Studying toxicity

Adria Elkus, Larry LeBlanc, Carol Kim, Rebecca Van Beneden, Gregory Mayer

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


With funding from the George Mitchell Center for the Environment at the University of Maine, a team of scientists used a simple laboratory-based sediment resuspension design, and two well-established aquatic toxicology models, fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) and zebrafish (Danio rerio), to evaluate if resuspension of Penobscot river sediment significantly elevates the toxicity of river water and to provide preliminary information on the types of chemicals likely to desorb during resuspension. The group collected sediments from two sites with known chemical contamination downstream of the Great Works and Veazie dams. The sediments were examined to determine the dynamics of PAH desorption and degradation under different resuspension frequencies. The scientists used clarified water from resuspension experiments for toxicity tests with the water-flea Ceriodaphnia dubia, and other aquatic test organisms to infer toxicity from sediments from northern California rivers. Data from the study will help ascertain whether metals and/or xenoestrogens are present in the desorption water and give insight into possible avenues of sediment remediation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationInternational Water Power and Dam Construction
StatePublished - Mar 2006


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