Study Explores Link Between Forestry Management Practices and Pesticides in Aquatic Species

Pesticides used in forestry may threaten species in downstream rivers and estuaries, but little is known about the extent to which this occurs. A new study by researchers at Portland State University found mussels, clams and oysters in watersheds along the Oregon Coast are exposed to pesticides used in managing forests.


The results of this study, published in the journal Toxics, have implications for developing better forest management practices that are less likely to negatively affect aquatic life.

The study was led by Kaegan Scully-Engelmeyer, PhD student in the Earth, Environment and Society program at Portland State University, and Elise Granek, professor of Environmental Science and Management at Portland State University. Max Nielsen-Pincus, also faculty in Environmental Science and Management at Portland State University, and researchers at the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality also contributed to the study.

To explore how forest management practices affect downstream coastal ecosystems, Scully-Engelmeyer and Granek collected samples of three species of aquatic bivalves—the Western pearlshell mussel, softshell clam and Pacific oyster—at eight watersheds along the Oregon Coast. These organisms are good indicators of environmental contamination because they are sedentary filter feeders.

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