PhD Research — Caroline Patricio Vignardi

MS, Biological Oceanography, University of São Paulo Oceanographic Institute, São Paulo, Brazil; BS, Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Marine Biology, Santa Cecilia University, Santos, Brazil.

Caroline Vignardi addresses research questions designed to explore the implications and impacts of emerging pollutants, particularly those developed in nanotechnology, and especially in aquatic ecosystems. The focus of her dissertation research is to examine how environmental conditions in riverine and estuarine ecosystems transform or “age” engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) through physical, chemical, and biological processes, and in turn, how aging influences the fate, behavior, and biological impacts of ENMs to aquatic organisms. To do this, Vignardi used a suite of experimental and modeling approaches to examine chemical transformations, fate, and transport of Cu nanoparticles in freshwater and seawater matrices, and then how chemical aging influenced the toxicity of the nanoparticles to coastal marine invertebrate and phytoplankton species. Her objective is to expand our understanding the ecological risks of ENMs in natural ecosystems.  

Dissertation Abstract:
Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are likely to undergo some degree of modification when released into the environment, which can influence the fate, behavior, and toxicity of nanoparticles (NPs). The environmental factors in natural aquatic ecosystems can transform or “age” toxic chemicals through physical, chemical, and biological processes. However, the ecological effects of NPs under realistic environmental exposure scenarios are not yet fully understood. Adding to these challenges are problems arising from traditional ecotoxicological risk assessments, which are inevitably hampered by narrow subsets of relevant species, toxicants, exposure conditions, and levels of impact. I examined the toxicity of copper-based nanoparticles (CBNPs), by assessing their impact on marine phytoplankton and estuarine amphipods, organisms that are central to aquatic ecosystems. CBNPs were found to be toxic to benthic estuarine organisms at levels already found in the natural environment. However, sublethal toxicity may not be detected by traditional ecotoxicological tests. Additionally, aging was found to influence the fate and transport of CBNPs, increasing Cu toxic ion bioavailability to pelagic organisms over time. This work suggests that CBNPs behave differently under prolonged environmental exposure, and nanoecotoxicological research should focus on sublethal impacts, integrated with mechanistic biological models and based on DEB theory.


Year Admitted:
2014
Research Areas: Aquatic Toxicology, Risk Assessment, Engineered Nanomaterials, Aquatic Ecosystems, Ecology, Antarctic Environment, Aquaculture
Faculty Advisor: Hunter Lenihan


Fellowship awards:

Department of Biological Oceanography CAPES scholarship, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo (2010-2012)
UC Santa Barbara Earth Research Institute (ERI) Travel Award (2017)
Science without borders CAPES scholarship, Sao Paulo, (2014-2018)


Publications:

Hasue, F. M., Passos, M. J. A. C. R., Santos, T. C. A., Rocha, A. J. S., Vignardi, C. P., Sartorio, P. V., Gomes, V., Phan, V. N. 2012. Assessment of genotoxicity and depuration of anthracene in juvenile coastal fish Trachinotus carolinus using the comet assay. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, v. 61, p. 215-222, 2013. DOI: 10.1590/S1679-87592013000400002.

Gomes, V., Phan, V. N., Passos, M. J. A. C. R., Rocha, A. J. S., Hasue, F. M., Machado, A. S. D., Sartorio, P. V., Ferreira, J. P. L., Vignardi, C. P., Campos, D. Y. F., Ito, M. 2013. Study on the effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV) and organic contaminants on Antarctic marine animals from shallow waters. Annual Activity Report Book APA, 126-130. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4322/apa.2014.109.

Gomes, V., Rocha, A. J. S., Passos, M. J. A. C. R., Botelho, M. T., Hasue, F. M., Vignardi, C. P., Phan, V. N. 2014. Biomonitoring of genotoxicity of shallow waters around the brazilian antarctic station comandante ferraz (eacf), admiralty bay, king george island, antarctica, using amphipod crustaceans. Annual Activity Report Book APA, 104-108. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4322/apa.2015.020.

Vignardi, C. P., Hasue, F. M., Sartorio, P. V., Cardoso, C. M., Machado, A. S. D., Santos, T. C. A., Nucci, J. M., Passos, M. J. A. C., Gomes, V., Phan, V. N. 2015. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles exhibit genotoxicity, potential cytotoxicity and possible tissue accumulation in marine fish, T. carolinus (Linnaeus, 1766). Aquatic Toxicology 158, 218-229. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2014.11.008.

Cardoso, C.M.; Sartorio, P.V.; Machado, A.S.D.; Vignardi, C.P.; Rojas, D.C.C; Passos, M.J.A.; Rocha, A. J. S., Phan, V.N.; Gomes, V. 2015. Hsp70 and p53 expressions and behavior of juvenile pompano, Trachinotus carolinus (Perciformes, Carangidae), at controlled temperature increase. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 470, 34-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2015.04.024.

Rocha, A. J. S., Botelho, M. T., Hasue, F. M., Passos, M. J. A. C. R., Vignardi, C. V., Phan, V. N., Gomes, V. 2015. Genotoxicity of shallow waters near the Brazilian Antarctic Station "Comandante Ferraz" (EACF), Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography 63(1), 63-70. DOI: 10.1590/S1679-87592015080906301.

Rocha, A. J. S., Botelho, M. T., Hasue, F. M., Passos, M. J. A. C. R., Cardoso, C. M., Vignardi, C. P., Phan, V. N., Gomes, V. 2017. Hsp70 and p53 expression in Gondogeneia antarctica amphipods collected in shallow waters around the Brazilian Antarctic Station “Comandante Ferraz” (EACF), Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 12(2), 97-107.

Machado, A. S. D., Cardoso, C. M., Sartorio, P. V., Costa, E. F. S., Vignardi, C. P., Hasue, F. M., Viadanna, P. H. O., Santos, D. M., Yasumaru, F. A., Marion, C., Gomes, V., Phan, V. N. 2017. Lethal thermal maximum temperature induces behavioral responses and protein expressions (Hsp70 and p53) in juvenile common carp (Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus). Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 12(4), 295-309. 

Vignardi, C. P., Tran, K., Muller, E. B., Means, J. C., Murray, J., Ortiz, C., Keller, A. A., Smith, N., Couture, J., Lenihan, H. S. Effects of Cu nanopesticides on the energy budget of the estuarine amphipod Leptocheirus plumulosus. In preparation.

Vignardi, C. P., Adeleye, A. S., Oranu, E., Miller, R. J., Keller, A. A., Holden, P. A., Lenihan, H. S. Aging of copper nanoparticles in the marine environment regulates toxicity to phytoplankton. In preparation.

Vignardi, C. P., Adeleye, A. S., Oranu, E., Miller, R. J., Keller, A. A., Holden, P. A., Lenihan, H. S. Aging in freshwater increases copper nanoparticle toxicity to marine phytoplankton. In preparation.