Environmental Toxicology

November 2, 2012 / By: Dalma Martinovic-Weigelt, PH.D.



I conduct research that explores how fish respond to natural environmental stimuli (e.g., fluctuations in the oxygen concentrations, stream velocities), as well as to man-made stressors (e.g., chemicals of emerging concern in particular). To determine how fish adapt to and are perturbed by environmental stimuli I combine classic physiological and organismal endpoints (swimming performance, reproductive success, behavior). I am also using functional genomics and systems biology to complement approaches conventionally used for study of the physiological basis of behavior and reproductive toxicology.

Pimephales promelas – fathead minnow

Illustration © Emily Damstra, used with permission www.emilydamstra.com



Dalma Martinović-Weigelt completed Ph.D. in Fisheries Science and Water Resources at the U of MN (2005), and served as National Academies Research Associate at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) from 2006-09. Dr. Martinovic is an associate professor at UST, St. Paul, MN (2009-present). Dr. Martinovic has co-authored two reports to MN Legislature (Endocrine Disrupting Compounds, lrp-ei-1syo8; Wastewater Treatment Plant Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Monitoring Study, lrp-ei-1sy11) and circa 40 research manuscripts that assess occurrence and the effects of chemicals of emerging concern and  other stressors on fish and aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Martinovic is a recipient of five US EPA’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards. She has served on The Contaminant Screening Criteria and Prioritization Development Task Group for MN Dept. of Health, and the Editorial Board of the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Journal. Since her arrival to UST in 2009Dr. Martinović-Weigelt has received external-funding from a variety of state and federal agencies (MN Pollution Control Agency, USGS, USEPA and NSF).


Google Scholar Profile: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=q_-iKvkAAAAJ&hl=en


SELECTED PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS (UST undergraduate student co-authors marked with *) 

  • Berninger JP, Martinović-Weigelt D, Garcia-Reyero N, Escalon L, Perkins EJ, Ankley GT, Villeneuve DL. Using Transcriptomic Tools to Evaluate Biological Effects Across Effluent Gradients at a Diverse Set of Study Sites in Minnesota, USA, Environ Sci. Technol. 2014. DOI: 10.1021/es4040254
  • Martinović-Weigelt D, Mehinto AC, Ankley GT, Denslow ND , Barber LB, Lee KE, King, RJ*,Schoenfuss HL, Schroeder, A.L., Villeneuve DL. Transcriptomic Effects-Based Monitoring for Endocrine Active Chemicals: Environ Sci. Technol. 2014, DOI: 10.1021/es404027n
  • Skelton DM, Ekman DR, Martinović-Weigelt D, Ankley GT, Villeneuve D , Teng Q, Collette TW. Metabolomics for In Situ Environmental Monitoring of Surface Waters Impacted by Contaminants from Both Point and Non-point Sources., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013. DOI:10.1021/es404021f
  • Martinovic-Weigelt D, Minarik TA, Curran EM, Marchuk JS*, Pazderka MJ*, Smith EA*, Goldenstein RL*, Miresse CL*, Matlon TJ*, Schultz MM, Schoenfuss, HL. Environmental Estrogens in an Urban Aquatic Ecosystem: I. Spatial and Temporal Occurrence of Estrogenic Activity in Effluent-Dominated Systems. Environ Int. 2013; 61, 127-137.
  • Schultz MM, Minarik TA, Martinovic-Weigelt D, Curran EM, Bartell SE,  Schoenfuss HL. Environmental Estrogens in an Urban Aquatic Ecosystem: II. Biological Effects.  Environ Int. 2013;61, 138-149.
  • Minarik TA, Vick J, Schultz MM, Bartell SE,  Martinovic-Weigelt D, Rearick DC, Schoenfuss, HL. On-Site Exposure To A Dilution Series Of Final Treated Wastewater Effluent Has Subtle Effects On Mature Male Fathead Minnows. JAWRA. 2013 (in press)
  • Bencic DC, Villeneuve DL, Biales AD, Blake L, Durhan EJ, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Makynen EA, Martinović-Weigelt D, Ankley GT. Effects of the insecticide fipronil on reproductive endocrinology in the fathead minnow. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2013; 32 (8), 1828–1834.
  • Martinovic-Weigelt D, Ekman DR, Villeneuve DL, James CM*, Teng Q, Collette TW, Ankley GT. Fishy Aroma of Social Status: Urinary Chemo-Signalling of Territoriality in Male Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas). PLoS One. 2012; 7(11):e46579.
  • Villeneuve DL, Garcia-Reyero N, Martinović-Weigelt D, Li Z, Watanabe KH, Orlando EF, Lalone CA, Edwards SW, Burgoon LD, Denslow ND, Perkins EJ, Ankley GT.. A graphical systems model and tissue-specific functional gene sets to aid transcriptomic analysis of chemical impacts on the female teleost reproductive axis. Mutation Research, 2012, 746(2), 151-162.
  • Hala D, Petersen LH, Martinovic D, Huggett DB. Constraints-based stoichiometric analysis of hypoxic stress on steroidogenesis in fathead minnows, Pimephales promelas. J Exp Biol. 2012 May 15;215(Pt 10):1753-65.
  • Ankley GT, Cavallin JE, Durhan EJ, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Makynen EA, Martinovic-Weigelt D, Wehmas LC, Villeneuve DL. Temporal evaluation of effects of a model 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibitor on endocrine function in the fathead minnow. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2011 Sep;30(9):2094-102. doi:10.1002/etc.593.
  • Skolness SY, Durhan EJ, Garcia-Reyero N, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Makynen EA, Martinovic-Weigelt D, Perkins E, Villeneuve DL, Ankley GT. Effects of a short-term exposure to the fungicide prochloraz on endocrine function and gene expression in female fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Aquat Toxicol. 2011 Jun;103(3-4):170-8.
  • Wehmas LC, Cavallin JE, Durhan EJ, Kahl MD, Martinovic D, Mayasich J, Tuominen T, Villeneuve DL, Ankley GT. Screening complex effluents for estrogenic activity  with the T47D-KBluc cell bioassay: assay optimization and comparison with in vivo responses in fish. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2011 Feb;30(2):439-45.
  • Garcia-Reyero N, Lavelle CM, Escalon BL, Martinović D, Kroll KJ, Sorensen PW, Denslow ND. Behavioral and genomic impacts of a wastewater effluent on the fathead minnow. Aquat Toxicol. 2011 Jan 17;101(1):38-48.
  • Martinović-Weigelt D, Wang RL, Villeneuve DL, Bencic DC, Lazorchak J, Ankley GT. Gene expression profiling of the androgen receptor antagonists flutamide and vinclozolin in zebrafish (Danio rerio) gonads. Aquat Toxicol. 2011 Jan 25;101(2):447-58.
  • Ekman DR, Villeneuve DL, Teng Q, Ralston-Hooper KJ, Martinović-Weigelt D, Kahl MD, Jensen KM, Durhan EJ, Makynen EA, Ankley GT, Collette TW. Use of gene expression, biochemical and metabolite profiles to enhance exposure and effects assessment of the model androgen 17β-trenbolone in fish. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2011 Feb;30(2):319-29.
  • Collette TW, Teng Q, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Makynen EA, Durhan EJ, Villeneuve DL, Martinović-Weigelt D, Ankley GT, Ekman DR. Impacts of an anti-androgen and an androgen/anti-androgen mixture on the metabolite profile of male fathead minnow urine. Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Sep 1;44(17):6881-6.
  •  Blake LS, Martinović D, Gray LE Jr, Wilson VS, Regal RR, Villeneuve DL, Ankley GT. Characterization of the androgen-sensitive MDA-kb2 cell line for assessing complex environmental mixtures. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2010 Jun;29(6):1367-76.
  • Ankley GT, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Durhan EJ, Makynen EA, Cavallin JE, Martinović D, Wehmas LC, Mueller ND, Villeneuve DL. Use of chemical mixtures to differentiate mechanisms of endocrine action in a small fish model. Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Sep 1;99(3):389-96.
  • Villeneuve DL, Garcia-Reyero N, Martinović D, Cavallin JE, Mueller ND, Wehmas LC, Kahl MD, Linnum AL, Perkins EJ, Ankley GT. Influence of ovarian stage on transcript profiles in fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) ovary tissue. Aquat Toxicol. 2010 Jul 15;98(4):354-66.
  • Villeneuve DL, Garcia-Reyero N, Martinović D, Mueller ND, Cavallin JE, Durhan EJ, Makynen EA, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Blake LS, Perkins EJ, Ankley GT. II: Effects of a dopamine receptor antagonist on fathead minnow dominance behavior and ovarian gene expression in the fathead minnow and zebrafish. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2010 May;73(4):478-85.
  • Villeneuve DL, Garcia-Reyero N, Martinović D, Mueller ND, Cavallin JE, Durhan EJ, Makynen EA, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Blake LS, Perkins EJ, Ankley GT. I. Effects of a dopamine receptor antagonist on fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas, reproduction. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2010 May;73(4):472-7.
  • Garcia-Reyero N, Adelman IR, Martinovic D, Liu L, Denslow ND. Site-specific impacts on gene expression and behavior in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed in situ to streams adjacent to sewage treatment plants. BMC Bioinformatics. 2009 Oct 8;10 Suppl 11:S11.
  • Martinovic D., Villeneuve D.L., Kahl M.D., Blake L.S., Brodin J.D., Ankley G.T. Hypoxia alters gene expression in the gonads of zebrafish (Danio rerio). 2009. Aquat Toxicol.13;95(4):258-72.
  • Ankley GT, Bencic DC, Cavallin JE, Jensen KM, Kahl MD, Makynen EA, Martinovic D, Mueller ND, Wehmas LC, Villeneuve DL. Dynamic nature of alterations in the endocrine system of fathead minnows exposed to the fungicide prochloraz. Toxicol Sci. 2009 Dec;112(2):344-53.
  • Villeneuve DL, Mueller ND, Martinović D, Makynen EA, Kahl MD, Jensen KM, Durhan EJ, Cavallin JE, Bencic D, Ankley GT. Direct effects, compensation, and recovery in female fathead minnows exposed to a model aromatase inhibitor. Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Apr;117(4):624-31.
  • Villeneuve L, Wang RL, Bencic DC, Biales AD, Martinović D, Lazorchak JM, Toth G, Ankley GT. Altered gene expression in the brain and ovaries of zebrafish (Danio rerio) exposed to the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole: microarray analysis and hypothesis generation. Environ Toxicol Chem. 2009 Aug;28(8):1767-82.
  • Ankley GT, Bencic DC, Breen MS, Collette TW, Conolly RB, Denslow ND, Edwards SW, Ekman DR, Garcia-Reyero N, Jensen KM, Lazorchak JM, Martinović D, Miller DH, Perkins EJ, Orlando EF, Villeneuve DL, Wang RL, Watanabe KH. Endocrine disrupting chemicals in fish: developing exposure indicators and predictive models of effects based on mechanism of action. Aquat Toxicol. 2009 May 5;92(3):168-78.





  • Novak P.J., Arnold W.A., Blazer V.S., Halden R.U., Klaper R.D., Kolpin D.W., Kriebel D., Love N.G., Martinović-Weigelt D., Patisaul H.B., Snyder S.A., Vom Saal F.S., Weisbrod A.V., Swackhamer D.L. (2011) On the need for a National (U.S.) research program to elucidate the potential risks to human health and the environment posed by contaminants of emerging concern. Environ Sci Technol 45:3829-3830.
  • Hotchkiss AK, GT Ankley, VS Wilson, PC Hartig, EJ Durhan, KM Jensen, D Martinovic and LE Gray Jr. 2008. Of Mice and Men (and Mosquitofish): Antiandrogens and Androgens in the Environment. BioScience. 58:1037–1050.



  • Villeneuve, D. L., Ankley, G. T. and Martinović, D. (2011) Toxicogenomics Applied to Ecological Risk Assessment, in Applications of Toxicogenomics in Safety Evaluation and Risk Assessment (eds D. R. Boverhof and B. B. Gollapudi), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118001042.ch10



  • PI -6/1/2014 - 5/31/2017 – National Science Foundation, CBET-Environmental Engineering Collaborative Research, RUI: Assessing Load Reduction and Biological Recovery After 500 MGD Treatment Upgrade in an Effluent-Dominated Aquatic Ecosystem.
  • Co-PI - 6/1/2011 - 6/30/2013 – National Park Survey/ USGS - Water Quality Partnership. Occurrence and Effects of Endocrine Active chemicals and Pharmaceuticals in the St. Croix River”. Kathy Lee (USGS Minnesota Water Science Center), Byron Karns (National Park Service), Heiko Schoenfuss (St. Cloud State University) and Dalma Martinovic University of St. Thomas.
  • Co-PI - 9/1/2010 - 6/30/2011- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency“Assessing the Contribution of Microhabitat Differences on Biological Effects in Bluegill Sunfish in Sullivan Lake, MN”. Heiko Schoenfuss (St. Cloud State University) and Dalma Martinovic University of St. Thomas.
  • Co-PI - 9/1/2009 - 6/30/2011- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency- “Relative Contributions of Selected Endocrine Active Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals from Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent and Other Sources to Minnesota Surface Waters” Kathy E. Lee, Richard Kiesling, Larry Barber, Jeff Writer, Heiko Schoenfuss, Dalma Martinovic, Mark Ferrey, Angela Preimesberger.
  • Co-PI- 9/1/2009 - 6/30/2011 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency- "Quantifying Exposure & Effects of Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluents" Through Controlled Filed Studies. Schoenfuss, H.L., Martinovic, D.
  • Co-PI - 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2010 - US Environmental Protection Agency. Great Lakes National Program Office. (EPA-R5-GL2008-4) "Biological Effects and Elimination of Estrogenic Septic Discharge". Schoenfuss, H.L., Novak, P.J., Arnold, W.A., Julius, M.L., Martinovic, D.
  • Co-PI01/04/2009 - 3/31/2011- Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. “A Comprehensive Assessment of the Potential for Endocrine Disruptors to Impact the Reproductive Potential of Fish Populations in the Chicago Area Waterways.” Schoenfuss, H.L., Schulz, M., Martinovic, D.



  • Curricular Innovation in Sustainability Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Saint Thomas, 2013
  • U.S. EPA’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (Level III) for Delineation of a Novel Pathway for Endocrine Disruption in Fish
  • U.S. EPA’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (Level II) for Application of Microarray Technology to Advance Ecotoxicology Research with Small Fish models,  2011
  • U.S. EPA’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (Level III) for Applying Mechanistic Toxicology to Ecological Risk Assessment of Endocrine-Active Chemicals, 2010
  • U.S. EPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (Level II) for Establishing an Internationally Recognized Program in Environmental Metabolomics to Assess Chemical Exposure Risk, 2008