AJ Reisinger’s research focuses on how human activities affect levels of nutrients and other pollutants and impair the quality of soil and water. He is also interested in how pharmaceuticals and personal care products, as well as other emerging contaminants of concern, alter ecosystem functioning in urban environments.
Industry Expertise (3)
Fishery and Aquaculture
Areas of Expertise (6)
Wetlands and Aquatic Ecosystems
Soil, Water, and Aquifer Remediation
Nutrient, Pesticide and Waste Management
Media Appearances (6)
Shipyards Development; COVID Variants; Crayfish Study; What's Good Wednesdays
A new University of Florida study has found that traces of antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals, which are commonly found in bodies of water in Florida and around the globe, are altering the behavior of marine creatures like crayfish. The study looked at crayfish, and how the exposure to antidepressants affected their behavior. Some of the observed behavior included crayfish exhibiting more aggressive behavior when exposed to the antidepressant, and a change in attitude such as the crayfish becoming more bold. AJ Reisinger, Assistant Professor, at the University's Institute of Food and Agriculture, and lead author of the study, joined us to discuss it in more detail.
We pee or flush drugs into waterways—does that matter to aquatic life?
Ars Technica online
The data comes from A.J. Reisinger—assistant professor in the Soil and Water Sciences Department at the University of Florida—and his team, which traveled to the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in 2017. The facility has several artificial streams that mimic natural conditions but allow researchers to control different aspects of the environment. Reisinger's team went out into the field and collected rocks, bugs, leaves, and crayfish and put them into the artificial streams. Crayfish were chosen because they can reach high biomasses in aquatic ecosystems and will "eat anything they can get their claws on. They'll eat bugs, they'll eat algae, they'll eat leaves, they'll eat juvenile fish, even," Reisinger told Ars.
Antidepressants in Our Water Make Crayfish Go Buck Wild
There are trace amounts of many pharmaceuticals in bodies of water around the world, thanks to how humans metabolize our medicines and dispose of wastewater. “When you take a medication, nobody’s body is 100% efficient, so when we take a pill, we might only metabolize and actually use 90%, or 80%, or 70%,” said AJ Reisinger, an assistant professor at the University of Florida’s Soil and Water Sciences Department and lead author of the study. “Whatever is left over and not used by our body will be excreted directly into our toilets, flushed, then through a sewer and into a wastewater treatment plant—or, if the sewer line is leaking, directly into our groundwater.”
University of Florida professor thinks Piney Point Reservoir-like leak unlikely in Gainesville
ABC 20 WCJB online
Dr. AJ Reisinger, an assistant professor of Urban Soil and Water Sciences at UF, thinks that this wastewater could cause awful environmental effects in the bay. “And so the waters that they are pumping have really high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which have negative water quality implications for the bay due to potential for fueling red tide events as well as other algal growths and algal blooms and potential fish kills and human health implications,” said Reisinger.
An Urbanized Florida Means More Stormwater Ponds, Invasive Plants
Added study co-author AJ Reisinger: “What our work shows is that stormwater ponds have the potential to facilitate invasive plants by providing them a habitat to colonize in the middle of urban landscapes.”
Low dose, constant drip: Pharmaceutical and personal care pollution impacts aquatic life
To assess toxicity, chemical compounds are evaluated with an 'LC50' test. Organisms of a single species are exposed to increasingly high concentrations of a substance until 50% of the experimental 'population' dies. This concentration is used to set environmentally acceptable limits. "Single-organism lethality does not account for the diversity of species in nature, bioaccumulation, or non-lethal but disruptive impacts that compromise ecosystems," explains co-author A.J. Reisinger of the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Exposure to a common antidepressant alters crayfish behavior and has potential subsequent ecosystem impactsEcosphere
Alexander J. Reisinger, Lindsey S. Reisinger, Erinn K. Richmond and Emma J. Rosi
Pharmaceuticals are ubiquitous in aquatic environments, yet little is known regarding their impacts on ecological processes. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed human antidepressants and have been shown to alter crayfish behavior. These behavioral alterations are particularly relevant as crayfish play a central role in freshwater ecosystems and often reach high biomass in anthropogenically influenced environments commonly exposed to pharmaceutical contamination.
Evaluating Instream Restoration Effectiveness in Reducing Nitrogen Export from an Urban Catchment with a Data-Model ApproachJAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Laurence Lin, Alexander J Reisinger, Emma J Rosi, Peter M Groffman, Lawrence E Band
Urbanization increases stormwater runoff into streams, resulting in channel erosion, and increases in sediment and nutrient delivery to receiving water bodies. Stream restoration is widely used as a Best Management Practice to stabilize banks and reduce sediment and nutrient loads. While most instream nutrient retention measurements are often limited to low flow conditions, most of the nutrient load is mobilized at high stream flows in urban settings. We, therefore, use a process-based stream ecosystem model in conjunction with measurements at low flows and focus on estimation of stream nitrogen retention over the full streamflow distribution.
Water column contributions to the metabolism and nutrient dynamics of mid-sized riversBiogeochemistry
Alexander J Reisinger, et al.
Lotic and lentic ecosystems are traditionally viewed as dominated by either benthic or water column processes. However, mid-sized rivers represent a transition zone where both benthic and water column processes may both contribute substantially to ecosystem dynamics. Ecosystem processes such as gross primary production (GPP), ecosystem respiration (ER), or nutrient uptake, and the relative contribution of the water column to these processes at the reach scale, are poorly understood in non-wadeable, mid-sized rivers.
Vegetation management and benthic macroinvertebrate communities in urban stormwater ponds: implications for regional biodiversityUrban Ecosystems
James S. Sinclair, et al.
Designed ecosystems (e.g., gardens or engineered ponds) are increasingly common components of urban landscapes and contribute valuable ecosystem services. However, management of designed ecosystems is typically vegetation-centric and often does not consider associated fauna. Urban ponds typify this relationship as their vegetation is managed to improve ecosystem services, such as aesthetics and stormwater runoff mitigation, but it is unclear how pond management affects associated organisms.