Pharmaceutical and personal care products as agents of ecological change in urban streams

2014 Fall Cyberseminar Series

Emma Rosi-Marshall / Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Talk Description:

Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are now known to be ubiquitous in surface waters throughout the world. Their presence in aquatic ecosystems is an emerging concern for aquatic ecologists and the public. I will discuss the extent to which these novel contaminants occur in surface waters and will discuss the range of compounds present from antibiotics to illicit drugs. I will discuss various scales of inquiry that can be employed to measure the effects of PPCPs on aquatic ecosystem structure and function. Finally, I will review recent research that demonstrates the effects of these compounds on aquatic ecosystems. For example, recent data indicates that primary production and respiration of stream biofilms is sensitive to common PPCPs (caffeine, cimetidine, ciprofloxacin, diphenhydramine, metformin, ranitidine and a mixture of each). In addition, data demonstrate that the responses to PPCPs is variable across land use gradients with urban stream microbial function less sensitive to exposure to PPCPs than forested streams. New research also demonstrates that aquatic organisms may be developing resistance to these compounds and widespread occurrence of PPCPs may lead to altered microbial communities with potential consequences for ecosystem function. This talk will provide an update on the current understanding and highlight the opportunities for future aquatic ecology research.

CUAHSI's Fall 2014 Cyberseminar Series on Sustainable Urban Streams— Science to Support Evolving Management Objectives!

The management of urban streams and rivers has historically emphasized two critical ecosystem services: stormwater conveyance (flood protection) and wastewater disposal. Maximizing these services has generally resulted in major alteration of aquatic ecosystem structure and function, and reduced provision of other ecosystem services, such as aesthetics, recreation, food and biodiversity. Recent decades have seen a renewed appreciation of the value of these other services, an improved understanding of the processes by which streams are altered, and the development of engineering and design practices to manage these processes in ways that can provide multiple services.   

Hosted by Seth Wenger, Director of Science of the River Basin Center at the University of Georgia