School of Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies

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Peter V. Hodson


Peter Hodson

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Biosciences Complex
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
K7L 3N6



Peter Hodson

In progress - PhD students

Julie Adams

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

Current Research​

Fish Toxicology

  • Role of hyporheic flows in fate, distribution, and effects of oil spilled to rivers
  • Toxicity of crude and refined oils and diluted bitumen to marine and freshwater fish species
  • Effect of chemical dispersants on oil toxicity
  • Toxicity test methods for crude and refined oils and diluted bitumen
  • The use of fluorescence spectrometry to characterize solutions of oil in water
  • Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), complex mixtures of PAH
  • Structure-activity relationships for PAH, including toxic equivalent factors 
  • Biomarkers of PAH exposure and toxicity
  • Role of chemical contamination in the decline of the American Eel
  • Contamination of St. Lawrence River sediments by DDD applications at EXPO 67

My current research includes a collaborative project with Valerie Langlois (RMC) on the toxicity of diluted bitumen to native fish species of Canada and the identification of molecular markers of oil exposure and effects.  Research funded by an NSERC Strategic Grant with Ana daSilva (CIVL – PI) and co-PIs Stephen Brown (CHEM, SES), Kevin Mumford (CIVL) and Allison Rutter (ASE, SES) and supported by Environment Canada and Northwest Hydraulics Inc is investigating the potential role of hyporheic flows in transporting oil droplets from surface waters of rivers into bed sediments where fish spawn.  Hyporheic flows are currents of water that move through porous gravel sediments due to pressure gradients caused by the flow of rivers over uneven bottom features of rivers.  Julie Adams, a PhD student in Environmental Studies, is investigating the toxicity to fish embryos of petroleum hydrocarbons that dissolve from stranded oil droplets in sediments, and developing exposure models that can replicate sediment oil contamination in rivers.

My past interests included 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 was 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 includes the role of alkyl substitution in the toxicity of petrogenic PAH, the identification of which PAH in crude and refined oils are toxic to fish, and how chemical dispersion of oil controls exposure to petrogenic PAH.  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.

Past research has been supported by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), 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 (DFO), and with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Invited Member of a Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on The Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments, January 13, 2015-June 30, 2015.

Teaching at Queen's

  • Guest Lecturer – ENSC 201; ENSC 203
  • Honours project in Environmental Studies (ENSC 502)
  • Graduate student supervision

(bold = students and PDFs)

  1. Hodson, PV, Adams, J., Brown, RS. 2019. Oil Toxicity Test Methods Must Be Improved.  Environ Toxicol Chem. 38:302-311.
  2. McDonnell, D., Madison, B.N., Baillon, L., Wallace, S.J., Brown, R.S., Hodson, P.V., S. Langlois, V.S. 2018. Comparative toxicity of two diluted bitumens to developing yellow perch (Perca flavescens). Sci Total Environ 655, 977–985. .
  3. Alsaadi, F.M.,  Madison, B.N., Brown, R.S. Hodson, P.V., Langlois, V.S. 2018. Morphological and molecular effects of two diluted bitumens on developing fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Aquat. Tox. 204:107-116.
  4. Hoobin, S.J., Byer, J.D., Alaee, M., Brown R.S. and Hodson, P.V. 2018.  Dioxin-like contaminants are no longer a risk to the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in Lake Ontario. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 37:1061–1070.
  5. Alsaadi, F., Hodson, P. V, & Langlois, V. S. 2018. An Embryonic Field of Study: The Aquatic Fate and Toxicity of Diluted Bitumen. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 100(1), 8–13.
  6. Bloch, S.R., Kim, J.J., Pham, P.H., Hodson, P.V., Lee, L.E.J., and Bols, N.C. 2017.  Responses of an American eel brain endothelial-like cell line to selenium deprivation and to selenite, selenate and selenomethionine additions in different exposure media.  In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal. 53:940-953.
  7. Madison, B.N., P.V. Hodson and V.S. Langlois. 2017.  Cold Lake Blend diluted bitumen toxicity to the early development of Japanese medaka. Environmental Pollution 225:579-586.
  8. Hodson, P.V. 2017.  The toxicity to fish embryos of PAH in crude and refined oils.  Arch. Env Contam Toxicol 73:12-18.  doi:10.1007/s00244-016-0357-6
  9. Adams, J., Charbonneau, K., Tuori, D., Brown, R.S. and Hodson, P.V. 2017. Review of Methods for Measuring the Toxicity to Aquatic Organisms of the Water Accommodated Fraction (WAF) and Chemically-Enhanced Water Accommodated Fraction (CEWAF) of petroleum. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2017/064. xi + 110 p.
  10. Adams, J., Charbonneau, K., Tuori, D., Brown, R.S., Hodson, P.V. 2017. The case for standardizing Oil Toxicity Test Methods.   pp 441-462, In : Proc 40th Arctic and Marine Oilspill Program Tech Seminar, Ottawa, ON.  Environmental Science and Technology Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Ottawa
  11. Pelletier, M., El-Fityani, T., Graham, A., Rutter, A., Michelutti, N.,  Zeng, D.M., Sivarajah, B., Smol, J.P., and Hodson, P.V. 2016. Tracking pesticide use in the Saint Lawrence River and its ecological impacts during the World Exhibition of 1967 in Montreal, Canada.  Sci Total Environ 572-498-507.
  12. Beyer, J., Trannum, H.C., Bakke, T., Hodson, P.V, and Collier, T. 2016. Environmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: a review.  Mar Poll Bull 110:28-51.
  13. Vehniäinen, E-R., Bremer, K., Scott, J.A., Junttila, S., Laiho, L., Gyenesei, A., Hodson, P.V., and Oikari, A.O.J. 2016.  Retene causes multifunctional transcriptomic changes in the heart of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) embryos.  Env Tox Pharmacol.  41:95-102.
  14. Rigaud, C., Couillard, C.M., Pellerin, J., Légaré, B., Byer, J.D., Alaee, M., Lebeuf, M.,. Casselman, J.M., Hodson, P.V. 2016 Temporal variations in embryotoxicity of Lake Ontario American eel (Anguilla rostrata) extracts to developing Fundulus heteroclitus. Sci. Total Environ. 541:765-776
  15. Lee, Kenneth (chair), Michel Boufadel, Bing Chen, Julia Foght, Peter Hodson, Stella Swanson, Albert Venosa. (2015). Expert Panel Report on the Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments. Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa, ON. ISBN: 978-1-928140-02-3
  16. Bloch, S.R, Vo, N.T.K., Walsh, S.K., Chen, C.C., Lee, L.E.J., Hodson, P.V. and Bols, N.C. 2015. Development of a cell line from the American eel brain expressing endothelial cell properties.  In Vitro Cell Develop Biol – Animal.  Published on-line Dec 29, 2015
  17. Madison, B.N., Hodson, P.V. and Langlois, V.S. 2015.  Diluted bitumen causes deformities and molecular responses indicative of oxidative stress in Japanese medaka embryos. Aq Toxicol 165:222-230.
  18. Byer, J.D., Lebeuf, M., Trottier, S., Raach, M., Alaee, M., Brown, R.S., Backus, S., Casselman, J., Hodson, P.V.  2015. Trends of Persistent Organic Pollutants in American eel (Anguilla rostrata) from Eastern Lake Ontario, Canada, and their potential effects on recruitment. Sci. Total Environ. 529: 231-242. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.05.054
  19. Lin, H., Morandi, G.D., Brown, R.S., Snieckus, V., Rantanen, T., Jørgensen, K.B., Hodson, P.V. 2015. Quantitative structure-activity relationships for chronic toxicity of alkyl-chrysenes and alkyl-benz[a]anthracenes to Japanese medaka embryos (Oryzias latipes).  Aq Toxicol 159:109-118.
  20. Hodson, P.V., Norris, K, Berquist, M., Campbell L.M., Ridal, J.J. 2014.  Mercury concentrations in fish and amphipods of the St. Lawrence River (Canada) are unrelated to concentrations of legacy mercury in sediments.  Sci. Total Environ 494-495:218-228.
  21. Redman, AD, Parkerton, TF, Letinski, DJ, Manning, RG, Adams, JE, Hodson, PV. 2014. Evaluating toxicity of heavy fuel oil fractions using complimentary modeling and biomimetic extraction methods. Environ Tox Chem 33:2094-2104
  22. Byer, J.D., Pacepavicius, G., Lebeuf, Brown, R.S., Backus, S., Hodson, P.V., Alaee, M. 2014.   Qualitative analysis of halogenated organic contaminants in American eel by gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Chemosphere 116:98-103.
  23. Rigaud, C, Couillard, CM, Pellerin, J, Légaré, B, Hodson, PV. 2014.  Applicability of the TCDD-TEQ approach to predict sublethal embryotoxicity in Fundulus heteroclitus.  Aq Toxicol 149:133-144.
  24. Adams, JE, Munno, K, Bornstein, J, King, T, Brown, RS, Hollebone, BP, Hodson, PV. 2014. Identification of compounds in heavy fuel oil that are chronically toxic to rainbow trout embryos through effects-driven chemical fractionation. Env Toxicol Chem 33:825-835. DOI: 10.1002/etc.2497
  25. Bornstein, JM, Adams, JE, Hollebone, B, King, T, Hodson, PV, Brown, RS. 2014. Effects-driven chemical fractionation of heavy fuel oil to isolate compounds toxic to trout embryos. Env Toxicol Chem 33:814-824.  DOI: 10.1002/etc.2492
  26. Martin, J.D., Adams, A., Hollebone, B.P., King, T., Brown, R.S., Hodson, P.V. 2014. Chronic toxicity of heavy fuel oils to fish embryos using multiple exposure scenarios.  Env Toxicol Chem 33:677-687. DOI: 10.1002/etc.2486
  27. Sühring, R., J. Byer, M. Freese, J-D. Pohlmann, H. Wolschke, A. Möller, P. V. Hodson, M. Alaee, R. Hanel, R. Ebinghaus. 2014. Brominated flame retardants and Dechloranes in European and American eels from glass to silver life stages. Chemosphere 116:104-111
  28. Adams, J., Sweezey, M.R., Hodson, P.V. 2014. Oil and oil dispersant do not cause synergistic toxicity to fish embryos.  Env Toxicol Chem.33:107-114. DOI:10.1002/etc.2397