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Sustainable Human and Ecological Development (SHED)

Effects of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products on Ecosystem Function

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) make their way into natural water bodies through a variety of different pathways, including wastewater effluent, leaky septic tanks, manufacturing waste, and runoff from livestock feeding operations. Regardless of how these anthropogenic contaminants enter aquatic ecosystems, once they are there the entire aquatic biological community is affected. Previous work suggests that PPCPs can alter microbial community structure, but less is known about the response of biogeochemical functions (gross primary production, denitrification, nutrient uptake) to these novel contaminants. We are collaborating with colleagues from across the US to investigate how PPCPs alter a variety of structural and functional components of aquatic ecosystems.