Biomarkers for Good Measure: Assessing Aquatic Ecosystem Status, with Sharon Hook

Sampling biomarkers with gel electrophoresis. Credit: Iwan Gabovitch, CC0 1.0.

Biomarkers—biological endpoints long used in medical screening and disease detection—are finding new relevance in the environmental science community. Toxicologists have used biomarkers in certain aquatic contaminant assessments; however, these endpoints have barely been tapped as a valuable resource for informing ecological risk assessments and integrated monitoring. Sharon Hook, author of a critical review in the July 2014 issue of IEAM, talks to us about advantages and caveats for using biomarkers in environmental assessments.

Podcast available on iTunes and YouTube

About the Guest
Sharon_Hook headshotDr. Sharon Hook is a Senior Ecotoxicologist for the aquatic ecotoxicology group at CSIRO, Centre for Environmental Contaminants Research, Lucas Heights, Sydney, Australia. Hook has over 15 years of experience in aquatic ecotoxicology and oceanography particularly in the development and application of emerging molecular genomics approaches and biomarker based research. She also has expertise in evaluating the influence of exposure route on toxicological response. Hook’s research interests include applying modern –omics based approaches to environmental problems, determining the impacts of low level, long term toxic responses, and the design and implementation of toxicity testing. She has worked with a vast array of environmental contaminants, including metals, oil, and pesticides, and with a variety of taxa, from bacteria to fish. Before joining CSIRO, Hook worked at the Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory (part of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WA, USA), and at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah GA, USA. She obtained her PhD at SUNY Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY, USA) (currently Stony Brook University).

Articles Referenced in this Podcast
Hook et al., The role of biomarkers in the assessment of aquatic ecosystem health, IEAM 10#3:327–341.

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