Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Ecotoxicology Research Areas


Dr. Nat Scholz
Program Manager
Staff Directory

Contaminants in Puget Sound

The Ecotoxicology Program has been actively engaged in research addressing impacts to Puget Sound fauna resulting from contaminant exposure for more than four decades. Puget Sound is a complex estuary with several relatively pristine areas and many that are contaminated as a result of wastewater treatment plants, industrial activity, runoff from impervious surfaces and other modified areas (e.g., farms, ranches, and logging), and chemical spills. The list of contaminants is diverse and includes a large number of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), industrial chemicals, metals, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and other difficult to classify chemicals.

Recent work involves studies on contaminants of emerging concern (CEC), which are chemicals with very little data on environmental occurrence and toxic effects. A further focus of our work is the monitoring of fish health prior and subsequent to various types of remediation efforts conducted at sites in Puget Sound (e.g. a Superfund site at Eagle Harbor near Winslow, WA). This research supports Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations, Natural Resources Damage Assessments (NRDA), and other risk assessments.

Program Contact

Lyndal Johnson retired in 2017, following 33 years of service to NOAA. For questions about this Research Area, please contact Nat Scholz.

Project Staff

Mary Arkoosh, Joe Dietrich, Lyndal Johnson, James Meador, Sean Sol, Maryjean Willis

NWFSC Co-Investigators

Gina Ylitalo, Environmental Assessment Program, Environmental and Fisheries Science Division


NOAA Fisheries Habitat Office
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site Washington State Department of Ecology
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site University of Tromsø (Norway)
The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10


Meador, J.P., Yeh, A., and Gallagher, E.P. 2018. Adverse metabolic effects in fish exposed to contaminants of emerging concern in the field and laboratory. Environmental Pollution, 236:850-861.

Meador, J.P., Yeh, A., and Gallagher, E.P. 2017. Determining potential adverse effects in marine fish exposed to pharmaceuticals and personal care products with the fish plasma model and whole-body tissue concentrations. Environmental Pollution, 230:1018-1029.

Yeh, A., Marcinek, D.J., Meador J.P., and Gallagher, E.P. 2017. Effect of contaminants of emerging concern on liver mitochondrial function in Chinook salmon. Aquatic Toxicology, 190:21-31.

Meador, J.P., A. Yeh, G. Young, E.P. Gallagher. 2016. Contaminants of emerging concern in a large temperate estuary. Environmental Pollution, 213:254-267.

Dietrich, J.P., Strickland, S.A., Hutchinson, G.P., Van Gaest, A.B., Krupkin, A.B., Ylitalo, G.M., and Arkoosh, M.R. 2015. Assimilation efficiency of PBDE congeners in Chinook salmon. Environmental Science and Technology, 49:693878-3886.

Meador, J.P. 2014. Do chemically contaminated river estuaries in Puget Sound (Washington, USA) affect the survival rate of hatchery-reared Chinook salmon? Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 71:162-180.

da Silva, D.A., Buzitis, J., Reichert, W.L., West, J.E., O'Neill, S.M., Johnson, L.L., Collier, T.K., and Ylitalo, G.M. 2013. Endocrine disrupting chemicals in fish bile: a rapid method of analysis using English sole (Parophrys vetulus) from Puget Sound, WA, USA. Chemosphere, 92:1550-1556.

Kelley, M.A., Gillespie, A., Zhou, G-D., Zhang S, Meador, J.P., Duncan, B., Donnelly, K.C., and McDonald, T.J. 2012. In situ biomonitoring of caged juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Lower Duwamish Waterway. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62:2520–2532.

Peck-Miller, K.A., Lomax, D.P., Olson, O.P., Sol, S.Y., Swanson, P., Johnson, L.L. 2011. Development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for quantifying vitellogenin in Pacific salmon and assessment of field exposure to environmental estrogens. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 30(2):477-486.

Brown, E., Kelley, M., Zhou G-D., Ling, Y.H., McDonald, T., Wang , S., Duncan, B., Meador, J.P., Donnelly, K., and Gallagher, E. 2010. In situ biomonitoring of juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) using biomarkers of chemical exposures and effects in an urbanized waterway of the Puget Sound, WA. Environmental Research 110:675-683.

Meador, J.P., Ylitalo, G.M., Sommers, F.C., and Boyd, D.T. 2010. Bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) outmigrating through a contaminated urban estuary. Dynamics and application. Ecotoxicology 19:141-152.

Olson, O.P., Johnson, L.L., Ylitalo, G.M., Rice, C.A., Cordell, J.R., Collier, T.K., Steger, J. 2008. Fish habitat use and chemical contaminant exposure at restoration sites in Commencement Bay, Washington. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo, NMFS-NWFSC-88, 117 pp.

Sol, S.Y., Johnson, L.L., Boyd, D., Olson, O.P., Lomax, D.P., Collier, T.K. 2008. Relationships between anthropogenic chemical contaminant exposure and associated changes in reproductive parameters in male English sole (Parophrys vetulus) collected from Hylebos Waterway, Puget Sound, Washington. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 55(4):627-638.

Myers, M.S., Anulacion, B.F., French, B.L., Reichert, W.L., Laetz, C.A., Buzitis, J., Olson, O.P., Sol, S.Y., Collier, T.K. 2008. Improved flatfish health following remediation of a PAH-contaminated site in Eagle Harbor, Washington. Aquatic Toxicology, 88(4):277-288.

Johnson, L.L., Arkoosh, M.R., Bravo, C.F., Collier, T.K., Krahn, M.M., Meador, J.P., Myers, M.S., Reichert, W.R., and Stein, J.E. 2008. The effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in fish from Puget Sound Washington. In: The Toxicology of Fishes. Di Giulio, R. and Hinton, D. (eds). CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, USA. Pp. 877-923.

Johnson, L.L., Lomax, D.P., Myers, M.S., Olson, O.P., Sol, S.Y., O'Neill, S.M., West, J.E., Collier, T.K. 2008. Xenoestrogen exposure and effects in English Sole (Parophrys vetulus) from Puget Sound, WA. Aquatic Toxicology, 88:2938.

Spromberg, J.A. and Meador, J.P. 2005. Population-level effects on Chinook salmon from chronic toxicity test measurement endpoints. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 1:9-21.

Arkoosh, M.R., Clemons, E., Kagley, A., Stafford, C., Glass, A., Jackson, K., Reno, P., Myers, M., Casillas, E., Johnson, L.L., Loge, F., and Collier, T.K. 2004. Survey of pathogens in juvenile salmon Onchorhynchus spp. migrating through Pacific Northwest estuaries. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 16:186-196.

Jacobson, K.C., Arkoosh, M.R., Kagley, A.N., Clemons, E.R., Collier, T.K., and Casillas, E. 2003. Cumulative effects of natural and anthropogenic stress on immune function and disease resistance in juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 15:1-12.

Myers, M.S., Johnson, L.L. and Collier, T.K. 2003. Establishing the causal relationship between polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure and hepatic neoplasms and neoplasia-related liver lesions in English sole (Pleuronectes vetulus). Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 9: 67-94.

  • Estrogenic compounds in Puget Sound English sole.
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