Blair with clam
Blair Paulik out in the field with the butter clams.

The Samish Indian Nation invited Blair Paulik (OSU SRP Project 4 Trainee) and Diana Rohlman (OSU SRP CEC Coordinator) to the 3rd annual Fidalgo Bay Science Conference on October 23, 2014.

Our SRP presented a poster highlighting the recent butter clam sampling performed with the Samish and Swinomish tribal communities. In addition, governmental agencies, university researchers, citizen scientists and Tribal scientists presented on restoration projects (Custom Plywood Mill), the surf smelt spawning study (Salish Sea Stewards) and the Samish Natural Resources Program projects (Current Projects).

Two Samish Tribal members opened the Fidalgo Bay Science Conference floor with song and traditional stories to explain the importance of a healthy environment.

Tribal events such as this give our SRP Trainees valuable professional development experiences, exposing them to the history and culture of our Tribal partners and ways to work successfully with them.

 

Poster Presentation:

Paulik LB, Rohlman D, Donatuto J, Woodward C, Kile M, Anderson KA, Harding A. Improving techniques for estimating butter clam (Saxidomus gigantean) contamination in the Salish Sea. Poster presented at: Fidalgo Bay Science Conference, hosted by the Samish Indian Nation; 2014 October 23; Anacortes, WA.

Butter Clam Sampling Process
Butter Clam Sampling Process

 

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Jill Schrlau, Trainee with Project 5

Jill Schrlau has been working as a Research Assistant since June 2009 in the lab of Dr. Staci Massey Simonich. She is now going back to school to be able to change careers from analytical chemistry to environmental engineering with a specific interest in remediation.

Jill  has two Bachelor degrees under her belt, and will soon have two Master’s degree.

BS in Chemistry from Florida International University (2004)
BS in Environmental Studies from Florida International University (2004)
MS in Chemistry from Oregon State University (2007)

Jill’s current MS research is on the degradation of PAHs in contaminated soil using four different cultures of aerobic microbial cultures.

Identification of degradation production products and their potential toxicity compared to the parent PAHs will fill knowledge gaps in the field of bioremediation of PAHs.

This project is a collaboration between Dr. Staci Massey Simonich in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and Dr. Lewis Semprini in the Department of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University.

Besides science, Jill enjoys gardening, ballroom/swing dancing, and traveling.

Dr. David Williams was recently awarded the PANWAT Achievement Award at the 2014 Pacific Northwest Association of Toxicologist Meeting in Bothell, Washington on September 19.Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 4.11.13 PM

Dr. Williams joined the faculty of the College of Agricultural Sciences in 1987 as an Assistant Professor, originally in Food Science and Technology, then transferring to the Department of environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

Over his 27 years on the faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Dave emerged as an outstanding scholar, instructor and leader. He has been instrumental in developing new research programs or initiatives, most recently by leading the development of the OSU Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center application. Dave has also played a major role in identifying new faculty candidates, directing recruitment and especially mentoring new faculty who have joined EMT.

David is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the fields of toxicology and carcinogenesis as evidenced by his role as peer reviewer for scientific manuscripts for many journals, especially through his leadership role as an Associate Editor of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology for 10 years (arguably the top ranked toxicology journal in the world), and for which he has managed over 220 manuscripts to date.

He has also served as an interim Department Head of EMT, Center Director of two NIEHS-funded centers (Director of both the Superfund Research Program and Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center at OSU). In addition, Dr. Williams has an outstanding record of leadership in the national scientific community, through his continuous participation as an invited reviewer by NIH in the peer review of research grant applications.

Two other faculty members of OSU Environmental and Molecular Toxicology have recently received this award ‐ Dr. Robert Tanguay in 2012 and Dr. Nancy Kerkvliet in 2011.

Hi, my name is Tod (with one “d”) Harper Jr, and I am recent transplant to Corvallis from Galveston, Texas.

While in Texas I earned a B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University @ Galveston and a PhD. in Pharmacology & Toxicology from The University of Texas Medical Branch. My dissertation project in the laboratory of Dr. Cornelis Elferink focused on identifying physiological functions of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor.

Tod enjoying his lobster!
Tod enjoying his lobster!

As a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon State University in Dr. David William’s laboratory (Project 1),  I am investigating the early mechanisms involved in cancer initiation after in utero exposure to the environmental contaminants. In addition, I am investigating how maternal consumption of dietary phytochemicals can protect the developing fetus from environmental insults in the womb.

When I am not in the laboratory I can most likely be found camping, trail running, eating oysters by the dozen, and/or enjoying one of Oregon’s fine craft brews!

 

Assessing Contaminants in Subsistence-Harvested Shellfish
with the Swinomish and Samish Indian Tribes

By Blair Paulik (Project 4 Trainee) and Diana Rohlman (CEC Program Coordinator)

On August 20, 2014, Researchers from the Oregon State University (OSU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) have collaborated with two northwestern Tribes, the Swinomish and the Samish, to analyze environmental samples for contaminants. The team worked with Dr. Jamie Donatuto, the Environmental Health Analyst for the Swinomish Tribe, and Christine Woodward, the Director of the Department of Natural Resources for the Samish Tribe, to identify Tribal concerns regarding pollution of butter clams (Saxidomus gigantean).

Shellfish beds in Fidalgo Bay are underused, given concerns regarding contamination from the two nearby oil refineries. The last sampling event in 2002 identified increased levels of toxics in butter clams at sites within Fidalgo Bay.

(August 10-12, 2014) OSU SRP researchers meet with Bill Bailey (far left) and Rosie James (second from left, front) of the Samish Indian Tribe to collect butter clams and place passive pore-water samplers.
(August 10-12, 2014) OSU SRP researchers meet with Bill Bailey (far left) and Rosie James (second from left, front) of the Samish Indian Tribe to collect butter clams and place passive pore-water samplers.

To continue this research, SRP visited four sites on Swinomish and Samish beaches within the Fidalgo and Similk Bay areas, collecting butter clams and deploying passive pore-water samplers in the sediment.

In addition to identifying what contaminants may be present in the butter clams, the research team also aims to identify a new testing method to reduce the amount of resident shellfish that are collected when environmental sampling is needed. The goal is to predict clam contamination using passive pore-water samplers.

If successful, this would enable researchers to determine shellfish contamination by putting out passive samplers instead of collecting clams. Using passive samplers is cheaper, faster, and less harmful to the local ecosystem than collecting resident organisms.

This work aims to provide important information regarding risk from consumption of butter clams, new methods for monitoring baselines trends of contaminants, and may inform novel sampling methods useful to Tribes and Superfund researchers around the country.

 

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(Above) A butter clam (Saxidomus gigantea) collected by the research team. At each site researchers collected five clams.

Where each clam was found, a passive pore-water sampler was placed (below).

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After four weeks, the samplers will be retrieved and analyzed. The chemical profile from the butter clam will be compared to the chemical profile of the passive sampler.

This work was conducted under Material and Data Sharing Agreements with both the Swinomish and Samish Tribes. All data generated from this study belongs to the Tribes. The Tribes must approve any use of the data or samples.

For more information: