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Natalie K. Karouna-Renier

USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
BARC East, Bldg. 308
10300 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705

Telephone:   301-497-5724

Fax:   301-497-5624

Photo of Natalie K. Karouna-Renier
Research Ecologist
Primary Responsibilities: 

I am the leader of the Molecular Toxicology Laboratory at PWRC. My research interests and projects are directed towards understanding the effects of chemical and non-chemical stressors on wildlife and fish, primarily at the molecular and biochemical level. My current research focuses on the development and application of novel molecular and non-molecular techniques for assessing the effects of contaminants on wildlife.


Ph.D., Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. 2002.

M.S., Toxicology, University of Maryland, 1996.

B.A., Biology, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. 1989. 

Areas of Expertise/Interest: 
Aquatic and wildlife toxicology; genomic indicators of ecological and environmental health.

Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Best Poster Award
National Science Foundation Summer Research Fellowship in Japan
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Student Travel Award
U.S. Department of Interior, National Biological Survey Performance Award
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Performance Award

Active Projects: 

1) Multigenerational, multi species assessment of endocrine disrupting effects of trenbolone.

2) Biochemical indicators of contaminant exposure in tree swallows from the Great Lakes region.

3) Profiling mercury response genes in birds as an indicator of species sensitivity..

4) Identification of non-destructive biomarkers of genotoxic effects in wildlife.

5) Species identification using molecular techniques.


Pinkney, A. E., J. C. Harshbarger, N. K. Karouna-Renier, K. Jenko, L. Balk, H. Skarphinsdóttir, B. Liewenborg, and M. A. Rutter. 2011. Tumor prevalence and biomarkers of genotoxicity in brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) in Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Science of the Total Environment online October 11. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K., R. A. Snyder, T. Lange, S. Gibson, J. G. Allison, M. E. Wagner, K. R. Rao. 2011. Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) as vectors of contaminants to human consumers in northwest Florida. Marine Environmental Research 72(3):96-104. abstract

Liebens, J., C. J. Mohrherr, N. K. Karouna-Renier, R.A. Snyder, and K. R. Rao. 2011. Associations between dioxins/furans and dioxin-like PCBs in estuarine sediment and blue crab. Water, Air & Soil Pollution. online May 28. abstract

Brubaker, J. L. *, N. K. Karouna-Renier*, Y. Chen, K. Jenko, D. Sprague and P. F. P. Henry. 2010. A non-invasive, direct real-time PCR method for sex determination in multiple avian species. Molecular Ecology Resources 11(2):415-417. *considered joint first authors. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N.K., Rao, K.R. 2009. An inducible HSP70 gene from the midge Chironomus dilutus: Characterization and transcription profile under environmental stress. Insect Molecular Biology 18(1):87-96. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K., Rao, K. R., Lanza, J. J., Rivers, S. D., Wilson, P. A., Hodges, D. K., Levine, K. E., Ross, G. T., 2008. Mercury levels and fish consumption practices in women of child-bearing age in the Florida Panhandle. Environmental Research 108(3):320-326. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K., R. A. Snyder, J. G. Allison, M. E. Wagner, and K. R. Rao. 2007. Accumulation of organic and inorganic contaminants in shellfish collected in estuarine waters near Pensacola, Florida: Contamination profiles and risks to human consumers. Environmental Pollution 145(2):474-488. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K., Rao, K. R., Lanza, J. J., Davis, D. A., Wilson, P. A., 2007. Serum profiles of PCDDs and PCDFs, in individuals near the Escambia Wood Treating Company Superfund site in Pensacola, FL. Chemosphere. 69(8):1312–1319. abstract

Casey R.E., Simon J.A., Atueyi S., Snodgrass J.W., Karouna-Renier N., Sparling D.W. 2006. Temporal trends of trace metals in sediment and invertebrates from stormwater management ponds.  Water, Air, & Soil Pollution. 178 (1-4): 69-77. abstract

Yang, W-J., J. Liu, X-J. Zhu, N. K. Karouna-Renier, and K. R. Rao. 2004. Molecular cloning and stress-induced expression of two HSP70 genes from the prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Cell Stress & Chaperones. 9(3):313–323. abstract PDF

Karouna-Renier, N. K. and J. P. Zehr. 2003. Short-term exposures to chronically toxic copper concentrations induce HSP70 protein in midge larvae (Chironomus tentans). Science of the Total Environment 312(1-3):267-272. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K., W. -J. Yang, and K. R. Rao. 2003. Cloning and characterization of a 70 kDa heat shock cognate gene (HSC70) from two species of Chironomus. Insect Molular Biology 12(1):19-26. abstract

Yoshimi, T., K. Minowa, N. K. Karouna-Renier, C. Watanabe, Y. Sugaya, and T. Miura, 2002. Activation of a stress-induced gene by insecticides in the midge Chironomus yoshimatsui. Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology 16(1):10-17. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K. and D. W. Sparling, 2001. Relationships between ambient geochemistry, watershed land-use and trace metal concentrations in aquatic invertebrates living in stormwater treatment ponds. Environmental Pollution 112(2):183-192. abstract

Karouna-Renier, N. K. and D. W. Sparling. 1997. Toxicity of stormwater treatment pond sediments to Hyallela azteca (Amphipoda). Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 58(4):550-557. preview

Sparling, D. W., M. Gustafson, P. Klein, and N. Karouna-Renier. 1997. Toxicity of white phosphorus to waterfowl: acute exposure in mallards. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 33(2):187-197. abstract

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