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.