.|  Baltimore Ecosystem Study
Stream and Watershed Research Projects

Examining effects of contaminants of emerging concern in BES streams
  • Emma Rosi, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), including caffeine, antimicrobials, antibiotics, antihistamines, mood stabilizers and painkillers have been detected in surface waters throughout the world (Kolpin et al. 2002). Most of these compounds are targeted for human or veterinary uses, but may influence many other organisms. For example, our previous research demonstrates that antihistamines can influence invertebrate growth rates and population dynamics (Hoppe et al, 2012). We are currently conducting an assessment of the occurrence and effects of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in BES streams.
Our recent findings in BES streams indicate that pharmaceuticals and personal care products, including illicit drugs, are present in Baltimore streams (Table 1, Rosi et al. unpublished) with higher concentrations present in more urban streams. In addition, previous research demonstrates that PPCPs have the potential to influence ecosystem function and are an opportunity for new research in aquatic ecology (Rosi and Royer 2012). Finally, our data demonstrate that some of these drugs have influence the both structure and function of these ecosystems (Rosi et al, 2013) and their influence can be dependent on extent of urbanization (likely due to prior exposure) in a watershed.

Figure 1. Concentrations of PPCPs in two BES streams. Concentrations are in ng/L. Data are provisional and subject to change.

Literature Cited:
Drury, Bradley, John Scott, Emma J. Rosi, and John J. Kelly. 2013. Triclosan exposure increases triclosan resistance and alters taxonomic composition of benthic bacterial communities. Environmental Science and Technology 47, 8923-8930. dx.doi.org/10.1021/es401919k.
Hoppe, P.D. E.J. Rosi, H. A. Bechtold. 2012. The antihistamine cimetidine alters invertebrate growth and population dynamics in artificial streams. Freshwater Science 31(2):379-388.
Kolpin DW, Furlong ET, Meyer MT, Thurman EM, Zaugg SD, Barber LB, Buxton HT. 2002. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in US streams, 1999-2000: A national reconnaissance. Environmental Science & Technology 36: 1202-1211.
Rosi, E.J. and T.V. Royer. 2012. Pharmaceutical compounds and ecosystem function: an emerging research challenge for aquatic ecologists. Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-012-9553-z.
Rosi, E. J., D.Kincaid, H.A. Bechtold, T. V. Royer, M.Rojas and J. J. Kelly. 2013. Pharmaceuticals suppress algal growth and microbial respiration and alter bacterial communities of stream biofilms. Ecological Applications 23: 583593..