The primary focus of research in my laboratory is a high impact program that delivers objective, science-based information to federal and state natural resource management agencies and to other policy or decision makers for effectively informing conservation, management, and recovery of imperiled, threatened, or endangered species of native freshwater mussels and fish. My research interests within this realm are in aquatic toxicology, ecology, and physiology, as well as in the transport, fate, and effects of aquatic pollutants and other human-mediated stressors. This research utilizes sentinel aquatic organisms, biomarkers of exposure, effect, or susceptibility, or alternative toxicological models from which linkages to environmental and human health are evaluated. Major areas of research include: 1) assessment of pesticides, persistent organochlorine contaminants, and metals in surface waters, 2) effects of waterborne and sediment-associated contaminants on fish and native mussels in inland waterways, 3) efficacy of constructed wetlands and other Best Management Practices (BMPs) for reducing non-point source pollution from urban (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and agricultural (e.g., nutrients) watersheds, and 4) the effects of contaminant availability and cycling on threatened and endangered species of mussels and fish.
Mosher, S., W. G. Cope, F. X. Weber, D. Shea, and T. J. Kwak. 2011. Effects of lead on Na+,K+-ATPase and hemolymph ion concentrations in the freshwater mussel Elliptio complanata. Environmental Toxicology. 26:in press.
Cope, W. G., F. M. Holliman, T. J. Kwak, N. C. Oakley, P. R. Lazaro, D. Shea, T. Augspurger, J. M. Law, J. P. Henne, and K. M. Ware. 2011. Assessing water quality suitability for shortnose sturgeon in the Roanoke River, North Carolina, USA with an in situ bioassay approach. Journal of Applied Ichthyology. 27(1):1-12.
Sackett, D. K., D. D. Aday, J. A. Rice, W. G. Cope, and D. B. Buchwalter. 2010. Does proximity to coal-fired power plants influence fish tissue mercury? Ecotoxicology. 19(8):1601-1611.
Pandolfo, T. J., W. G. Cope, C. Arellano, R. B. Bringolf, M. C. Barnhart, and E. Hammer. 2010. Upper thermal tolerances of early life stages of freshwater mussels. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. 29(3):959-969.
Bringolf, R. B., R. M. Heltsley, T. J. Newton, C. B. Eads, S. J. Fraley, D. Shea, and W. G. Cope. 2010. Environmental occurrence and reproductive effects of the pharmaceutical fluoxetine in native freshwater mussels. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 29(6):1311-1318.