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Pesticide Investigations

A Pacific Chorus frog in meadow located in Yosemite National Park.
USGS scientists found pesticides in amphibians such as this Pacific Chorus frog. The fog was found in meadow located in Yosemite National Park. Photo credit: Devin Edmonds, USGS.

USGS scientist collecting water samples from a pond.
USGS scientist collecting water samples from an amphibian monitoring site in Livermore, California. USGS scientists found pesticides in frogs from remote areas in California. Photo credit: James Orlando, USGS.

USGS scientists installing passive sediment samplers in an irrigation ditch.
USGS scientists installing passive sediment samplers in an irrigation ditch near Hancock, Wisconsin. The samplers are designed to collect suspended sediment from streams over a 3-week period, and were used during a study of the occurrence of fungicides in streams and groundwater. Photo credit: Timothy Reilly, USGS.

Mill Creek in Salt Lake City Utah
Contamination and toxicity in streambed sediments caused by pyrethroid insecticides generally increased with the degree of urbanization in this stream (Mill Creek in Salt Lake City, Utah) and six other metropolitan areas across the Nation. Photo credit: Alan Cressler, USGS.

USGS scientist working with a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer.
USGS scientist uses a very sensitive instrument to measure concentrations of pyrethroid insecticides in sediments. By comparing chemical concentrations to toxicity measured in laboratory tests, USGS scientists can show that pyrethroids are likely a major cause of the observed toxicity in streams.

Estimated annual use rate and the maximum observed concentration of the fungicide azoxystrobin.
Estimated 2002 annual use rate for the fungicide azoxystrobin, and the maximum observed concentration of azoxystrobin in stream-water samples collected in 2005 and 2006.

The 2002 average annual agricultural use of chlorothalonil in the southeastern United Sates.
The 2002 average annual agricultural use of chlorothalonil in the southeastern United Sates (based on National 2002 Pesticide Use Maps). Chlorothalonil is an agricultural fungicide widely used on peanuts, potatoes, and other crops.

USGS scientist holding the shore crab, Hemigrapsus oregonensis, Bodega Bay, Calif.
The shore crab, Hemigrapsus oregonensis, collected from a rocky cove near Bodega Bay, California. These crabs are reproductively active during the summer months and carry hundreds of embryos under their carapace until hatching occurs. Scientists found crab embryos from the bay's salt marsh with accumulations of mixtures of currently used and discontinued pesticides.

USGS scientist collecting sand crabs from an estuary near Richmond, Calif.
USGS scientist collecting sand crabs for analysis from an urban estuary near Richmond, California. Crabs utilize these rocky intertidal areas as breeding grounds. Scientists detected pyrethroid insecticides as well as 21 other pesticides, including DDT, in crab embryos.

Crop duster applying fungicides to a soybean field - credit Dana Kolpin, USGS
Aerial spraying of fungicides on row crops in Iowa. A soybean field is in the foreground, and a cornfield is in the background. The soybean crop is the target of the aerial application. Fungicides are used to combat soybean rust, a fungal disease, and have been detected in streams in areas of application.

USGS scientist lifting a filter caked with sediment that's on top of a filter plate.
USGS scientist lifting a filter caked with sediment that's on top of a filter plate used for filtering suspended sediment from water samples. The filter was saved for later analysis for pyrethroid insecticides in the sediment. USGS scientists have developed a method to determine the concentration of a suite of pyrethroid insecticides absorbed to sediment particles.

USGS scientist operating a combination gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer.
USGS scientists have developed a method to detect chlorothalonil (a fungicide) and three of its environmental degradates in sediment and soil. After the target compounds are extracted from the sediment the samples are analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Chlorothalonil is widely used on peanut crops.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 12-Nov-2013 15:38:24 EST