The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry will bestow its Government Service
Award on Christine and Thomas Custer of the US Geological Survey (USGS) at the 7th SETAC World Congress/
SETAC North America 37th Annual Meeting, 6-10 November in Orlando, Florida.
Christine and Thomas Custer have successfully applied environmental toxicology and chemistry to risk assessment in
a government function as individuals. However, the research and work that they have compiled jointly have had
significant impact on natural resource damage assessments and remediation activities at the Department of the Interior
and state agencies. The Custers have worked in avian ecotoxicology for decades, contributing to the research on
contaminant exposure and effects on reproduction and other biomarkers in bird populations. They have championed
the use of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology in regulation and management and developed biomonitoring
methodologies that have been internationally accepted.
Two companion articles published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry illustrate the multi-state, multiagency
research efforts regularly pursued by the Custers. Through the collective efforts of landowners, federal
government funding bodies and state agency workers, teams monitored tree swallows and collected samples from
eggs and nestlings across the Great Lakes. The Custers were measuring for contaminants, including polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins and various pesticides. The data will be used to
assist managers and regulators in their assessments of environmental contamination at Areas of Concern.