Using Museum Collections and Field Ecology to Understand Changes in Human Health
Exposure to toxic chemicals has risen significantly over the past century, particularly the past 4 decades. Each factor alone is associated with small but deleterious effects on health but the combined effect of these exposures on human and animal health is largely unknown. We will use collections of well-documented species curated over the past century by the UM Museum of Zoology to test if skeletal health has declined over the past century. We will analyze the skeleton of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) by testing for differences in bone morphology of mice caught in Southeast Michigan circa 1920 with mice caught in the same region in 2015. We will couple the museum study with a field study to examine the physical and skeletal health of naïve wild mouse populations experiencing differential exposure to environmental toxins. This will establish if wild animals exhibit declines in health similar to humans due to cumulative effects of environmental toxins.
Presentation at the Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting, 2016