Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Felicia Keesing

Project Advisor 2

Philip Johns

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Interactions between endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in contaminated aquatic environments have unknown effects on organisms inhabiting those environments. This study examines the interaction between 17α-ethinylestradiol and perchlorate, two EDCs found in contaminated aquatic environments, on zebrafish (Danio rerio). 17α-ethinylestradiol is a potent estrogen that controls reproductive development and physiology, and can be used to stimulate growth in livestock. Perchlorate is a thyroid-disrupting compound that can cause hypothyroidism— affecting development, growth, and metabolism. When studied together, the two chemicals may affect biological endpoints such as gross morphological defects, hatch rate, growth, and mortality differently. In the present study, zebrafish were exposed to two concentrations of 17α-ethinylestradiol (10 ng/L and 100 ng/L), two concentrations of perchlorate (10 ng/L and 1000 ng/L) and two mixtures of 17α-ethinylestradiol and perchlorate – high concentration (10 ng/L 17α-ethinylestradiol + 10 ng/L perchlorate) and low concentration (100 ng/L 17α-ethinylestradiol + 1000 ng/L perchlorate), lasting seven days post fertilization at which point fish were photographed and measured. Hatch rate, presence of morphological defects, and length were significantly affected by different treatments. Decreased mean length was detected in the low interaction treatment, and increased mean lengths were detected in high perchlorate, high estrogen, and high interaction treatments. An interaction effect was detected in length between perchlorate and the solvent control (5µL/L acetone), suggesting a complex relationship between pollutants in aquatic environments that should be further monitored through biological endpoints.

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