Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012NE227B

Developing a two-tier screen to evaluate the health of Nebraska's wetlands

Institute: Nebraska
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,000

Principal Investigators: Alan Kolok, Craig Allen, Paul Davis

Abstract: The primary objective of this project is to develop a two-tier screening tool that can be used to evaluate the contamination of small ephemeral wetlands in agricultural landscapes. In Nebraska as in other states, these wetlands may be numerous and difficult to assess. In the summer of 2012,over 100 wetlands will be assessed throughout Nebraska. Initial screening will evaluate whether or not these wetlands contain the herbicide atrazine at concentrations that exceed the US EPA safe drinking water standard of 3 ppb. As part of the second tier of the screening, nothern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) will be collected at a subset of the wetlands. Current efforts are underway to develop biomarkers of exposure in R. pipiens, focusing on gene expression as related to steroidogenesis. It is our contention that there will be a strong relationship between the presence of atrazine in the ephemeral wetlands and alterations within the steroidogenic pathway of these frogs. If effective, the two-tier screening tool will provide a model that can be applied to ephemeral wetlands throughout the United States.