Research InterestsPhoto of RIngwood, Amy

  • Environmental Toxicology:  One of my primary research interests involves understanding the cellular and physiological effects of environmental toxins (nanoparticles, metals, oil products, algal toxins, etc.) on estuarine and marine invertebrates, and the development of these systems as biomedical models for understanding the effects of toxins on basic cellular processes. While the primary model organisms for these studies have been bivalve mollusks (oysters, clams, mussels, scallops), studies have also been conducted using a variety of invertebrate species (e.g. shrimp, crabs, cnidarians, sea urchins), with developmental stages as well as adults.
  • Cellular Biomarkers:  Cellular biomarkers provide valuable diagnostic information about the integrated responses of organisms to various environmental stressors, and serve as early warning indicators, similar to diagnostic tests used in human medicine.  Therefore an important aspect of my research is to evaluate organismal health based on a variety of cellular biomarker responses including:  antioxidants (e.g. glutathione, catalase, superoxide dismutase), cellular damage (e.g. lysosomal dysfunction, lipid peroxidation, DNA damage) , and stress protein responses (e.g. heat shock proteins, multi-xenobiotic resistance proteins, metallothioneins).   We also work to identify how these cellular level responses relate to population issues by evaluating relationships between cellular biomarkers and  reproductive success (gamete viability and developmental processes).
  • Trace Metal Biology: Some trace metals (Zn, Cu, Mn, Cr, etc.) are essential for normal function of many important enzymes and proteins (including DNA polymerase, carbonic anhydrase, alkaline phosphatase). Others (such as Pb, Hg, Cd) have no known biological function and are highly toxic; it is important to realize that all metals, even essential trace metals can also be toxic at high concentrations. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms (e.g. metal binding proteins such as metallothioneins) associated with regulation of essential and toxic trace metals, especially with regards to developmental processes, calcification processes, and hepatic function.
  • Marine and Freshwater Ecology: The distribution and success of animals that live in various aquatic habitats are often related to many natural environmental variables (temperature, salinity and alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, etc.). Often these factors vary over a 24 hr period as well as seasonally. Using real-time in situ water quality monitors that periodically collect data (for temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH) over days or weeks, we have begun to characterize the impacts of variable environmental conditions on the biota, and to understand species-specific tolerances. Sessile organisms or organisms with low motility (such as marine bivalves and barnacles, fresh water mussels) are especially valuable for these kinds of studies since they are forced to deal with the conditions – they must adapt or die.

Professional Experience

  • Visiting Scientist, University of New South Wales, Australia.  2010 and 2012.
  • Visiting Scientist, University of Canberra, Australia.  2012.
  • Associate Professor, UNC Charlotte. 2009 – Current
  • Assistant Professor, UNC Charlotte. 2004 – 2009.
  • Associate Marine Scientist – Marine Resources Research Institute. 1998 – 2003
  • Assistant Marine Scientist – Marine Resources Research Institute. 1993 -1997
  • Associate Professor, Marine Biomedical and Environmental Sciences Program, Medical University of South Carolina. 1994 – 2003.
  • Graduate Faculty, College of Charleston, Graduate Programs in Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences. 1994 – 2003.
  • Associate Professor, Graduate Faculty, University of SC, Columbia. 1998 – 2003.


  • B.A., Biology, Wake Forest University
  • Ph.D., Zoology, University of Hawaii
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Pacific Biomedical Research Center, University of HI.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship Duke University Integrated Toxicology Program, Duke University Medical School and Marine Laboratory.

Courses Taught

  • Ecology – Biology 3144
  • Ecology Laboratory
  • Marine Biology
  • Invertebrate Biology
  • Environmental Toxicology

Ringwood Laboratory and Research Projects


Biomarkers of Organismal Health for Aquatic Invertebrates


Graduate Students and Undergraduate Students Interested in Research? Email me at ahringwo@uncc.edu to set up a meeting to talk about research opportunities, and follow the link to my lab above to find out about my research projects.


Selected Recent Publications

  1. McCarthy, Melissa, David L. Carroll , Amy H. Ringwood.  2013.  Tissue specific responses of oysters, Crassostrea virginica, to silver nanoparticles.  Aquatic Toxicology 138– 139:   123– 128.
  2. Edge, K., E. Johnston, A. Roach, A.H. Ringwood, 2012.   Indicators of environmental stress: Cellular biomarkers and reproductive responses in the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata), Ecotox  .21: 1415-1425.
  3.    Ringwood, A.H., M. McCarthy, T.C. Bates, D. L. Carroll.  2010.  The effects of silver nanoparticles on oyster embryos.  Marine Environ. Res. 69: S49-S51.
  4.    Froelich, B., A. Ringwood, I. Sokolova, and J.D. Oliver. 2010. Uptake and depuration of the C- and E-genotype of Vibrio vulnificus by the Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). 2010. Environ. Microbiol. Rep. 2:112-115.
  5.     Ringwood, A.H., N. Levi-Polyachenko, D.L. Carroll.  2009.  Fullerene exposures with oysters:  embryonic, adult, and cellular responses.  Environmental Science & Technology 43: 7136-7141.
  6.     De Buron I, James E, Riggs-Gelasco P, Ringwood AH, Rolando E, Richardson D.  2009.  Overview of the status of heavy metal accumulation by Helminths with a note on the use of in vitro culture.  Neotrop. Helminthol. 3: 101-110.
  7. Greenstein, D., S. Bay, B.Anderson, G.T. Chandler,  J.D. Farrar, C. Keppler, B. Phillips, A.  Ringwood, D. Young.  2008.  Comparison of methods for evaluating acute and chronic toxicity in marine sediments.  Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 27: 933-944.
  8. Ringwood, A.H. , S. Khambhammettu, P. Santiago, E. Bealer, M. Stogner, J. Collins, K. E Gonsalves. 2006. Characterization, Imaging and Degradation Studies of Quantum Dots in Aquatic Organisms, in Life-Cycle Analysis Tools for “Green” Materials and Process Selection, edited by Stella Papasavva, Vasilis Fthenakis (Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 895, Warrendale, PA, 2006), 0895-G04-06-S04-06.
  9. Keppler C.J., A.J. Lewitus, A.H., Ringwood, J. Hoguet, T. Staton. 2006. Sublethal cellular effects of short-term raphidophyte and brevetoxin exposures on the Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Series. 312: 141-147.
  10. Cherkasov, A.S., P.K. Biswas, D.M. Ridings, A.H. Ringwood, I.M. Sokolova. 2006. Effects of acclimation temperature and cadmium exposure on cellular energy budgets in the marine mollusk Crassostrea virginica: linking cellular and mitochondrial responses. J. Exper. Biol. 209: 1274-1284.
  11. Jenny, M.J., G.W. Warr, A.H. Ringwood, D.A. Baltzegar, R.W. Chapman. 2006. Regulation of metallothionein genes in the American oyster (Crassostrea virginica): Ontogeny and differential expression in response to different stressors. Gene (In press)
  12.   Keppler, C.J, J. Hoguet, K. Smith, A.H. Ringwood, A.J. Lewitus. 2005. Sublethal effects of the toxic alga Heterosigma akashiwo on the southeastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Harmful Algae 4: 275-285.
  13.   Ringwood, A.H. D.E. Conners, J. Hoguet, L.A. Ringwood. 2005. “Lysosomal Destabilization Assays in Estuarine Organisms”, In “Techniques in Aquatic Toxicology, Volume 2”, edited by G. K. Ostrander. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL. pp. 287-300.
  14.   Sokolova I.M., Ringwood A.H., Johnson C. 2005. Tissue-specific accumulation of cadmium in subcellular compartments of eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica Gmelin (Bivalvia: Ostreidae). Aquatic Toxicology 74: 218-228.
  15. Ringwood, A.H., J. Hoguet, C. Keppler, M. Gielazyn. 2004. Linkages between cellular biomarker responses and reproductive success in oysters. Mar. Environ. Res. 58: 151-155.
  16.   Jenny, M.J., A.H. Ringwood, K. Schey, G.W. Warr, R.W. Chapman. 2004. Diversity of metallothioneins in the American oyster, Crassostrea virginica, revealed by transcriptomic and proteomic approaches. Eur. J. Biochem. 271: 1702-1712.
  17.   Mitchelmore, C.L., A.H. Ringwood, V.M. Weis. 2003. Differential accumulation of cadmium and changes in glutathione levels as a function of symbiotic state in the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 284: 71-85.
  18.   Ringwood, A.H. and C.J. Keppler. 2002. Comparative in situ and laboratory sediment bioassays using juvenile clams, Mercenaria mercenaria. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 21: 1651-1657.
  19.   Ringwood, A.H. and C.J. Keppler. 2002. Water quality variation and clam growth: is pH really a non-issue in estuaries? Estuaries 25: 901-907.
  20.   Ringwood, A.H., J. Hoguet, C.J. Keppler. 2002. Seasonal variation in lysosomal destabilization in oysters, Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Environ. Res. 54: 793-797.
  21.   Jenny, M.J., A.H. Ringwood, E.R. Lacy, A.J. Lewitus, J.W. Kempton, P.S. Gross, G.W. Warr, R.W. Chapman. 2002. Potential indicators of stress responses identified by expressed sequence tag analysis of hemocytes and embryos from the American oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Biotech. 4: 81-93
  22.   Keppler, C.J. and A.H. Ringwood. 2002. Effects of metal exposures on juvenile clams, Mercenaria mercenaria. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 68: 43-48.
  23.   Maltby, L, T.J. Kedwards, V.E. Forbes, K. Grasman, J.E. Kammenga, W.R. Munns, Jr., A.H. Ringwood, J.S. Weis, and S.N. Wood. 2001. Linking individual-level responses and population-level consequences. In: Ecological Complexity: New Directions for Assessing Responses to Stress (D.J. Baird and G.A. Burton, Jr., eds.), SETAC Special Publication Series, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL, pp. 27-82.
  24.   Keppler, C.J. and A.H. Ringwood. 2001. Expression of p-glycoprotein in southeastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Environ. Res. 52: 81-96.
  25.   Keppler, C.J. and A.H. Ringwood. 2001. Expression of p-glycoprotein in the gills of oysters, Crassostrea virginica: Seasonal and pollutant related effects. Aquatic Toxicol. 54: 195-204.
  26.   Ringwood, A. H. and D. E. Conners. 2000. The effects of glutathione depletion on reproductive success in oysters, Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Environ. Res. 50: 207-211.
  27.   Conners, D.E. and Ringwood, A. H. 2000. Effects of glutathione depletion on copper cytotoxicity in oysters (Crassostrea virginica). Aquatic Toxicol. 50: 341-349.
  28.   Ringwood, A.H., D. E. Conners, C. J. Keppler, and A. A. DiNovo. 1999. Biomarker studies with juvenile oysters (Crassostrea virginica) deployed in situ. Biomarkers 4: 400-415.
  29.   Ringwood, A. H. , M. J. Hameedi, R. F. Lee, M. Brouwer, E. C. Peters, G. I. Scott, S. N. Luoma, and R. T. DiGiulio. 1999. Bivalve biomarker workshop : overview and discussion group summaries. Biomarkers 4: 391-399.
  30.   Ringwood, A. H., D.E. Conners, and C. J. Keppler. 1999. Cellular responses of oysters, Crassostrea virginica, to metal contaminated sediments. Mar. Environ. Res. 48: 427-437.
  31.   Ringwood, A.H., D. E. Conners, A. Dinovo. 1998. The effects of copper exposures on cellular responses in oysters. Mar. Environ. Res. 46:591-595.
  32.   Ringwood, A. H., D. E. Conners, J. Hoguet. 1998. The effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on lysosomal destabilization in oysters, Crassostrea virginica. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 166: 163-171.
  33.   Coen, L.D., D.M. Knott, E.L. Wenner, N.H. Hadley, A.H. Ringwood. 1997. “Intertidal oyster reef studies in South Carolina: Design, sampling and experimental focus for evaluating habitat value and function,” In Oyster Reef Habitat Restoration: A Synopsis and Synthesis of Approaches. M. Luckenback, R. Mann, and J.A. Wesson, eds. VIMS Press, Gloucester Point, VA.
  34.   Ringwood, A.H., M. Brouwer. 1995. Patterns of metallothionein expression in oyster embryos. Mar. Environ. Res. 39: 101-105.
  35.   Ringwood, A.H., M. Brouwer. 1993. Expression of constitutive and metal-inducible metallothioneins in oyster embryos (Crassostrea virginica). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 106B:523-529.
  36.   Schlenk, D., A.H. Ringwood, R. Brouwer-Hoexum, M. Brouwer. 1993. Crustaceans as models for metal metabolism: II. Induction and characterization of metallothionein isoforms from the blue crab Callinectes sapidus. Mar. Environ. Res. 35: 7-12.
  37.   Brouwer, M., D. Schlenk, A.H. Ringwood, T. Brouwer-Hoexum. 1992. Metal-specific induction of metallothionein isoforms in the blue crab Callinectes sapidus in response to single and mixed-metal exposure. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 294: 461-468.
  38.   Ringwood, A.H. 1992. Comparative sensitivity of gametes and early developmental stages of a sea urchin species (Echinometra mathaei) and a bivalve species (Isognomon californicum) during metal exposures. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 22: 288-295.

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