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Maria (Marisol) S Sepúlveda

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Professor of Ecology and Natural Systems & Associate Head of Research
FORS Room 103
195 Marsteller St
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2033

Dr. Maria ("Marisol") Sepúlveda's main area of research is ecotoxicology.  Over the last decade, she has conducted extensive research evaluating the sublethal effects of a wide-range of environmental contaminants on the physiology of numerous terrestrial and aquatic species.  For instance, she has worked with heavy metals (mercury), complex industrial mixtures (paper mill effluents), herbicides and pesticides (e.g. atrazine, dieldrin, DDT and derivatives, and toxaphene), and industrial pollutants (polychlorinated biphenyls and polyaromatic hydrocarbons).  In terms of species, although most of her work has been focused using vertebrates (including marine mammals, birds, and fishes) as animal models, Dr. Sepúlveda has recently began research with aquatic invertebrates (Hyalella and Diporeia).

Within the field of ecotoxicology, Dr. Sepúlveda’s main area of interest involves studying the potential health effects of environmental contaminants in populations of free-ranging fish and wildlife.  Specifically, Dr. Sepúlveda’s research has focused on understanding the effects of pollutants on reproduction and early life-stage development.  Besides examining whole animal and tissue-level responses to environmental contaminants, in recent years Dr. Sepúlveda has began investigating the effects of chemicals at the sub-cellular and molecular levels.  In fact, since her arrival to Purdue, she has incorporated the use of proteomics and genomics in her research.  In collaboration with other Purdue faculty, Dr. Sepúlveda is also in the process of developing other novel biomarkers of exposure and effects to environmental stressors such as “physiomics” and “metabolomics”.

Dr. Sepúlveda also studies diseases in fish and wildlife.  Her strong background in veterinary medicine has helped her apply many diagnostic tools in the assessment and evaluation of health status in free-ranging fish and wildlife.  Dr. Sepúlveda has conducted several studies evaluating the parasitic helminthofauna and related health effects in marine mammals and aquatic birds.  She has also developed baseline hematological and blood chemistry parameters for a fish and a marine mammal species.   

Dr. Sepúlveda has over 35 peer-reviewed manuscripts published in the areas of ecotoxicology and wildlife diseases, and has presented her work at dozens of international meetings.

Research Group - Ecology of Natural Systems, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Wildlife Science

Facilities - Animal Care Facility, Aquatic Molecular Biology and Analytical Lab, Aquatic Ecology Research Lab, Aquaculture Research Lab, John S. Wright Center

Related Centers - Center for the Environment, Purdue Interdisciplinary Center for Ecological Sustainability, Bindley Bioscience Center, Physiological Sensing Facility

Awards & Honors

(2018) College of Agriculture Research Award. College of Agriculture.

(2018) College of Agriculture Millionaire's Club. College of Agriculture.

(2017) Seed for Success. Purdue University.

(2017) Susan Bulkeley Butler Distinguished Lecture.

(2016) Diversity catalyst. Purdue University.

(2016) Purdue University Showalter Scholar. Purdue University.

(2015) Purdue University Faculty Scholar. Purdue University.

(2013) Western Region Excellence in Multistate Research Award.

Selected Publications

Ralston-Hooper, K., Jannasch, A., & Adamec, J. (2010). The Use of GCxGC/TOF-MS for Metabolomic Analysis of Polar Metabolites. In Methods in Molecular Biology: Metabolic Profiling. Humana Press.

Ralston-Hooper, K., Sanchez, B., Jannasch, A., Baker, S., Diaz, N., & Adamec, J. (2010). Use of Proteomics and Metabolomics Techniques in Ecotoxicology. In Handbook of Systems Toxicology: From Omics Technology to Nanotechnology. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

McLamore, E., Sttensberg, M., Yale, G., Ochoa-AcuÐa, H., Sun, X., Akkus, O., & POrterfield, D. (2010). An optical imaging technique for monitoring real time changes in morphology within the cell, tissue, or whole organism spatial domain. Proceedings of SPIE-International Society of Optical Engineering, Defense, Security, and Sensing Conference, Orlando, FL, 7674-14.

Yin-Ming, K., Hua, I., Ochoa-AcuÐa, H., & Sutton, T. (2010). Bioaccumulation and biotransformation of decabromodiphenyl ether in juvenile lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) Ecotoxicology, 19, 751-760.

Yin-Ming, K., Hua, I., Ochoa-AcuÐa, H., & Sutton, T. (2010). Biomagnification and trophic transfer of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in a food web of Lake Michigan. Ecotoxicology, 19, 623.

Muir, A., Sutton, T., Arts, M., Claramunt, R., Ebener, M., Fitzsimons, J., . . . Blukacz, A. (2010). Does condition of lake whitefish spawners effect physiological condition of juveniles? Journal of Great Lakes Research, 36, 92-99.

Stefanavage, T., & Goforth, R. (2010). First Record of Polypodium sp. parasitizing eggs from female shovelnose sturgeon from the Wabash River, Indiana. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health, 22, 36-38.

Carlson-Bremer, D., Norton, T., Gilardi, K., Dierenfeld, E., Winn, B., Sanders, F., . . . Johnson, C. (2010). Health assessment of American oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus palliatus) in Georgia and South Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 46, 772-780.

Amberg, J., Goforth, R., & Stefanavage, T. (2010). Sexually dimorphic gene expression in the gonad and liver of shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) Fish Physiology and Biochemistry, 36, 923-932. doi:10.1007/s10695-009-9369-8

Laban, G., Nies, L., Turco, R., & Bickham, J. (2010). The effects of silver nanoparticles on development of fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) embryos. Ecotoxicology, 19, 185-195.

Forestry and Natural Resources, 715 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 USA, (765) 494-3590

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