Unger Home Page

Mike Unger

Faculty Emeritus

Email: [[munger]]
Phone: (804) 684-7187
Office: Chesapeake Bay Hall S307, S316
Department: Aquatic Health Sciences
Website: {{,Environmental Chemistry}}
Interests: Chemical and physical behavior of aquatic pollutants - TBT - Kepone.

  • B.S., Michigan State University
  • M.S., Ph.D., College of William and Mary
Research Interests

Developing biosensors for environmental contaminant analysis, chemical and physical behavior of aquatic pollutants, translation of research results to help improve environmental management and policy.

Current Projects
  • Development of antibody-based biosensors for the quantitative measurement of environmental contaminants-NIEHS-SRP
  • Using new biosensor technology to elucidate the distribution, fate, and bioavailability of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the environment-NIEHS-SRP
  • Real-time quantification of the dissolved components released from oil-ExxonMobil
  • Conducting laboratory and field studies to help understand relationships between sediment contamination, bioaccumulation and adverse biological effects in aquatic organisms-Commonwealth of Virginia, Elizabeth River Project
  • Long-term monitoring of the fate and effects of TBT and Kepone in Chesapeake Bay-Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Environmental Endowment
Selected Publications
  • S. E. Hartzell, M. A. Unger, G. G. Vadas and L. Yonkos. 2018. Evaluating porewater PAH-related toxicity at a contaminated sediment site using a spiked field-sediment approach. Environ. Chem. and Toxicol. Vol. 37, no.3, pp 893-902. DOI: 10.1002/etc.4023
  • M. A. Unger and G. G. Vadas. 2017. Kepone in the James River Estuary: Past, Current and Future Trends. Final Report submitted to The Virginia Environmental Endowment. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary Published on line:
  • S. E. Hartzell, M. A. Unger, B. L. McGee and L. Yonkos. 2017. Effects-based spatial assessment of contaminated estuarine sediments from Bear Creek, Baltimore Harbor, MD, USA. Environ. Sci. and Pollut. Res. 24:22158-2172. DOI 10.1007/s11356-017-9667-0    
  • Li, X., S. L. Kaattari, M. A. Vogelbein, and M. A. Unger. 2016. Evaluation of a time efficient immunization strategy for anti-PAH antibody development. Journal of Immunoassay and Immunochemistry. Vol. 37, Issue 6, 671-683.
  • Harding, J. M., M. A. Unger, E. A. Jestel and R. Mann. 2016. Sex and site-specific trends in veined rapa whelk (Rapana venosa) tributyltin bioaccumulation: considerations for biomonitoring. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom pp.1-10. doi:10.1017/S0025315416000849
  • Li, X., S. L. Kaattari, M. A. Vogelbein, G. G. Vadas and M. A. Unger. 2016. A highly sensitive monoclonal antibody based biosensor for quantifying 3-5 ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in aqueous environmental samples. Sensing and Bio-sensing Research. 7:115-120.
  • Harding, J. M., M. A. Unger, R. Mann, E. A. Jestel and C. Kilduff. 2013. Rapana venosa as an indicator species for TBT exposure over decadal and seasonal scales. Mar. Biol. 160:3027-3042.
  • Spier, C. S., M. A. Unger and S. L. Kaattari. 2012. Antibody-Based Biosensors for Small Environmental Pollutants: Focusing on PAHs In: Biosensors and Environmental Health. (Eds. Preedy, V.R. and Patel, V.B.). CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. P. 273-295.
  • Spier, C. S., G. G. Vadas, S. L. Kaattari and M. A. Unger. 2011. Near-real-time, on-site, quantitative analysis of PAHs in the aqueous environment using an antibody-based biosensor. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. Vol. 30, No.7, pp. 1557-1563.
  • Prosser, C. M., M. A. Unger and W. K. Vogelbein. 2011. Multistressor interactions in the zebrafish (Danio rerio): Concurrent phenanthrene and Mycobacterium marinum infection. Aquat. Toxicol. Vol.102(3-4):177-185.
  • Spier, C. S., E. S. Bromage, T. M. Harris, M. A. Unger and S. L. Kaattari. 2009. The development and evaluation of monoclonal antibodies for the detection of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Analytical Biochemistry, 387(2), 287-293.
  • Unger, M. A., E. Harvey, G. G. Vadas, M Vecchione. 2008. Persistent pollutants in nine species of deep-sea cephalopods. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 56, 1498-1500.
  • Unger, M. A., M. C. Newman, G. G. Vadas. 2008. Predicting survival of Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) exposed to naphthalene, fluorene, and dibenzothiophene. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 27, 1802-1808.
Previous Publications
  • Bromage, E.S., G. G. Vadas, E. Harvey, M. A. Unger, S. L. Kaattari. (2007) Validation of an antibody-based biosensor for the rapid quantification of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) contamination in ground water and river water. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41, 7067-7072.
  • Unger, M. A., M. C. Newman, G. G. Vadas. (2007) Predicting survival of Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) during ethylnaphthalene, dimethylnaphthalene and phenanthrene exposures differing in concentration and duration. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 26.
  • Bromage, E.S., T. Lackie, M. A. Unger, J. Ye, S. L. Kaattari. (2007) The development of a real-time biosensor for the detection of trace levels of trinitrotoluene (TNT) in aquatic environments. Biosensors and Bioelectronics.
  • Vogelbein, W. K., M. A. Unger. 2006. Liver carcinogenesis in a non-migratory fish: The association with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure. Bull. Eur. Ass. Fish. Pathol., 26(1) 11-20.
  • Luellen, D. R., G. G, Vadas, M. A. Unger. 2006. Kepone in James River fish: 1976-2002. Science of the Total Environment. 358: 286-297.
  • Rodigari, F., P. D. Carpenter, E. A. Crecelius, L. M. Ramirez and M. A. Unger. 2005. Tributyltin (6710)/ Gas Chromatographic/Mass Spectrometric Method. In: Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. A. D. Eaton, L. S. Clesceri, E. W. Rice, A. E. Greenberg, M. A. H. Franson (Eds.) APHA, AWWA and WEF Publishers
  • Arnold, G., M. Luckenbach , and M. A. Unger. 2004. Runoff from tomato cultivation in the estuarine environment: Biological effects of farm management practices. J. Exp. Marine Biol. Ecol. 298, 323-346.
  • Newman, M.C. and M.A. Unger. 2003. Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology, second edition. Lewis Publishers, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 458 pp. 
  • Mulvey, M., M.C. Newman, W.K. Vogelbein, M.A. Unger and D.R. Ownby. 2003. Genetic structure and mtDNA diversity of Fundulus heteroclitus populations from PAH-contaminated sites. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22(3). pp. 671-677.
  • Anderson, B. A., M. A. Unger, K. A. Moore. 2002. Fate of Tributyltin Contaminated Sediments in a Created Tidal Wetland. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 21, No. 9, pp. 1897-1902.
  • Mulvey, M., M.C. Newman, W. Vogelbein and M.A. Unger. 2002. Genetic structure of Fundulus heteroclitus from PAH-contaminated and neighboring sites in the Elizabeth and York Rivers. Aquatic Toxicology, 61, pp. 195-209.
  • Ownby, D.R., M.C. Newman, M. Mulvey, W.K. Vogelbein, M.A. Unger and L.F. Arzayus. 2002. Fish (Fundulus heteroclitus) populations with different exposure histories differ in tolerance of creosote-contaminated sediments. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Vol. 21, No. 9, pp. 1897-1902.
  • Hall, L.W. Jr., M.C. Scott, W.D. Killen and M. A. Unger. 2000. A Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Tributyltin in Surface Waters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp 141-179. 
  • Anderson, R. S., L. L. Brubacher, L. M. Ragone Calvo, M. A. Unger and E. M. Burreson. 1998. Effects of TBT and hypoxia on the progression of Perkinsis marinus infections and host defense mechanisms in Crassostrea virginica. Journal of Fish Diseases. Vol. 21, pp 371-380.
Courses Taught
  • MS 563: Environmental Chemistry
  • Student, Michael Chasey, MS 1996 - Recipient of EPA STAR fellowship
Professional Memberships
  • Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry