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EPA fellow studies effect of mercury in toads
Date:10/19/2009

Blacksburg, Va. Christine Bergeron of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, a doctoral student in Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources, received a fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Center for Environmental Research for her research on the reproductive success of American toads.

Bergeron's fellowship, part of the EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/), will support her research for the next three years. The highly competitive STAR fellowship encourages students to pursue advanced degrees and environmentally related careers by providing recipients with $111,000 over a three-year period for tuition, stipend, and research expenses. "I have been supported by teaching assistantships in the past, and the EPA STAR fellowship will allow me to concentrate on my research and conduct more studies than I had originally planned," Bergeron commented.

Bergeron's research (http://www.fishwild.vt.edu/Hopkins/CBergeron.htm) focuses on the effects of mercury on the reproductive success of adult American toads and development of their offspring from eggs through metamorphosis. "Christine's work is exciting because it combines two of the biggest conservation issues we face today global mercury pollution and the worldwide decline of amphibians. Her work will provide vital information that will influence public policy and conservation efforts for this critically endangered group of animals," said Bill Hopkins, fisheries and wildlife sciences associate professor and Bergeron's adviser.

Female amphibians, like other egg-laying wildlife, pass nutrients, hormones, and energy to their eggs to support the early development of their young. Unfortunately, females can accumulate contaminants in their tissues; when they reproduce, these contaminants are transferred to their eggs. Ber
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Contact: Lynn Davis
davisl@vt.edu
540-231-6157
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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