Collaborations between the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, and St. Cloud State University over the past few years have yielded several important insights into the presence and biological effects of Contaminants of Emerging Concerns (CECs) in Great Lakes tributaries: complex mixtures of CECs are present in many stream reaches; biological effects consistent with the exposure to CECs are found in many stream reaches; and additional stressors impact aquatic species health in many Great Lakes tributaries. These findings provide impetus for further study to examine how CECs as environmental stressors may affect aquatic animal population health and to develop predictive models to identify stream reaches in Great Lakes tributaries that contain potent-enough CEC mixtures to affect aquatic animal population health.
To assess potential impacts of CECs as endocrine disruptors with a non-invasive method utilizing a species-specific nuclear receptor reporter gene assay, sequence information of transcriptomes in diverse species are critical components. Transcriptome analyses of diverse species using SMRT sequencing at the University of Minnesota Genomics Center will provide the sequence information so that these researchers can establish the species-specific receptor assays.