Collaboration on applied aquatic toxicology project results in publication


A research project studying the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in a local waterway was published in the journal Fishes. The project was spearheaded by undergraduate Julia McMahon (’14) and involved combining the research interests of Dr. Joseph Colosi (Professor Emeritus) and the Leese Lab. Dr. Colosi has long studied EDCs in the environment and the detrimental developmental and physiological effects they can have on aquatic life. In this study, Julia and Dr. Colosi measured estrogenicity levels in a stream above and below a local wastewater treatment plant and placed fish in those environments. Julia then brought some of those fish into the Leese Lab to study their behavior after a 3-week exposure. As described in the paper, a brief exposure to water downstream of the wastewater treatment plant brought about changes in behavior likely driven by estrogen-like compounds being released from the wastewater plant into the stream. Similar findings near wastewater treatment plants around the world suggest that action is needed to prevent these EDCs from affecting local aquatic life, as well as terrestrial animals (like humans) that get their drinking water from affected waterways.

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