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Environmental Toxicology

Researchers

Hal Caswell, Mark Hahn, Judy Mcdowell, John Stegeman

The ecological consequences of toxicants depend on how their effects on individual organisms are expressed at the level of the population. Demographic models provide a powerful tool for exploring these effects. Hal Caswell's group has studied this problem using matrix population models, addressing both the development of analytical methods (how to analyze experiments that measure the response of survival and reproduction to toxicants) and application of those methods to specific field and laboratory systems.

WHOI scientists are studying the impact of environmental contaminants on the health of marine organisms and ecosystems. Topics range from the ecology of coastal wetlands to physiological, biochemical, and molecular mechanisms of effects in vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Research in Mark Hahn's laboratory focuses on the halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (dioxins, PCBs) and on receptors such as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ah receptor) that mediate their action. Studies involve the characterization of receptor function in bony and cartilaginous fish, aquatic birds, and marine mammals.