WELCOME TO AQUA-Science

Environmental Toxicology Specialists

AQUA-Science, located in Davis, CA, was established in 1985, and provides aquatic toxicity testing, TIE expertise, research and consulting, and designs/builds aquatic testing systems.

AQUATIC TOXICITY TESTING

AQUA-Science is ELAP-certified to conduct toxicity tests using a variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine organisms. During the last 30+ years, we have completed well over 8,000 toxicity tests for numerous clients in California and the US, in support for:

• NPDES Compliance Testing
• Stormwater Monitoring
• Agricultural Discharge
• Groundwater Monitoring
• Industry discharges (e.g., steel mills, oil refineries)

The staff of aquatic toxicologists has over 50 years of combined experience in conducting aquatic bioassays. In addition, AQUA-Science has been instrumental in developing and publishing new test methods and procedures in many areas of aquatic toxicology. AQUA-Science has over 3,000 ft2 of laboratory facilities for conducting bioassays and TIE studies, and is available 7 days a week to respond to client needs.

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Acute Freshwater/Marine Toxicity (EPA-R2-02-012)

  • Water flea (Ceriodaphnia dubia)
  • Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
  • Rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss)
  • Mysid shrimp (Americamysis bahia)
  • Inland silverside (Menidia beryllina)
  • Amphipod crustacean (Hyalella azteca)

Chronic Freshwater Toxicity (EPA-R2-02-013)

  • Water flea (Ceriodaphnia dubia)
  • Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
  • Green algae (Selenastrum capricornutum)

Chronic Marine/Estuarine Toxicity (EPA-R2-02-014)

  • Mysid shrimp (Americamysis bahia)
  • Inland silverside (Menidia beryllina)

Chronic West Coast Species Toxicity (EPA 600/R-95/136)

  • Red abalone (Haliotis rufescens)
  • Topsmelt (Atherinops affinis)
  • Purple sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)
  • Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera)

Saltwater algae

  • Thalassiosira sp

Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) Experience

AQUA-Science has extensive experience in the conduct of Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III TIE procedures to identify the cause(s) of toxicity in many types of aqueous matrices including municipal effluent, industrial and refinery effluent, landfill leachate, surface waters, and stormwater.  AQUA-Science is nationally recognized as having extensive experience in conducting cost effective and state-of-the-art TRE/TIEs, and for development of novel, cutting edge TIE procedures for identification of the chemical causes of toxicity with freshwater, estuarine, and marine test organisms.  Examples of these new procedures include Phase I and II TIE methods for organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, use of antibody and enzymatic procedures for identification of non-polar organic toxicity, and for development of TIE procedures for algae and phytoplankton.  Many of the TIEs have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

+ Click To Read More About Toxicity Identification Evaluation Experience

 

TIE Expert Panel SETAC): Dr. Miller was invited by the Society of Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) to participate on the executive committee for the formation of a SETAC national panel of experts to update TIE procedures for effluents, surface waters, stormwater and sediments.  The expert panel convened in Pensacola FL in March 2001, to discuss and review current TIE approaches, formulate approaches for identification of specific classes of toxicants, produce a decision support system for TIE methods, and identify current research needs for TIEs.  AQUA-Science submitted five TIE case studies that have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in a book that was published in 2005.  In addition, AQUA-Science has published two case studies in the latest EPA Toxicity Reduction Evaluation Guidance for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (EPA 833-B-99-002). 

USEPA Interlaboratory Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Study (USEPA, AMSA): AQUA-Science was selected to participate in the national WET Interlaboratory Variability Study for the following toxicity testing protocols: acute and chronic C. dubia, acute and chronic fathead minnow, and chronic algae (method with and without EDTA).  The limited number of participants in this study was selected from across the U.S. based on testing experience, performance in reference toxicant studies, and adherence to stringent QA/QC procedures. 

Developed TIE Procedures Using Antibody-Mediated Chemical-Specific Removal Procedures (F-3) to Identify the Role of Diazinon and Chlorpyrifos in Aqueous Matrices (CSWQCB): AQUA-Science developed innovative TIE procedures using antibodies selective for diazinon and chlorpyrifos to permit the identification and confirmation of toxicity caused by the two insecticides in samples of effluent, stormwater and surface waters.  This novel process (F-3) received a U.S. patent.

C. dubia Bioassays and TIEs Using F-3 (CSWQCB): AQUA-Science conducted over 90 C. dubia bioassays and 300 ELISA analyses and applied patented F-3 TIE procedures to identify the role of diazinon and chlorpyrifos in the acute and chronic toxicity of California surface waters from Alamo River, Sacramento Slough and Orestimba Creek to C. dubia.

C. dubia Bioassays and TIEs Using F-3 (USFWS): AQUA-Science used a combination of C. dubia toxicity tests, F-3 and ELISA analyses to identify the causes of toxicity of stormwater runoff entering a federal refuge.  The procedures conclusively identified diazinon as the cause of the toxicity.

C. dubia Bioassays and TIEs Using F-3 (G. Fred Lee): AQUA-Science used a combination of acute C. dubia bioassays, ELISA analyses, HPLC fractionation, and F-3 to characterize the role of diazinon and chlorpyrifos in the toxicity of Newport Bay tributaries.  The studies identified commercial nurseries as the source of the toxicity.

PRIZM Grant Recipient (SFEI):  AQUA-Science, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and the U.C. Davis Department of Entomology were the recipients of a $200K PRIZM grant to develop new TIE procedures for pyrethroid insecticides.  As part of this work, an innovative enzyme TIE procedure to identify pyrethroid-caused toxicity was developed and validated.  Three peer-reviewed research publications were derived from this work.

Effluent and Surface Water 3-Species Toxicity Tests and TIEs (SRWTP): AQUA-Science conducted quarterly 3-species chronic bioassays on effluent and receiving water for nearly 15 years.  Test protocols were developed to assess the contribution of effluent to receiving water toxicity.  AQUA-Science designed and conducted innovative TIE studies to identify causes of effluent and receiving water (Sacramento River) toxicity to C. dubia, fathead minnows and algae.  The SWQCB commented that the TIE studies were “innovative and state-of-the-art”.

Chronic C. dubia and Algae Toxicity Tests and TIEs (Disney Resort):  AQUA-Science conducted chronic C. dubia toxicity tests and TIEs to identify causes of toxicity in resort water discharge.  The TIE determined that the toxicity originated from contaminated sampling buckets used by the sampling contractor.  Additional TIEs identified zinc as the cause of algal toxicity in a lake attraction and a specific detergent product responsible for C. dubia toxicity in effluent toxicity from washdown operations.

Chronic C. dubia Toxicity Tests and TIEs (City of Davis): AQUA-Science conducted quarterly 3-species bioassays with effluent from two marsh treatment systems.  TIEs determined that high TDS was the cause of the toxicity.

Chronic C. dubia Toxicity Tests and TIEs (Inland Empire Utilities Agency): AQUA-Science conducted approximately 30 chronic C. dubia bioassays and over 200 ELISA analyses to determine optimal treatment plant operating conditions to remove organophosphorous (OP) insecticides, diazinon and chlorpyrifos, for 3 POTWs in the Chino Basin. TIEs were conducted to identify and confirm the role of the two OPs and pyrethroids in the effluent toxicity.

Acute and Chronic C. dubia Toxicity Tests and TIEs (CCCSD): AQUA-Science conducted approximately 40 acute and chronic C. dubia toxicity tests and ELISA analyses on final effluent. Phase I, II and III TIEs were performed that identified diazinon and chlorpyrifos as the causes of toxicity.  The TIE was included as a Case Study in the EPA Effluent Toxicity Guidance Manual.

Chronic C. dubia Bioassays on Receiving Waters (Larry Walker): AQUA-Science conducted chronic C. dubia bioassays on receiving waters in Sonoma County impacted by municipal effluent.  A study protocol was designed and implemented to assess toxicity in high TDS waters.

Acute and Chronic C. dubia Bioassays and TIEs (ACME Fill): AQUA-Science conducted approximately 75 acute and chronic C. dubia bioassays on landfill leachate, and conducted TIEs that identified TDS as the cause of toxicity. Testing procedures and a toxicity model was developed to assess leachate toxicity to C. dubia in the presence of high TDS.

Acute C. dubia Bioassays and TIEs (City of Vallejo): Acute C. dubia bioassays and Phase I, II and III TIEs were conducted to identify the causes of toxicity in municipal effluent.  The TIEs incorporated a weight-of-evidence approach that involved chemical fingerprinting, chemical analysis and statistical procedures.  It was shown that diazinon was the primary cause of the effluent toxicity.

C. dubia and Fathead Minnow Toxicity Tests and TIEs (USS-Posco Industries):  Flow-through acute toxicity tests conducted on a steel mill effluent that was discharged into the Delta detected toxicity to fathead minnows and C. dubia.  An innovative TIE approach was used that included developing toxicity models for over 30 process chemicals used in the facility and fingerprinting the effluent and process chemicals using HPLC elution profiles.  The TIE showed that a single process chemical (mineral oil defoamer) was responsible for the toxicity. The effluent toxicity was eliminated when use of this chemical in the facility was discontinued. 

Chronic C. dubia, Fathead Minnow and Algae Bioassays and TIEs (Air Products):  AQUA-Science conducted 3-species toxicity tests and TIEs on a stormwater discharge from a hydrogen manufacturing facility.  Identified zinc from a nearby refinery as the source of toxicity to the test species.

Fathead Minnow TIE Procedures (CVRWQCB): AQUA-Science developed procedures for identification of pathogen-related toxicity (PRT).  Tasks included identification of cause(s) and procedures to control PRT, including sterilization, antibiotic addition, and improved hygiene in test chambers.

Development of Algae Test System (City of Los Angeles):  AQUA-Science assisted in development and calibration of an algae test system to reliably measure effluent toxicity. Conducted Phase I and II TIEs to identify the causes of effluent toxicity from two treatment plants to algae.  Ammonia and non-polar organics were identified as cause(s) of toxicity. 

Algal TIE Procedures (SRWQCB): AQUA-Science developed algal TIE procedures, including determining tolerance of TIE reagents, developing Phase II TIE fractionation procedures, and developing an algae micro-assay for SPE and HPLC fractions.  This work has been published in a peer-reviewed book on TIE methodology.

Algal Toxicity Tests and TIEs (City of Sacramento): AQUA-Science conducted chronic algal toxicity tests and developed innovative TIE procedures, including SPE and HPLC column elution profiles, to identify and characterize algal toxicity in urban creeks in the Sacramento area.  Identified the role of the herbicides, simazine and diuron, in the toxicity of stormwater runoff from Arcade Creek, Chicken Ranch Slough and Strong Ranch Slough.

Echinoderm Toxicity Test and TIE (CCCSD): AQUA-Science developed and published TIE procedures to identify causes of effluent toxicity to Echinoderms (S. purpuratus and D. excentricus).  The TIE identified copper as the toxicant. 

AQUATIC TESTING EQUIPMENT

For over 30 years, AQUA-Science has provided temperature-controlled test systems for clients that are required to conduct effluent flow-through toxicity testing.   This unit controls flow-rate, water temperature, lighting intensity and photoperiod intensity for both effluent and control water, and a temperature-controlled water bath for reference toxicant tests.  The frame is constructed of powder-painted steel square tubing, and a transparent acrylic hood enclosure provides full visibility of the test organisms during the test.  The unit is self-contained and movable on industrial casters. Please contact us for specifications.

THE TEAM

Jeffrey L. Miller, Ph.D., DABT | AQUA-Science President and Chief Technical Officer

Dr. Miller is the founder of AQUA-Science, an environmental toxicology consulting and testing firm located in Davis, CA.  For the past 35 years, Dr. Miller has designed and conducted numerous water-related environmental studies to determine the effects of municipal effluents, surface waters and storm water on a wide variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine organisms.  Dr. Miller is a nationally recognized expert on the application of Phase I, II and III TIE procedures to identify aquatic toxicity due to heavy metals, pesticides, ammonia, surfactants and industrial chemicals.  Dr. Miller has developed and published many innovative TIE approaches, including chemical toxicity fingerprinting, methods to assess the interactive effects of pesticides, and application of TIE methods to West Coast aquatic species.  Dr. Miller is the co-inventor of a patented antibody-mediated chemical-specific process for identification of toxicity due to organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides in aqueous matrices.  Dr. Miller has developed and taught advanced TIE workshops at local and national scientific meetings.  He is a charter member of SETAC and serves on the National SETAC TRE/TIE Expert Panel.  Dr. Miller was selected as a member of the California State Water Quality Control Board/USEPA WET Training Panel and authored the WET regulatory guidance for USEPA Region 9.  He is a Board Certified Toxicologist (DABT) and has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, and case studies in the area of environmental toxicology.

+ Click To Read All Bios

Kimberley Keenan Miller, B.S. (Physiology, University of California, Davis, 1986)

Ms. Miller has served as the Quality Assurance Officer at AQUA-Science for over 28 years.  In this capacity, she is responsible for assuring that all data is reviewed with regard to compliance with SOPs and that all data generated is subjected to a full and complete audit.  Prior to employment at AQUA-Science, Kimberley was employed at Genencor International, where she had responsibility for managing and reviewing environmental studies conducted according to USEPA Good Laboratory Practices at contract laboratories in the U.S. and Europe.

Cecilia Walker, B.S. (Microbiology, University of California, Davis, 2007)

Ms. Walker has been employed by AQUA-Science for over 14 years, and serves as the Operations Manager. In this capacity, Cecilia supervises the conduct of all studies, including data collection, statistical analysis, and preparation draft reports.  She also participates in study design and client contact.  Since Cecilia previously served as Laboratory Manager for over 8 years, she is very familiar with the day-to-day operations of the laboratory.  She has conducted and/or supervised over 4000 bioassays with municipal and industrial effluents, storm water and surface waters using a wide variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine test organisms.  She has conducted numerous TIEs with Ceriodaphnia, larval fathead minnows, rainbow trout, algae, abalone and Thalassiosira.

Kala McIntyre, B.S. (Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis, 2010)

Ms. McIntyre has been employed by AQUA-Science for over 7 years and has served as Laboratory Manager for 2 years.  To date, Kala has conducted and/or supervised over 1000 bioassays with municipal and industrial effluents, storm water and surface waters using a wide variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine test organisms.  She has conducted numerous TIEs with Ceriodaphnia, larval fathead minnows, rainbow trout, algae, abalone and Thalassiosira.  Kala is responsible for supervision of all technical staff, for staff training and implementation of the AQUA-Science Safety Program, assures that all data forms are correct and complete, and participates in study design and client contact.

Tuan Pham, B.S. (Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, 2015)

Mr. Pham has served as Senior Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for over 4 years.  In this capacity, Tuan has gained considerable experience in culture and testing procedures for a variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine organisms, including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, abalone, echinoderms and Thalassiosira.  Tuan has also conducted Phase I and Phase II TIE studies on municipal effluent, storm water and surface waters using a variety of test organisms 

Lindsey Freeman, B.S. (Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, 2015)

Ms. Freeman has served as Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for over 3 years, during which time she has gained considerable experience in culture and testing procedures for variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine organisms, including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, abalone, echinoderms and Thalassiosira.  Lindsey has also conducted Phase I and Phase II TIE studies on municipal effluent, storm water and surface waters using a variety of test organisms.

Rachel Harris, B.A. (American Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2016)

Ms. Harris has served as Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for over 2 years, during which time she has gained considerable experience in culture and testing procedures for including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, abalone, echinoderms and Thalassiosira.

Adeyemi Walker-Thomas, B.S. (Environmental Studies, California State University, Sacramento, 2019)

Mr. Walker-Thomas has served as Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for 6 months, during which time he has gained experience in culture and testing procedures for including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, and abalone.

+ Click To Read All Bios

Kimberley Keenan Miller, B.S. (Physiology, University of California, Davis, 1986)

Ms. Miller has served as the Quality Assurance Officer at AQUA-Science for over 28 years.  In this capacity, she is responsible for assuring that all data is reviewed with regard to compliance with SOPs and that all data generated is subjected to a full and complete audit.  Prior to employment at AQUA-Science, Kimberley was employed at Genencor International, where she had responsibility for managing and reviewing environmental studies conducted according to USEPA Good Laboratory Practices at contract laboratories in the U.S. and Europe.

Cecilia Walker, B.S. (Microbiology, University of California, Davis, 2007)

Ms. Walker has been employed by AQUA-Science for over 14 years, and serves as the Operations Manager. In this capacity, Cecilia supervises the conduct of all studies, including data collection, statistical analysis, and preparation draft reports.  She also participates in study design and client contact.  Since Cecilia previously served as Laboratory Manager for over 8 years, she is very familiar with the day-to-day operations of the laboratory.  She has conducted and/or supervised over 4000 bioassays with municipal and industrial effluents, storm water and surface waters using a wide variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine test organisms.  She has conducted numerous TIEs with Ceriodaphnia, larval fathead minnows, rainbow trout, algae, abalone and Thalassiosira.

Kala McIntyre, B.S. (Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis, 2010)

Ms. McIntyre has been employed by AQUA-Science for over 7 years and has served as Laboratory Manager for 2 years.  To date, Kala has conducted and/or supervised over 1000 bioassays with municipal and industrial effluents, storm water and surface waters using a wide variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine test organisms.  She has conducted numerous TIEs with Ceriodaphnia, larval fathead minnows, rainbow trout, algae, abalone and Thalassiosira.  Kala is responsible for supervision of all technical staff, for staff training and implementation of the AQUA-Science Safety Program, assures that all data forms are correct and complete, and participates in study design and client contact.

Tuan Pham, B.S. (Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, 2015)

Mr. Pham has served as Senior Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for over 4 years.  In this capacity, Tuan has gained considerable experience in culture and testing procedures for a variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine organisms, including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, abalone, echinoderms and Thalassiosira.  Tuan has also conducted Phase I and Phase II TIE studies on municipal effluent, storm water and surface waters using a variety of test organisms 

Lindsey Freeman, B.S. (Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, 2015)

Ms. Freeman has served as Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for over 3 years, during which time she has gained considerable experience in culture and testing procedures for variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine organisms, including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, abalone, echinoderms and Thalassiosira.  Lindsey has also conducted Phase I and Phase II TIE studies on municipal effluent, storm water and surface waters using a variety of test organisms.

Rachel Harris, B.A. (American Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2016)

Ms. Harris has served as Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for over 2 years, during which time she has gained considerable experience in culture and testing procedures for including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, abalone, echinoderms and Thalassiosira.

Adeyemi Walker-Thomas, B.S. (Environmental Studies, California State University, Sacramento, 2019)

Mr. Walker-Thomas has served as Laboratory Technician at AQUA-Science for 6 months, during which time he has gained experience in culture and testing procedures for including Ceriodaphnia, juvenile and larval fathead minnows, green algae, rainbow trout, Menidia, mysids, and abalone.

CONTACT

AQUA-Science
630 Cantrill Drive
Davis, CA 95618
530-753-5456
aqua-science.com