The Marine Biological Association

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Dr Bill Langston

Associate Fellow,

Marine Biological Association, The Laboratory Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB

Tel: 44(0)1752 426361


Research interests

Bill Langston is head of the ecotoxicology laboratory at the MBA, investigating the behaviour and effects of contaminants (metals, metalloids, organometals, radionuclides and persistent organics). Research encompasses fundamental and strategic studies into the impact of human activities and waste inputs in aquatic ecosystems. Specific themes include: Partitioning, bioavailability and impact of sediment-bound chemicals; Bioaccumulation pathways, processes and models; Metabolism and detoxification of pollutants; Use of biomarkers to measure the health of the estuarine and marine environment.

Current prominence is given to the study of nanoparticle (NP) impacts -investigating sublethal effects in microalgae, crustacea and mollusca in relation to structure and activity of NP. Development of protocols to characterize NP interaction with cell membranes, biochemical systems and links to higher order responses such as growth, development and survival are a major goal. Ongoing projects also include: Endocrine disrupting effects in molluscs in response to oestrogenic and anti-androgenic chemicals; Impact and recovery of benthic ecosystems from organotin (TBT) contamination and other long-term pollution scenarios; Relative importance of biological, physical and chemical processes on the transport and speciation of pollutants; Distinguishing natural and anthropogenic metals; Application of biological-effects tools to assist in monitoring.  Results of this research help to inform UK policy on environmental pollution.

Sample publications

Langston, W.J., Burt, G.R., & Chesman, B.S. (2007)  Feminisation of male clams Scrobicularia plana from estuaries in South West UK and its induction by endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 333:173-184.

Chesman, B.S., O’ Hara, S., Burt G.R. and Langston W.J. (2007). Hepatic metallothionein and total oxyradical scavenging capacity in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua caged in open sea contamination gradients. Aquatic Toxicology, 84, 310-320

Langston, WJ. Harino, H and Pope ND (2009). Behaviour of Organotins in the Coastal Environment .  In: Ecotoxicology of Antifouling Biocides; Arai, T.; Harino, H.; Ohji, M.; Langston, W.J. (Eds.), Springer, Japan. ISBN: 978-4-431-85708-2, pp 75-94

Hagger, J.A., Galloway, T.S., Langston, W.J. and Jones, M.B. (2009). Application of biomarkers to assess the condition of European marine sites. Environmental Pollution 157, 2003–2010

Petridis, P, Jha A and Langston WJ. (2009) Measurements of the genotoxic potential of (xeno-) oestrogens in the bivalve mollusc Scrobicularia plana, using the Comet assay. Aquatic Toxicology, 94, 8–15

Galante-Oliveira,S., Oliveira, I.,  Jonkers, N., Langston, W.J., Pacheco, M. and Barroso, C.M. (2009). Imposex levels and tributyltin pollution in Ria de Aveiro (NW Portugal) between 1997 and 2007: evaluation of legislation effectiveness.  J. Environ. Monit., 2009, 11, 1405 – 1411

Langston, W. J., Jonas, P. J. C. & Millward G.E. (Eds) (2010). The Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel: A 25 Year Critical Review.  Marine Pollution Bulletin. 61,  issues 1-3

Langston, W. J., Pope, N. D., Jonas, P. J. C., Nikitic, C., Field, M. D. R., Dowell, B., Shillabeer, N., Swarbrick, R. H. & Browne. A. R. (2010).  Contaminants in fine sediments and their consequences for biota of the Severn Estuary. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 61,   68-82. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2009.12.014

Langston, W. J., O’Hara, S. C.M , Pope, N. D. Davey, M., Shortridge, E., Imamura, M., Harino, H. Kim, A. and Vane,  C. H.  (2012).  Bioaccumulation surveillance in Milford Haven Waterway.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 184 (1) 289-311  doi 10.1007/s10661-011-1968-z

Pope, N. D., O’Hara, S. C. M. , Imamura, M., Hutchinson, T. H. and Langston, W. J.  (2011). Influence of a collapsed coastal  landfill on metal levels in sediments and biota—a portent for the future? Journal of Environmental Monitoring (In Press). DOI: 10.1039/c0em00741b

Langston, W.J, O’Hara, S.C.M, Pipe, R.K. & Pope, N.D. (2011). Nanoparticles and their effects on phytoplankton, JMBA Global Marine Environment, 14, 6-7.

Further publications