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Your Environment. Your Health.

Ecological Risk: New Tools and Approaches

Superfund Research Program

The Superfund Research Program (SRP), in collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI), presents the Spring/Summer 2010 edition of Risk eLearning: "Ecological Risk: New Tools and Approaches." This series of online seminars will provide an introduction to tools and approaches being utilized by Superfund Research Program and EPA researchers to assess the hazards and/or exposures of toxic substances to ecological populations.

Session I: Assessing Ecological Risk of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: State-of-the-Science Approaches

April 22, 2010; 1:30 - 3:30 pm EDT
For an archive of this webinar please refer to EPA's
Clu-in Training & Events webpage

  • Moderator: Heather Henry, Program Administrator, Superfund Research Program
  • Presenter: Gary Ankley (67KB) , Toxicologist, USEPA/ORD Mid-Continent Ecology Division
  • Presenter: Nancy Denslow , Professor of Physiological Sciences, University of Florida

This seminar featured Dr. Gerald (Gary) Ankley (USEPA/ORD Mid-Continent Ecology Division) and Dr. Nancy Denslow (University of Florida). Dr. Ankley presentation "Assessing EDCs in the Field: New Approaches to Old Challenges", focused on the problems EDC present for ecological risk assessment and talked about the types of assessment tools needed and their potential applications. Dr. Denslow's presentation "Molecular Biomarkers and Omics Technologies in Risk Assessment", showed how molecular biomarkers and "omics" technologies could be useful in risk assessment, focusing on a Lake Apopka study of largemouth bass, fathead minnows, and organochlorine pesticides.

Session II: Using Ecological-Based Tools and Approaches to Assess Bioavailability

June 30, 2010; 1:30 - 3:30 pm EDT
For an archive of this webinar please refer to EPA's
Clu-in Training & Events webpage

  • Moderator: Charles Maurice, EPA Superfund and Technology Liaison, Region 5
  • Presenter: Kim Anderson , Professor, Oregon State University
  • Presenter: Celia Chen, Research Associate Professor, Dartmouth College

This seminar featured Dr. Kim Anderson, Professor, Oregon State University and Dr. Celia Chen, Research Associate Professor, Dartmouth College. Dr. Anderson's presentation "Biological Response Indicator Devices for Gauging Environmental Stressors (BRIDGES)", demonstrated the sensitivity of the BRIDGES bio-analytical tool for detecting spatially distinct toxicity in aquatic systems; bridging environmental exposure to biological response. Dr. Chen's presentation "Bioaccumulation and Trophic Transfer of Mercury in Aquatic Food Webs", covered work conducted in both freshwater and estuarine ecosystems through a combination of field and experimental studies that investigated the factors that influence the trophic transfer of methylmercury from the bottom of the food web up to fish that humans consume.

Session III: PAH and PCB Toxicity and Adaptation - Lessons Learned from Chronically Exposed Wild Populations

August 19, 2010; 2:00 - 4:00 pm EDT
For an archive of this webinar please refer to EPA's Clu-in Training & Events webpage

  • Moderator: Diane Nacci, Senior Research Biologist, EPA Office of Research and Development
  • Presenter: Mark E. Hahn , Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Presenter: Richard T Di Giulio, Director, Duke University's Integrated Toxicology Program

This seminar featured Dr. Mark E. Hahn of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Dr. Richard T. Di Giulio, Director of Duke University's Integrated Toxicology Program. Dr. Hahn described research to understand the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AHRs) and AHR variants in the mechanism of resistance to PCBs that has evolved in Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) inhabiting the New Bedford Harbor (MA) superfund site. Other studies that address the role of AHRs as biomarkers of susceptibility and resistance were discussed. Dr. Di Giulio described studies addressing mechanisms underlying the marked resistance to PAH toxicity displayed by a population of Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) inhabiting a PAH contaminated estuary adjacent to the Atlantic Woods Industries Superfund site in Virginia. These studies subsequently motivated additional studies that were described and examined the unanticipated phenomenon of synergistic toxicity between certain PAHs. These latter studies included both the killifish and the zebrafish as models.

Session IV: Biological-based Assays - Indicators of Ecological Stress

September 23rd, 2010; 2:00 - 4:00 pm EDT
For an archive of this webinar please refer to EPA's
Clu-in Training & Events webpage

  • Moderator: Beth Anderson, Program Analyst, Superfund Research Program
  • Presenter: Bruce Duncan, Senior Ecologist with EPA Region 10's Office of Environmental Assessment
  • Presenter: Jim Shine , Associate Professor of Aquatic Chemistry

This seminar featured Dr. Bruce Duncan, Senior Ecologist with EPA Region 10's Office of Environmental Assessment and SRP Grantee Dr. Jim Shine, Harvard University Associate Professor of Aquatic Chemistry. Dr. Duncan presented his work on evaluating organism exposures and biomarker response and bioaccumulation of PCBs and PAHs at the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund site in Seattle, WA. Special attention was given to contaminant flux at the sediment/water interface. Dr. Shine's presentation detailed an inexpensive, rapid, user friendly sampler to accurately quantify multiple free metal ion levels in mixtures within environmentally relevant concentration ranges utilizing a single test. The "Gellyfish" sampling tool is based on the equilibrium partitioning between free metal ions in the solution and iminodiacetate binding groups in the sampler.

For more information, contact:

Heather Henry, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator, Superfund Research Program
Tel 984-287-3268
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