Environmental Function and Ecosystem Services

Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) scientists are renowned both nationally and internationally for their groundbreaking research in ecotoxicology and contaminant biogeochemistry, significantly enhancing our understanding of chemical contaminants’ impacts on environmental function and ecosystem services. SREL’s research is instrumental in aiding the environmental management mission of the U.S. Department of Energy-Savannah River Site (DOE-SRS) and its contractors. The lab’s investigations encompass the detailed characterization of landscapes and the study of the transport, fate, and effects of radionuclide, metal, and organic contaminants in SRS’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Noteworthy studies include toxicological research on the effects of metals on reptiles, amphibians, fish, and birds across genomic, physiological, individual, and population levels. Biogeochemical studies at SREL have shed light on the transport and fate of metals in groundwater under various geochemical and hydrologic conditions, the impact of water chemistry on metal bioavailability to aquatic organisms, and the key processes in metal sequestration in surface and groundwater systems. This crucial data supports the DOE in adhering to environmental compliance with state and federal regulations, selecting cost-effective remediation technologies for site clean-up, and assessing potential threats to wildlife and human populations around the SRS.