Graduate student Abraham Smith studies the stressors on organisms in the environment and gives researchers a better understanding of ecotoxicology.
Under the Center for Aquatic Chemistry and the Environment program (CREST), Dr. Rand and Dr. Crowl conduct tests of chemical and temperature stressors such as UV light and copper.
Ecotoxicology is something people manipulate every day without knowing what it is.
“One of the newer studies in ecotox is called PPCPs, its pharmaceuticals and personal care products, so medications that a lot of people take like birth control medication, cholesterol medication, heart disease medication, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants,” Smith said.
Smith’s research partner is currently testing the effects of copper in Sailfin Mollies, a species of fish, to see how copper affects fish swimming patterns.
“These are the things that people ingest, and your body doesn’t use all of it or metabolites of those drugs that move through your body and when you excrete them it goes into our waste stream,” Smith said.
Smith says one of the main issues is the quality of the water treatment facilities and, he encourages those interested in aquatic scientific research, to join FIU’s CREST Program.