Shoemaker Toxicology Lab

The toxicology program at Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) has been in continuous operation since the mid-1970s actively supported during this time with grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements from state, federal, and local government agencies, academic institutions, and private industry. Research foci during this time have been in acute and chronic toxicological evaluations, exposure methods development, culture methods development, chemical fate and effects, toxicokinetics, organism development, growth and reproduction, enzyme activation, endocrine disruption, ecosystem health monitoring and assessment, environmental and human health risk assessment, toxic pathological responses, and carcinogenicity.

Central to the toxicology research program is the Shoemaker Toxicology Laboratory, a 12,000 square foot facility devoted entirely to animal husbandry and exposure activities. Approximately half of the space available in the Shoemaker Laboratory is utilized in animal production and maintenance with the remaining space utilized in the exposure and evaluation of test substance effects on test organisms. The culture facility is equipped to produce and maintain saltwater and freshwater fish and invertebrates and over the last 20 years has included multiple freshwater and saltwater fish species, oysters, crabs, several shrimp species, various mysid species, daphnia, ceriodaphnia, polycheates, insect larvae, aquatic plants and algae, and amphipods.

Exposure capabilities include all variations of acute and chronic static and flow-through approaches. State of the art dosing systems are available to meet a wide variety of exposure demands required for testing single compounds, complex chemical mixtures, sediments and drilling fluids, and mixed effluents. In addition to standard toxicological exposure apparatus the facility contains isolated exposure laboratories, each with single-pass climate control, independent lighting, and capability of bench-level effluent treatment and multiple discharge options. Studies are conducted in special exposure chambers which are self-contained and equipped with water baths to maintain temperature within prescribed ranges and with lighting systems to provide appropriate photoperiod and to mimic dusk and dawn.

The breadth of exposure types and test species utilized by the toxicology section of GCRL has required flexibility with respect to animal husbandry capabilities, experimental design, and test chemical delivery systems, as well as broad expertise relative to analytical quantification techniques. The research staff of GCRL are stable, well experienced, and knowledgeable in producing, maintaining, exposing, and evaluating large numbers of organisms in studies which fully encompass the field of aquatic toxicology.