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Rebecka Brasso, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor of Biology
(573) 651-2358
Office: Rhodes Hall  213

Teaches: Wildlife toxicology, Management of Wildlife Habitats, Ornithology, Introduction to Toxicology
Research: Ornithology and ecotoxicology; effects of heavy metals (Pb, Hg) on songbirds, Hg cycling in wetlands of SE Missouri
Advises: Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Organismal, Ecological and Environmental Biology


My research centers on the use of birds as biomonitors of lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) availability in a variety of ecosystems.  In particular, I am interested in research questions that examine variation in exposure to heavy metals across small and large spatial scales as well as over time. With a background in paleoecology, my research often tackles questions across geologic time scales as well. While my target study species are often songbirds, especially nest-box breeding songbirds, I enjoy collaborating on research projects focused on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and am getting my feet wet in the world of reptiles and amphibians.  In addition to my website, my lab maintains an active presence on Twitter @SeeMoBirds.

Selected publications (see personal website for a complete list of publications):

Emslie SD, Brasso RL, Patterson W, Valera AC, McKenzie A, Silva AM, Gleason J, Blum J. 2015. Chronic mercury exposure in Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic populations in Portugal from the cultural use of cinnabar. Chronic mercury exposure in Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic populations in Portugal from the cultural use of cinnabar. Scientific Reports 5:14679, DOI: 10.1038/srep14679.

Brasso RL, Chiaradia A, Polito MJ, Raya Rey A, Emslie S. 2015. A comprehensive assessment of mercury exposure in penguin populations throughout the Southern Hemisphere: Using trophic calculations to identify sources of population-level variation. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 97: 408-418.

Brasso RL, Polito MJ, Emslie SD. 2014. Multi-tissue analyses reveal limited inter-annual and seasonal variation in mercury exposure in an Antarctic penguin community.  Ecotoxicology 23: 1494-1504.

Cristol DA, Brasso RL, Condon AM, Fovargue RE, Friedman SL, Hallinger KK, Monroe AP, White AE.  2008. The movement of aquatic mercury through terrestrial food webs. Science320:335.

Brasso RL, Cristol DA. 2008. Effects of mercury exposure on the reproductive success of tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Ecotoxicology 17:133-141.


Rhodes Hall 224
Department of Biology
One University Plaza, MS 6200
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701