Superfund Research Program

An important feature of SRP is that it supports ecological research. The Program's broad mandates enable its investigators to conduct research that enhances our ability to assess or predict the damage that hazardous substances can cause to ecosystems. More so, SRP research has demonstrated that studying the effects from hazardous substances on ecosystems and wildlife can lead to an improved understanding of the impact of hazardous substances on human health. For example:

  • Killifish Provide Clues for Human Toxicant Susceptibility : Killifish populations have adapted to survive and reproduce in polluted waters. Researchers have studied the evolutionary and genetic basis for this adaptation, discovering that it comes with a cost. For more than two decades, the Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center and collaborators at Boston University have used these 2- 3-inch-long fish to understand the toxicity, mechanisms, and health effects of two groups of hazardous contaminants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
  • Wildlife Biomonitoring at Hazardous Waste Sites : SRP researchers have developed and applied biomarkers and analytical techniques to allow them to monitor the health of wildlife inhabiting hazardous waste sites. Their data provide important information about the bioavailability of contaminants at hazardous waste sites, supporting the design of appropriate remediation strategies.