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Queen's University

Peter V. Hodson



Department & Associations

Emeritus Professor, School of Environmental Studies & Department of Biology

Contact Information

Office: Rm 3122 Biosciences Complex
Phone: 613.533.6129
Fax: 613.533.6090

Mailing Address:Biosciences Complex Rm 3122,
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada,
K7L 3N6


Completed MES Students

Tamzin El-Fityani

Shirin Fallahtafti

Anna Graham

Helen Power

and graduate students from Biology, Chemistry and Civil Engineering.

Academic Training

Ph.D., Zoology, University of Guelph 1974
M.Sc., Biology, University of New Brunswick 1970
B.Sc., Physiology, McGill University 1968

Website - Inactive

Current Research

  • Fish Toxicology
  • Toxicological significance of chemical metabolism
  • Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, complex mixtures
  • Crude oil toxicity and interactions with chemical dispersants
  • Tools for assessing exposure and effects (biomarkers)
  • Toxic equivalent factors based on structure-activity; bioassays of short-term indicators
  • Transfer of sediment mercury through aquatic food webs in the St. Lawrence River.
  • Responses of fish populations to chemical stress
  • Role of chemical contamination in the decline of the American Eel

My primary interest is the role of metabolism in chemical toxicity to fish, with a focus on the reactive by-products of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolism by liver mixed function oxygenases enzymes (i.e. the cytochrome P450 or CYP1A enzymes). The goal is to understand the mechanism of PAH toxicity to the early life stages (embryos and larvae) of fish and the consequences for larval survival and recruitment. Research on mechanisms has extended to the role of alkyl substitution in PAH toxicity, the role of PAH in causing toxicity of crude and refined oils to fish, and the effect of chemical dispersion on oil toxicity.  The results are directly applicable to ecological risk assessment of PAHs from oil, coal tar, creosote, soot and the by-products of microbial degradation of resin acids from pulp mill effluents.  I have also been involved in studies of the transfer of mercury from point sources and from contaminated sediments through aquatic food webs of the St. Lawrence River, the contamination of St. Lawrence River sediments by pesticides used at EXPO 67, and the potential role of chemical contamination in the declining abundance of American eel in Lake Ontario.

My research has been supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's Best in Science program, and research contracts from the Canadian Offshore Oil and Gas Environmental Research (COOGER) centre, Department of Fisheries and Oceans. These grants facilitated collaboration with other scientists at Queen’s, the University of Waterloo,  the Université de Québec à Rimouski, the University of Maine, the University of Jyvaskyla and the University of Joensuu in Finland, with Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Past Teaching at Queen's

Note: Courses without links were taught in the past.

    • Environmental toxicology (co-instructor – ENSC 201)
    • Ecotoxicology (ENSC 325 and 425)
    • Honours project in Sustainability (co-instructor ENSC 400; 410)
    • Honours project in Environmental Studies (ENSC 502)
    • Honours thesis in Environmental Studies (ENSC 596)
    • Methodological and Conceptual Basis for Environmental Studies (co-instructor ENSC 801)
    • Graduate course in sustainability (co-instructor - ENSC 802)
    • Ecology and the Environment (BIOL 111)
    • Ecotoxicology Field Course (BIOL 307)
    • Biochemical adaptations to extreme environments (BIOL 506)
    • Honours projects (BIOL 537)
    • Environmental Issues (co-instructor - BIOL 849)
    • Fish toxicology (BIOL 856)

      Recent Journal Publications

      1. Byer, J.D., Alaee, M., Brown, R.S., Lebeuf, M., Backus, S., Keir, M., Pacepavicius, G., Casselman, J., Belpaire, C., Oliveira, K., and Verreault, G., Hodson, P.V.   2013. Spatial trends of dioxin-like compounds in Atlantic eels. : Chemosphere 91:1439-1446. 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.01.062  
      2. Razavi, NR,  JJ Ridal, W de Wit, MBC Hickey, LM Campbell and PV Hodson. 2013. Ebullition rates and mercury concentrations in St. Lawrence River sediments and a benthic invertebrate.  Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 32:857-865. DOI: 10.1002/etc.2118
      3. Hodson, PV. 2013. A history of environmental contamination by oil sands extraction.  Invited commentary.  Proc Nat Acad Sci 110:1569-1570.doi: 10.1073/pnas.1221660110
      4. Byer, J.D., Lebeuf, M., Alaee, M., Brown, R.S., Trottier, S., Backus, S., Keir, M., Casselman, J., Hodson, P.V.   2013. Spatial trends of organochlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Atlantic eels. Chemosphere  90:1719–1728
      5. Rigaud, C,  CM Couillard, J Pellerin, B Legare, P Gonzalez, PV Hodson. 2013. Relative potency of PCB126 to TCDD for sublethal embryotoxicity in the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus).  Aq Tox. 128-129:203-214
      6. Gagnon, M.M., Hodson, P.V. 2012. Field studies using fish biomarkers – how many fish are enough?  Mar. Poll. Bull. 64 :2871-2876
      7. Greer, CD, Hodson, PV, Li, Z, King, T, Lee, L. 2012. Toxicity of crude oil chemically dispersed in a wave tank to Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) embryos. Env. Tox. Chem. 31: 1324-1333
      8. Wu, D., Wang, Z., Hollebone, B., McIntosh, S., King, T., Hodson, P.V. 2012. Comparative toxicity of four chemically-dispersed and undispersed crude oils to rainbow trout embryos.  Environ Toxicol Chem 31:754-765 
      9. Arthur, T., Harjani, J.R., Phan, L., Scott, L.M., Jessop, P.G., Hodson, P.V. 2012.  Effects-driven chemical design: the acute toxicity of CO2-triggered switchable surfactants to rainbow trout can be predicted from octanol-water partition coefficients.  Green Chem 15:357-362.  DOI: 10.1039/C1GC15620A
      10. Fallahtafti, S., Rantanen, T., Brown, R.S., Snieckus, V., Hodson, P.V. 2012.  Toxicity of hydroxylated alkyl-phenanthrenes to the early life stages of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes).  Aq. Tox. 106-107:56-64 doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2011.10.007 publ ol 8 /11/11
      11. Turcotte, D,  Headley, JV, Abudulai, NL, Hodson, PV, Brown, RS. 2011.  Identification of phase II in vivo metabolites of alkyl-anthracenes in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Chemosphere 85:1585-1591  doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.08.005
      12. Turcotte, D., , Akhtar, P., Bowerman, M., Kiparissis, Y., Brown, R.S., Hodson, P.V. 2011. Measuring the toxicity of alkyl-phenanthrenes to early life stages of medaka (Oryzias latipes)using partition controlled delivery. Environ Toxicol Chem 30:487–495, 2011(doi: 10.1002/etc.404)
      13. Scott, JA, Incardona, JP, Pelkki, K, Shepardson, S, Hodson, P.V. 2011.AhR2-mediated, CYP1A-independent cardiovascular toxicity in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos exposed to retene. Aq. Tox 101:165–174. doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.09.016
      14. Kelly, EN, Schindler, DW, Hodson, PV, Short,JW, Radmanovich, R, Nielsen, CW. 2010. Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations in the Athabasca River and its tributaries. PNAS 107:16178-16183. www.pnas.doi/10.1073/pnas.1008754107
      15. McIntosh, S, King, T, Wu, D, Hodson, PV. 2010.  Toxicity of dispersed crude oil to early life stages of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus). Environ Toxicol. Chem 29:1160-1167
      16. Ridal, J.J., E. Yanch, A. Fowlie, N.R. Razavi, T. Delongchamp, M. Fathi,  P.V. Hodson, L.M. Campbell, J.M. Blais, M.B.C. Hickey, E. Yumihovize, and D.R.S. Lean. 2010. Potential Causes of Accelerated Transfer of Sediment Mercury to St. Lawrence River Biota: Implications for Sediment Management Strategies at Cornwall, Ontario, Canada.  Hydrobiologia 647:81-98.
      17. Kelly, EN, Short, JW, Schindler, DW, Hodson, PV, Ma, M, Kwan, AK, Fortin, BL. 2009.  Oil sands development contributes polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Athabasca River and its tributaries. PNAS 106:22346-22351.
      18. Scott, JA , M Ross , BC Lemire, PV Hodson. 2009.  Embryotoxicity of retene in cotreatment with 2-aminoanthracene, a cytochrome P450 inhibitor in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Env Tox. Chem. 28:1304-1310.
      19. Boudreau, M., M Sweezey, K Lee, PV Hodson, SC Courtenay. 2009. Toxicity of Orimulsion-400 to early life stages of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus). Env Toxicol Chem. 28:1206-1217
      20. Schein, A, JA Scott, L Mos, PV Hodson. 2009. Chemical dispersant increases the apparent bioavailability and toxicity of diesel to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Env. Tox. Chem.  28:595-602


      Refereed Technical Reports & Conference Proceedings

      Byer, JD, M Alaee, RS Brown, M Lebeuf, S Trottier, S Backus, S Blunt, M Keir, M Konefal, G Pacepavicius, PV Hodson. 2010. Brominated flame retardants in American eel: a reason for the eel’s decline? Submitted for inclusion in conference proceedings. "Fifth International Symposium on Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR 2010)," Kyoto, Japan, April 7-9, 2010. Available on-line at

      Byer, J.D., Alaee, M., Brown, R.S., Backus, S., Keir, M., Pacepavicius, G., Lebeuf, M., Casselman, J., Kennedy, S., Hodson, P. V. 2009. Organohalogen Compd 71, 352-356 (Proceedings, Dioxin 2009, 29th International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants. Beijing, China, Aug 23-28, 2009)

      Books, Book Chapters

      Hodson, PV, RJ Reash, SP Canton, PV Campbell, CG Delos, A Fairbrother, NP Hitt, LL Miller, HM Ohlendorf. 2010. Selenium Risk Characterization Chap 7 in: Chapman PM, Adams WJ, Brooks ML, Delos CG, Luoma SN, Maher WA, Ohlendorf HM, Presser TS, Shaw DP (eds). Ecological Assessment of Selenium in the Aquatic Environment. SETAC Press, Pensacola, FL, USA

      Welbourn, P, P Hodson, and S. Rose 2009. Cataraqui park (Belle island Landfill). Chapter 10.6 in Welbourn, P, H. Cleghorn, J. Davis, and S Rose (eds) The story of brownfields. Smart growth in Kingston Ontario. From contamination to revitalization. Classroom Complete Press, Kingston, ON

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