Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology


College of Graduate Studies

First Advisor

John A. Bowden

Second Advisor

Jessica L. Reiner

Third Advisor

John E. Baatz

Fourth Advisor

Jefrey E. Korte


This dissertation addresses perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) profiles in American alligators, Mozambique tilapia, and Striped mullet in relation to various parameters including sex, season, disease (i.e. pansteatitis), and fecundity. This dissertation hypothesizes that PFAA are affected by sex, season, and health (pansteatitis), but conversely that PFAAs also affect health (fecundity). To address sex and season, PFAA levels were assessed in alligator plasma across Florida and South Carolina (n = 125, years 2012 - 2015) including an in depth look at alligators at Merritt Island (n = 229, years 2008 – 2009). At these sites, PFAAs revealed sex-based differences for a number of the PFAAs investigated but did not reveal seasonality in PFAAs in alligator plasma. To address the effect of health on PFAAs, a population of Mozambique tilapia affected by an environmentally-derived inflammatory disease (pansteatitis) were investigated. Contrary to our hypothesis that diseased tilapia would have higher levels of PFAAs, healthy tilapia maintained higher PFAA levels in the liver, kidney, and plasma compared to diseased tilapia (p-value < 0.05), but despite being contrary to the hypothesis, results still suggests health status affects PFAA profile in tilapia. To address PFAA effect on health, PFAA levels and fecundity measures were investigated in wild-caught, Striped mullet liver from Merritt Island to further assess if the measured levels of PFAA could affect fecundity. Results revealed higher PFAA were not correlated to reduced fecundity. However, changes in stages of oocyte development correlated with changes in liver PFAAs. Of the PFAAs with significant changes by sub-stage, the carboxylic acids (PFOA, PFNA, and PFTRiA) increased in the liver with increasing sub- stage of oocyte development while the sulfonic acid and its precursor (PFOS and PFOSA, respectively) decreased in the liver with increasing stage of oocyte development. This is a unique finding and suggests PFAAs change location of compartmentalization as mullet progress towards spawning. This results also show that in addition to PFAAs changing with sex, and disease, PFAA profile in a wildlife species (striped mullet) also change with oocyte development during spawning. Overall, this dissertation determines that sex, health status, and reproductive status (oocyte development prior to spawning) are all factors that have the potential to influence PFAA profiles in a number of wildlife species.


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