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Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Hale Home Page

Robert C. Hale

Professor of Marine Science

Email : [[hale]]
Phone : (804) 684-7228
Office : Chesapeake Bay Hall S310
Department : Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health

Education
  • B.S. Biology, B.A. Chemistry, Wayne State University, 1979
  • Ph.D., College of William and Mary, 1983
Research Interests

My primary research interests center on the identification of anthropogenic organic pollutants and the elucidation of their sources, fate, bioavailability and effects on ecosystems. 

Specific Projects & Interests
  • Organic contaminants in organisms, including fishes of Virginia waters.
  • Identification of pollutants released via the water, air and to soil following sewage sludge (biosolids) applications and associated effects.
  • Bioavailability of sludge-associated chemicals to terrestrial and aquatic organisms.
  • Sources, analysis, fate and effects of brominated flame retardants and non-ionic detergents in the environment.
  • Consequence of plastic debris in terrestrial & aquatic environments
Selected Publications
  • La Guardia, M. J.; R. C. Hale; E. Harvey; T. M. Mainor; S. Ciparis. Inpress 2012. In-situ accumulation of HBCD, PBDEs and several alternativeflame-retardants in the bivalve (Corbicula fluminea) and gastropod (Elimiaproxima). Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Hale, R.C., La Guardia, M.J., Harvey, E., Chen, D., Mainor, T.M., Luellen, D.R., Hundal, L.S.  2012.  Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in U.S. sewage sludges and biosolids: Temporal and geographical trends and uptake by corn following land application. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46(4):2055-63.
  • Gaylor, M.O.; Harvey, E.; Hale, R.C.  2012. House crickets can accumulate polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) directly from polyurethane foam common in consumer products.  Chemosphere 86, 500505.
  • Chen, D., La Guardia, M.J., Luellen, D.R.,  Harvey, E., Mainor, T.M., Hale, R.C.  2011. Do Temporal and Geographical Patterns of HBCD and PBDE Flame Retardants in U.S. Fish Reflect Evolving Industrial Usage?  Environ. Sci. Technol. 45, 82548261.
  • La Guardia, M.J., Hale, R.C., Harvey, E., Chen, D. 2011. Comment on "Identification of Monochloro-Nonabromodiphenyl Ethers in the Air and Soil samples from South China".  Environ. Sci. Technol., 45:6707.
  • La Guardia, M. J., R.C. Hale, E. Harvey, D. Chen. 2010. Flame-retardants and other organohalogens detected in sewage sludge by electron capture negative ion mass spectrometry.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 44:4658–4664. 
  • Chen, D., R.C. Hale. 2010. A global review of polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in birds.  Environ. Intern. 36(7):800-811.
  • Chen, D., B.D. Watts, M.J. La Guardia, E. Harvey, L. Mojica, R.C. Hale. 2010. Species-specific accumulation of polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in birds of prey from the Chesapeake Bay region, USA.  Environ. Pollut. 158: 1883-1889.
  • Rice, S., R.C. Hale.  2009. Parameters for ultra-performance liquid chromatographic/tandem mass spectrometric analysis of selected androgens versus estrogens in aqueous matrices. Anal. Chem. 81:6716–6724.
  • Chen, D., X. Zhang, B. Mai,  J. Song, Q. Sun, Y. Luo, X. Luo, E.Y. Zeng, R.C. Hale.  2009. Polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in various bird species from Northern China.  Environ. Poll. 157:2023-2029.
  • Potter, K., B. Watt, M.J. La Guardia, E.P. Harvey, R.C. Hale.  2009.  Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in Chesapeake Bay region peregrine falcon eggs: urban/rural trends.  Environ. Toxicol. Chem.  28:973-981.
  •  McKernan, M.A., B.A. Ratner, R.C. Hale, M.A. Ottinger. 2009. Toxicity of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (DE-71) in developing chicken (Gallus gallus), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), and American kestrel (Falco sparverius) embryos and hatchlings.  Environ Toxicol. Chem. 28:1007-1017.
  • Chen, D., MJ. La Guardia, E. Harvey, M. Amaral, K.Wohlfort, R.C. Hale.   2008. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) eggs from the Northeastern U.S. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42:7594-7600.
  • Hale, R.C., S.L. Kim, E. Harvey, M.J. La Guardia, T.M. Mainor, E.O. Bush, E.M. Jacobs. 2008. Antarctic research bases: Local sources of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42:1452-1457.
  • Sullivan, C.A., C.L. Mitchelmore, R.C. Hale, P.A. Van Veld. 2007. Induction CYP1A and DNA damage in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) following exposure to biosolids. Sci. Total Environ. 384:221-228.
  • La Guardia, M. J., R.C. Hale, E. Harvey. 2007. Evidence of debromination of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-209) in biota from a wastewater receiving stream. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41:6663-6670.
  • Chen, D., B. Mai, J. Song, Q. Sun, Y. Luo, X. Luo, E.Y. Zeng, R.C. Hale. 2007. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers in birds of prey from Northern China. Environ. Sci. Technol.
  • Wu, N., T. Herrmann, O. Paepke, J. Tickner, R. Hale, E. Harvey, M. La Guardia, M. McClean and T. Webster. 2007. Human exposure to PBDEs: Associations of PBDE body burdens with food consumption and house dust concentrations. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41:1584-1589.
  • La Guardia, M.J., R.C. Hale, E. Harvey. 2006. Detailed polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congener composition of the widely used Penta-, Octa-, and Deca-PBDEs technical flame-retardant mixtures. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40: 6247-6254.
  • Hale, R.C., M.J. La Guardia, E. Harvey, M.O. Gaylor and T. M. Mainor. 2006. Brominated flame retardant concentrations and trends in abiotic media. Chemosphere. 64:181-186.
  • Ciparis, S. and R.C. Hale. 2005. Bioavailability of polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in biosolids and spiked sediment to the aquatic oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegates. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 24 154-163.
  • La Guardia, M.J., R.C. Hale, E. Harvey, E.O. Bush, T.M. Mainor and *M.O. Gaylor. 2004. Organic contaminants of emerging concern in land-applied sewage sludge (biosolids). J. Residuals Sci. Technol. 1111-122.
  • Mezin, L. and R.C. Hale. 2004. Effect of humic acids on toxicity of DDT and chlorpyrifos to freshwater and estuarine invertebrates. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 23583-590.
  • Mezin, L. and R.C. Hale. 2004. Combined effects of humic acid and salinity on SPMD of DDT and chlorpyrifos, an estimator of their bioavailability. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 23 576-582.
  • Rattner, B.A., P.C. McGowan, N.H. Golden, Hatfield, J.S., P.C. Toschik, R.F. Lukei Jr., R.C. Hale, I. Schmitz-Afonso and C.P. Rice. 2004. Contaminant exposure and reproductive success of ospreys (Pandion halietus) nesting in Chesapeake Bay Regions of Concern. Archives Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 47(1) 126-140.
  • Chu, F-L.E., P. Soundant, and R.C. Hale. 2003. Relationship between PCB accumulation and reproductive output in conditioned oysters Crassostrea virginica fed a contaminated algal diet. Aquatic Toxicol. 65293-307.
  • Hale, R.C., M. Alaee, J.B. Manchester-Neesvig, H.M. Stapleton, M.G. Ikonomou. 2003. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants in the North American environment. Environment International 29771-779.
  • Hale, R.C. and M.J. La Guardia. 2002. Emerging contaminants of concern in coastal and estuarine environments. Chapter 3 in Risk Assessment in Coastal and Estuarine Environments. Ed. M.C. Newman, M.H. Roberts Jr. and R.C. Hale. pp. 41-72.
  • Hale, R.C., M.J. La Guardia, E. Harvey and T.M. Mainor. 2002. The potential role of fire retardant-treated polyurethane foam as a source of brominated diphenyl ethers to the US environment. Chemosphere 46:729-735.
  • Newman M.C., R.C. Hale and M.H. Roberts Jr. 2002. Synthesis of concepts in ecological risk of coastal environments. Chapter 13 in Risk Assessment in Coastal and Estuarine Environments. Ed. M.C. Newman, M.H. Roberts Jr. and R.C. Hale. pp. 327-336.
  • Roberts Jr., M.H., M.C. Newman and R.C. Hale. 2002. Overview of ecological risk assessment in coastal and estuarine environments. Chapter 1 in Risk Assessment in Coastal and Estuarine Environments. Ed. M.C. Newman, M.H. Roberts Jr. and R.C. Hale. pp. 1-13.
  • Chu, F-L., A.K. Volety, R.C. Hale and Y. Huang. 2002. Cellular responses and disease expression in oysters (Crassostrea virginica) exposed to field contaminated sediments. Mar. Envir. Res. 53:17-35.
  • Hale, R.C., M.J. LaGuardia, E. Harvey, M.O. Gaylor and W.H. Duff. 2001. Flame retardants: Persistent pollutants in land-applied sludges. Nature 412:141-2.
  • Hale, R.C., M.J. La Guardia. 2001. Directions in Science: Synthetic organic pollutants in land-applied sewage sludges. TheScientificWorld 1, 10-13.
  • Hale, R.C., M.J. La Guardia, E.P. Harvey, T.M. Mainor, W.H. Duff, M.O. Gaylor. 2001. Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in Virginia freshwater fishes (USA). Env. Sci.& Technol. 35:4585-4591.
  • M.J. LaGuardia, R.C. Hale, E. Harvey and T.M. Mainor. 2001. Alkylphenol ethoxylate degradation products in land applied sewage sludges (biosolids). Env. Sci. Technol. 35:4798-4804.
  • Hale, R.C., M.J. La Guardia, E.P. Harvey, T.M. Mainor, W.H. Duff, *M.O. Gaylor, E.M. Jacobs and G.L. Mears. 2000. Comparison of brominated diphenyl ether fire retardant and organochlorine burdens in fish from Virginia Rivers (USA). Organohalogen Cpds. 47:65-72.
  • Hale, R.C., C.L. Smith, P.O. de Fur, E. Harvey, E.O. Bush, M.J. La Guardia and G.G. Vadas. 2000. Nonylphenols in sediments and effluents associated with diverse Virginia (USA) wastewater outfalls. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 19:946-952.   
  • Mezin, L. and R.C. Hale. 2000. Effects of contaminated sediment on the epidermis of the mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus.   Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 19:2779-2787.   
  • Padma, T.V., R.C. Hale, M. H. Roberts, Jr and R.N. Lipcius.  1999. Toxicity of creosote water soluble fractions generated from contaminated sediments to the bay mysid. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Safety 42:171-176.   
  • Hale, R.C., C. Enos and K. Gallagher.  1998. Sources and distribution of polychlorinated terphenyls (PCTs) at a major U.S. aeronautics research facility. Environ. Management 22:937-945.   
  • Hale, R.C. and K.M. Aneiro. 1997. Invited Review: Detection of coal tar and creosote constituents in the aquatic environment. J. Chromatogr.A 774:79-95.   
  • Hale, R.C and C.L. Smith. 1996. A multiresidue approach for trace organic pollutants: Application to effluents and associated aquatic sediments and biota from the Southern Chesapeake Bay drainage basin 1985-1992.  Intern. J. Environ. Anal. Chem. 64:21-33.   
  • Hale, R.C. and M. Gaylor. 1995. Analysis of PCBs in fish tissues using supercritical fluid extraction.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 29:1043-1047.
  • Chu, F.L. and R.C. Hale. 1994. Relationship between pollution and susceptibility to infectious disease in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Environ. Res. 38:243-256.
  • Gallagher, K., R.C. Hale, J. Greaves, E.O. Bush and D.A. Stillwell. 1993. Trophic level distribution of polychlorinated terphenyls in aquatic species inhabiting a tidal creek.  Ecotox. Environ. Safety 26:302-312.
  • Mothershead, R.F., II and R.C. Hale. 1992. Influence of ecdysis on the accumulation of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons in field exposed blue crabs. Mar. Environ. Res. 33:145-156.
  • Mothershead, R.F., II and R.C. Hale. 1991.  Lipophilic pollutants in blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, collected from the heavily contaminated Elizabeth River, Virginia. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 10:1341-1349.
  • Hale, R.C., J. Greaves, *K. Gallagher and G. Vadas. 1990.  Novel chlorinated terphenyls in sediments and shellfish of an estuarine environment.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 24:1727-1731.
  • Hale, R.C.  1989.  Accumulation and biotransformation of an organophosphorus pesticide in fish and bivalves.  Mar. Environ. Res. 28:67-71.
  • Hale, R.C.  1988.  Disposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds in blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, from the southern Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 11:255-263.
Past Students

PhD:

  • M. Gaylor, 2010. Accumulation potential of PBDEs from land-applied biosolids and flame retarded polymers by terrestrial insects
  • D. Chen. 2009. Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in birds of prey from the U.S. and China.
  • L. Mezin. 2001. Effects of humic acids and salinity on pesticide bioavailability and toxicity as estimated by SPME and toxicity tests
  • M. Rybitski. 2000. Effect of PCBs on Amphibian Development.
  • K. Gallagher. 1995. Occurrence, fate and effects of polychlorinated terphenyls in an estuarine environment.
  • J. Gundersen. 1995. Acid dissociation of chloroguiacols and pH dependent sorption to estuarine sediments.

Masters:

  • S. Sifleet. 2009. Disposition of decaBDE in chicken embryos following yolk injection.
  • S. Rice. 2009. Analysis of selected estrogens and androgens in the presence of environmental matrix interferences using ultra-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry.
  •  E. Jacobs. 2008. (W&M Chemistry Dept.). Identification and quantification of polycyclic musks and methyl-triclosan in fish.
  • M. La Guardia.  2006. (W&M Chemistry Dept.). Sources, distribution and fate of PBDEs in a freshwater stream system.
  • S. Ciparis.  2003.  Uptake of brominated diphenyl ether flame retardants from biosolids by Lumbriculus variegates.
  • M. Gaylor. (W&M Chemistry Dept.). 1997. Development of supercritical fluid extraction for the determination of PCBs in tissues of aquatic biota.
  • L. Mezin. 1994. The effects of contaminated sediment on the epidermal goblet cells of the mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus.
  •  P. Venkatraman. 1994. Toxicity of water-soluble fractions generated from creosote and contaminated sediments to the bay mysid.
  • M. Rybitski. 1993. Distribution of organochlorine pollutants in sea turtles.
  • J. Haner. 1993. Comparison of uptake and disposition of organic pollutants in intermolt and ecdysial blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus.
  • R. Mothershead. 1991. Contaminant accumulation in hard and soft-shell blue crabs.
Courses Taught / Teaching
  • MS 562 Environmental Pollution
  • Chem 409 Chemistry Research (W&M)
  • Chem 320 Introduction to Research (W&M)
  • Chem 496 Honors Chemistry Research (W&M)
Faculty/ Staff/ Student Awards
  • VIMS Outstanding Professionals and Professional Faculty Award 2011. M. La Guardia
  • John M. & Marilyn Zeigler Award-Outstanding VIMS Graduate 2010. D. Chen
  • George R. Healy Fellowship. VIMS. 2008. D. Chen
  • William J Hargis, Jr. Fellowship. VIMS. 2007. S. Rice.
  • Graduate Student Research Award. SETAC Chesapeake and Potomac Regional Chapter. 2007. S. Rice
  • Best Master's Student Platform Presentation. Pacific Northwest Chapter SETAC meeting 2007. C. Sullivan. Major Prof P. VanVeld.
  • VIMS Outstanding Employee in Research and Advisory Service 2006. M. La Guardia
  • Best Student Publication Award. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry 2005. S. Ciparis
  • Highest Honors Thesis in Chemistry (W&M). 2004. K. Potter
  •  Outstanding Employee for Technical Support 2004. Ellen Harvey
  • SETAC-CPRC Graduate Student Paper Award. 2003. M. Gaylor
  • SETAC-CPRC Graduate Student Research Award. 2003. M. Gaylor
  •  College of William & Mary, Employee of the Month April 2002. M. La Guardia
  • SETAC-CPRC Student Travel Award. 2002. S. Ciparis
  • SETAC-CPRC Student Travel Award. 2002. M. Gaylor
  • SETAC-CPRC Student Travel Award. 2001. M. Gaylor
  • SETAC-CPRC Graduate Student Award.  2000.  M. Gaylor
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Research Biology Fellowship. 1999. P. Rajan (undergrad)
  • High Honors Thesis in Chemistry (W&M). 1999. M. Jacobs (undergrad)
  • Honorable mention – Virginia Junior Academy of Science – Environmental Science Division. Gloucester HS Science Project. 1999. B. Oesterling
  • W&M Environmental Sciences & Policy Summer Research Fellowship. 1998. M. Jacobs (undergrad)
  • Honorable mention - State Junior Science Competition - Microbiology Division. Gloucester HS Science Project. 1998. B. Oesterling
  • Best Graduate Student Presentation - 50th Annual Virginia Water Environment Association Conference. 1996. M. Gaylor
  • Best Undergraduate Student Presentation - 50th Annual Virginia Water Environment Association Conference 1996.  B. Bierwagen
  • High Honors Thesis in Chemistry (W&M) 1996.  B. Bierwagen (undergrad)
  • VIMS Women in Science Award 1994.  K. Gallagher
  • NSF Travel Fellowship-Japan 1993.  K. Gallagher
  • NSF Travel Fellowship-Japan 1993.  J. Gundersen
  • Best Student Paper Award. 13th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. Jekyll Island, 1993.  M. Rybitski
  • The Henri Seibert Award for Outstanding Student Presentation. 2nd place. Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. El Paso, Texas. 1993. M. Rybitski
  • Zeigler Award-Outstanding VIMS Graduate 1991. R. Mothershead
Professional Memberships
  • American Chemical Society: Environmental Chemistry Division
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Recent Collaborative / Interdisciplinary Efforts
  • S. Wing (University of North Carolina,School of Public Health).  Human exposure to biosolids constituents
  • B. Mai (State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences) PBDEs in the Chinese environment
  • S. Kim (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories) Contaminants in fish and sediments collected near the McMurdo (Antarctica) Research Station
  • B. Rattner (USGS Patuxent Research Center) Persistent organic pollutants in US ospreys
  • B. Watts (W&M Conservation Biology) Persistent organic pollutants in US peregrine falcons
  • With Virginia DEQ and Dr. Gary Rice (William and Mary - Chemistry Department): Assessment of pollutants in fish and sediments of Virginia tributaries