OU Research Team Finds a Common Bioindicator Used in Environmental Monitoring Programs Resistant to Insecticides
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jana Smith, Director, Strategic Communications for R&D, (405) 325-1322, email@example.com
NORMAN – In a novel study, a University of Oklahoma researcher and collaborators found a common bioindicator, Hyalella azteca, used to test the toxicity of water or sediment was resistant to insecticides used in agricultural areas of central California. The study is the first to demonstrate that the indicator species may adapt to polluted conditions of a habitat and become an entirely unreliable source of information about ecosystem health.
Gary Wellborn, professor of biology in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Oklahoma Biological Station; Donald P. Weston, University of California, Berkeley; and Helen C. Poyton, University of Massachusetts, Boston; tested cultures in the laboratory and water samples from California lakes, ponds and streams. The Hyalella amphipods are aquatic crustaceans commonly used by scientists and agencies as an indicator species of a healthy, unpolluted environment.
“Our study documented the specific genetic changes that allow the amphipods to survive at 500-times the normal lethal dose of the pesticide,” says Wellborn. “The results have far-reaching implications for biomonitoring programs that rely on H. azteca as a bioindicator. H. azteca, a species common across North America, may prove to be an unreliable indicator in other agricultural states where biomonitoring programs use H. azteca as a principal species for monitoring and environmental policy decisions.”
Insecticides for agricultural crops are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, but runoff during rains can enter a lake, pond or stream and contaminate a non-target species, like H. azteca. The evolution of H. azteca in this study occurred when the species mutated and adapted to the widely used pyrethroid insecticides—a principle known as adaptive evolution. As reported in this study, the resistant H. azteca was no longer reliable as a bioindicator when used to test the toxicity of water and sediment.
A technical article on this study was published in the October 8, 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For more information about this study, please contact Gary Wellborn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sabatini to Receive International Service Award
NORMAN — A University of Oklahoma professor, David A. Sabatini, has been selected to receive the 2017 International Association of Hydrogeologists, U.S. National Chapter’s International Service Award for his many years of promoting sustainable water resources projects in developing and impoverished countries, particularly through the creation of the OU Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center. Read More
Kelly Named Corix Chair and Director of the Corix Plains Institute
NORMAN — A University of Oklahoma professor, Jeffrey F. Kelly, has been named the inaugural Corix Chair and director of the Corix Plains Institute. Read More
OU Chrysanthemum Gardens in Full Bloom
NORMAN — Named among the nation’s 25 most beautiful college campuses, the University of Oklahoma attracts thousands of visitors each fall to view its outstanding chrysanthemum gardens. Read More
Deaton Designated as SRA International Distinguished Faculty
NORMAN —A University of Oklahoma administrator, Andrea Deaton, has been designated as a Society of Research Administrators International Distinguished Faculty by the SRA Board of Directors. Read More
OU Anthropologist Named to Science News' SN 10: Scientists to Watch
NORMAN — A University of Oklahoma anthropology professor, Christina Warinner, is featured in Science News’ SN10: Scientists to Watch—an annual list of 10 scientists making the next big discoveries. Read More