Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2015IN382B

Abundance and effects of pharmaceuticals on game fish in central Indiana

Institute: Indiana
Year Established: 2015 Start Date: 2015-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,000

Principal Investigators: Melody Bernot

Abstract: Persistence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the environment is an emerging concern worldwide due to potential human exposure and adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems. Research in central Indiana has documented that both human and veterinary PPCPs are ubiquitous in freshwaters though limited measurements of abundance of PPCPs in aquatic organisms have been conducted. Thus, bioaccumulation of PPCPs in fish and potential for human exposure via fish consumption is virtually unknown. Further, fish response to chronic PPCP exposure has not been measured to quantify the potential for adverse effects on aquatic communities. Proposed research will combine descriptive sampling of PPCP abundance in fish with in vitro experiments to measure fish bioaccumulation and response to these emerging contaminants. Research will be guided by two objectives: 1) Quantify PPCPs in tissues of central Indiana game fish. We will conduct fish surveys in tributaries to the Wabash River in summer 2015 for measurement of PPCP concentrations in game fish tissues including bluegill, bass, and catfish. Additionally, mesocosm experiments will quantify bioaccumulation of pharmaceuticals in a central Indiana aquatic food web. 2) Quantify fish response to chronic exposure of pharmaceutical mixtures. Fish response following exposure to mixtures of pharmaceutical compounds will be tested in laboratory experiments. Response will be measured as changes in behavior and growth rates resulting from chronic exposure to environmentally-relevant concentrations. Activities will provide novel data essential to regulation of these emerging contaminants in central Indiana in addition to disseminating knowledge gained to regional stakeholders and facilitating education of future water resource managers through immersive student-led research.