State Water Resources Research Institute Program (WRRI)

Details for Project ID 2014MD321G, 2014

Environmental Concentrations and Exposure Effects of Environmental Gestagens on a Sentinel Teleost Fish

Institute: Maryland
USGS Grant Number: G14AP00169
Start Date: 2014-09-01 End Date: 2017-08-31
Total Federal Funds: $238,055 Total Non-Federal Funds: $238,811

Principal Investigators: Edward Orlando, Michael Meyer, Patrick Phillips

Abstract: Securing the Nation’s water supply is paramount. Fish are sensitive indicator species for the effects of exposure to native and synthetic steroid hormones and other emerging contaminants in that water. There have been numerous reports of hormones and other emerging contaminants measured in surface waters and shallow ground water of the US, and these being associated with altered reproduction and development of fish and other aquatic organisms. While past research efforts have mostly focused on effects of estrogenic compounds on fish and wildlife, there are only a handful of studies measuring the source and concentration of these contaminants and their exposure effects and none have been conducted in the US. Gestagens have critically important roles in reproduction of all vertebrates. They are comprised of natural and synthetic contraceptive and hormone replacement pharmaceuticals, whose physiological functions are mediated through progesterone receptors. Gestagens enter the environment through wastewater treatment plant effluent and agricultural runoff. The objective of the proposed research is to characterize the number and concentration of gestagens in tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay and to document the exposure effects of gestagens on the reproductive health of the fathead minnow. This is crucial information for regulators of the quality of the Nation’s water supply and is currently underinvestigated in the US.