. These adverse outcomes, if shown in natural populations, could have negative impacts on fish inhabiting contaminated aquatic environments.
This study examined concentrations of EE2 and BPA that are not expected to be found in most environmental situations. However, concerns remain about the possibility of passing on adverse reproductive effects to future generations at lower levels. At this time, the ability to evaluate mixtures of estrogenic chemicals working jointly is limited.
The scientists studied BPA and EE2 because they are chemicals of environmental concern and represent different classes of endocrine disrupters. BPA is a chemical used primarily to manufacture polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, but is also an additive in other consumer products. Due to extensive use of these products in daily human life, the accumulation of BPA-containing waste in the environment has been a serious concern and a potential threat to public and wildlife health. EE2 is used in oral contraceptives designed for women, and about 16 – 68 percent of each dose is excreted from the body. As a result, EE2 has been found in aquatic environments downstream of wastewater treatment plants.
For more information on endocrine disruptors visit the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center web page.
CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) funds in the amount of $921,790 to the village of Valley View, Ohio, and $224,670 to Medina County, Ohio, for the mitigation of flood prone residential structures. The Medina County funding will be used to acquire and demolish one structure in the floodplain of the Rocky River.Language English
EATONTOWN, N.J. – Gloucester County residents and property owners will be able ask questions and obtain information on their property’s flood hazard risk at an Open House scheduled to take place in Paulsboro on Thursday, March 26 at the Paulsboro Fire House, 1502 Swedesboro Ave. from 4 to 8 p.m.Language English
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – – Nearly 80 percent of radio-tracked marsh rabbits that died in Everglades National Park in a recent study were eaten by Burmese pythons, according to a new publication by University of Florida and U.S. Geological Survey researchers.
A year later, there was no sign of a rabbit population in the study area. The study demonstrates that Burmese pythons are now the dominant predator of marsh rabbits, and likely other mid-sized animals in the park, potentially upsetting the balance of a valuable ecosystem.
The study provides the first empirical evidence that the Burmese python caused reductions in marsh rabbit populations in the park, supporting previous studies that suggested pythons were a significant factor in declines of many other mid-sized mammals since becoming established there a few decades ago.
The estimated tens of thousands of Burmese pythons now populating the greater Everglades present a low risk to people in the park, according to previous research by USGS and NPS.
Scientists know that invasive pythons prey on native Everglades mammals, but they didn’t have experimental evidence that pythons could cause population declines or local extinction of mammals, said Robert McCleery, a UF assistant professor in wildlife ecology and conservation who led the study.
While a 2012 study showed that as pythons were proliferating, mammals were declining, it did not directly link the two phenomena. “This study does just that,” said Bob Reed, a USGS research herpetologist and study co-author.
“Mammals play an important role in the Everglades ecosystem, and so recovery of mammal populations is closely tied with recovering the overall health and functionality of this ecosystem,” McCleery said.
In most Florida wetlands, it’s easy to detect marsh rabbit populations by searching for their scat, but the researchers could not find evidence of rabbits in the parts of Everglades National Park they studied during intensive surveys prior to conducting their experiment.
In 2012, a group of scientists that included researchers from Davidson College, USGS and UF compared data on mammal populations from the 1990s – before pythons became widespread in Everglades National Park ─ to results of population surveys conducted between 2003 and 2011. The 2012 study found that significant mammalian population declines coincided in space and time with the proliferation of invasive pythons in the Everglades.
“Previous studies implicated pythons in mammal declines in the Everglades, but those studies were largely correlative,” said Reed. “This new study moves us from correlation to causation in terms of the impact of invasive pythons on native mammals.”
To conduct the most recent study, researchers found areas outside of the park that supported large and healthy populations of marsh rabbits. They moved 31 marsh rabbits into select areas in the park in two experimental populations. They also put 15 rabbits in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, and captured, collared and released another 49 in Fakahatchee Strand State Park, where they knew there would be few, if any, pythons ─ and used those as control sites. All of the rabbits were equipped with radio-collars so that they could be regularly located.
The researchers radio-tracked the rabbits and found that 77 percent of those that died in the Everglades were eaten by Burmese pythons, and that there was no sign of a rabbit population in the areas where they released them in the park one year later. On the other hand, rabbits remained common at the control site after the experiment. Many animals eat marsh rabbits, but outside the park, they’re most often the victims of bobcats and coyotes.
Furthermore, the warmer and wetter the weather, the more rabbits were consumed by pythons in the park. The researchers suggested this may be because higher water levels allow the pythons to easily swim long distances while searching for food and because they feed more frequently when it’s hot.
Scientists chose to study the pythons’ impacts on marsh rabbit populations because the high reproductive rates of rabbits mean that their populations are typically resilient to predators, McCleery said. The conclusion that pythons are capable of eliminating marsh rabbit populations in Everglades National Park led the authors to suggest that the observed declines in other mid-sized mammal species in the park could also be due to predation by pythons.
The study was published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Academy B. McCleery’s co-authors include UF graduate student Adia Sovie, as well as Robert Reed, Kristen Hart and Margaret Hunter, all research wildlife biologists with the USGS.
Lower interest rate, longer repayment terms offered by DNREC, Public Health for clean water and drinking water projects
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $1,050,990 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to the village of Glenwood, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of nine residential structures in the Thorn Creek floodplain.
EATONTOWN, NJ – Camden County residents and property owners will be able ask questions and obtain information on their property’s flood hazard risk at an Open House scheduled to take place in Pennsauken Township on Wednesday, March 25 at the Camden County Boathouse , 7050 North Park Drive from 4 to 8 p.m.Language English
DENTON, Texas – The state of Texas has received more than $1.1 million for repairs to roads and other facilities in the aftermath of the 2013 Halloween flooding.
Overflow from Onion Creek damaged Falwell Lane in Austin, washing away parts of the asphalt road, shoulders and slope embankments and other infrastructure at seven different locations.
DENTON, Texas – The state of Louisiana recently received more than $5.5 million for repairs and reimbursements following Hurricane Isaac in 2012 and the flooding of 2013.
Hurricane Isaac caused widespread damage across South Louisiana. The funding made possible by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance program covers repairs to a number of facilities, as well as reimbursement for emergency operations in multiple parishes including:
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released $2,781,435 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to DuPage County, Ill., for the acquisition and demolition of 13 residential structures in the Winfield Creek, Salt Creek and East Branch DuPage River floodplains.
DENVER – The FEMA temporary housing mission serving Colorado came to a close March 14, 2015. In the aftermath of the 2013 Colorado flooding, FEMA brought in more than 50 manufactured homes to areas where a severe housing shortage was identified. In the past month, the final few remaining households have been moving out of the FEMA units.Language English
Thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline—most areas never seen before—are now available and easily accessible online. This is critical for coastal managers to make important decisions, ranging from protecting habitats to understanding hazards and managing land use.
Imagery is available through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal.
This USGS portal is unique, due to the sheer quantity and quality of data presented. It is the largest database of its kind, providing detailed and fine-scale representations of the coast. The "geospatial context" is also unique, with maps displaying imagery in the exact location where it was recorded.
Prior to development of the data portal, retrieving this imagery required internal USGS access with specific hardware and software. It was difficult to manage and challenging to share such a large amount of information.
"The USGS has been dedicated to developing a system that allows for convenient communication internally as well as to outside collaborators and the public to access our abundance of coastal and seafloor imagery," said USGS geographer Nadine Golden, who is the Lead Principal Investigator for the USGS portal. "The portal makes it easy for users to discover, obtain and disseminate information."
This portal contains coverage of the seafloor off California and Massachusetts, and aerial imagery of the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic coasts. Additional video and photographs will be added as they are collected, and archived imagery will also be incorporated soon. Areas of future focus include data sets for Washington State’s Puget Sound, Hawaii and the Arctic.
"As part of an ongoing seafloor mapping partnership, Massachusetts has worked with the USGS Woods Hole Science Center to map more than 850 square miles of marine waters and collect extensive video footage and photographs of the seafloor," said Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Director Bruce Carlisle. "The Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal is a great resource, providing direct and easy access to this imagery. It will support several key elements of the recently updated Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, including habitat characterization and the review of ocean development projects under the plan."
Information in this portal helps create coastal maps and representations of seafloor composition and habitats. It provides references for short- and long-term monitoring of changes to the coast, whether from anthropogenic modifications or natural occurrences. Hurricanes and extreme storms are of particular concern, and USGS imagery helps managers, emergency responders and researchers understand circumstances before, during and after such events. Other critical hazards include coastal flooding and sea-level rise, as well as assessments for earthquake and tsunami awareness.
Data also support coastal and marine spatial planning, including evaluation of sites for renewable ocean energy facilities as well as the development of communities and infrastructure. USGS science helps designate marine protected areas, define habitats, identify needs for ecosystem restoration, and inform regional sediment management decisions.
In total, approximately 100,000 photographs and have been collected as well as 1,000 hours of trackline video covering almost 2,000 miles of coastline. Imagery was taken by video and still cameras towed by boat or from aerial flights.
This effort supports the National Ocean Policy mandate to provide access to federal data resources.
How does it work? Start with the tutorial and then dive in!
In 2013, a successful video and photograph pilot interactive website was launched for the California Seafloor Mapping Program, and this helped build the newly released portal.
Also, check out a new crowdsourcing application called, "USGS iCoast – Did the Coast Change?" This application allows citizen scientists to identify changes to the coast by comparing aerial photographs taken before and after storms.
Learn more about USGS science by visiting the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program website.Screenshot from the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal. Zooming into an area of interest reveals lines where continuous video footage was acquired and dots where still photographs were taken. Clicking on a segment launches the video in a pop-up window. Photographs appear beside the video, changing as the video passes each point where a photograph was taken. (High resolution image)