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Ecological Exposure Research Division Publications: 2006

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This page lists publication titles, citations and abstracts produced by NERL's Ecological Exposure Research Division for the year 2006, organized by Publication Type. Your search has returned 48 Matching Entries.

See also Ecological Exposure Research Division citations with abstracts: 1999,  2000,  2001,  2002,  2003,  2004,  2005,  2006,  2007,  2008,  2009

Technical Information Manager: Linda Ransick - (513) 569-7395 or ransick.linda@epa.gov

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Presented/Published
BOOK CHAPTER Ecoepidemiology: A Means to Safeguard Ecosystem Services That Sustain Human Welfare 06/01/2006
CORMIER, S. M. Ecoepidemiology: A Means to Safeguard Ecosystem Services That Sustain Human Welfare. Chapter 4, Ecotoxicology, Ecological Risk Assessment and Multiple Stressors. Springer Netherlands, , Netherlands, 6:57-72, (2006).
Abstract: Ecosystem services are required to sustain human life and enhance its quality. Hence, environmental security must come from protecting and managing those services. Ecological risk assessment can predict and estimate effects of proposed actions, but it is insufficient alone for two reasons. First, it can fail because of inadequate application, unforeseen stressors, or unpredictable effects. Second, in many cases ecosystem services that sustain life are already impaired, resulting in reduced human welfare. For these reasons, environmental security requires the development of ecoepidemiology, a science that will identify impaired ecosystem services and determine the causes of impairment so that remediation and restoration can occur. A method for causal analysis, developed to identify causes of impairment in aquatic ecosystems, may provide a template that can be adapted to identify the causes of diminished ecosystem services and the resulting reductions in human welfare. Some of the challenges for adapting the existing method include explicitly defining ecosystem services required to sustain human life, appropriately matching the scale of the analylsis to the ecological processes that deliver those services, and possibly customizing the logical considerations used in causal analysis. Advancing the science of ecoepidemiology holds the promise of helping scientists frame and guide rational debate, providing a sound basis from which to launch risk assessment and risk management scenarios, and ultimately informing environmental decision-making that affects human welfare, development and environmental security within acceptable risks.

EXTRAMURAL DOCUMENT Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program Study of Wadeable Streams in the Driftless Area Ecoregion in Western Wisconsin 12/01/2006
MILLER, M. A., A. C. COLBY, AND P. KANEHL. Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program Study of Wadeable Streams in the Driftless Area Ecoregion in Western Wisconsin. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, 2006.
Abstract: Report describes the results of a REMAP agreement awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to compare random and modified-random sampling designs.

JOURNAL Leeches (Annelida: Euhirudinea) of Northern Arkansas 12/01/2006
MOSER, W. E., D. KLEMM, D. J. RICHARDSON, B. A. WHEELER, S. E. TRAUTH, AND B. A. DANIELS. Leeches (Annelida: Euhirudinea) of Northern Arkansas. Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science. Arkansas Academy of Science, Russellville, AR, 60:84-95, (2006).
Abstract: Twenty-one lotic and lentic environments throughout central and northern Arkansas were surveyed for the presence of leeches during June 2004, and April, July - October, 2005. Fourteen species of leeches (Desserobdella cryptobranchii, Desserobdella phalera, Desserobdella picta, Helobdella elongata, Helobdella papillata, Helobdella stagnalis, Placobdella multilineata, Placobdella ornata, Placobdella papillifera, Placobdella parasitica, Haemopis marmorata, Erpobdella punctata, Mooreobdella fervida, and Mooreobdella microstoma) representing three families were collected. Five species (D. phalera, H. elongata, P. multilineata, H. marmorata and M. Fervida) are reported from Arkansas for the first time. The natural history of the twenty-two species of leeches now known from Arkansas is reviewed.

JOURNAL Genetic Diversity and Structure of An Estuarine Fish (Fundulus Heteroclitus) Indigenous to a Highly Contaminated Urban Harbor 11/01/2006
MCMILLAN, A. M., M. J. BAGLEY, S. A. JACKSON, AND D. E. NACCI. Genetic Diversity and Structure of An Estuarine Fish (Fundulus Heteroclitus) Indigenous to a Highly Contaminated Urban Harbor. Ecotoxicology. Springer Science+Business Media, 15(6):538-548, (2006).
Abstract: Intense directional selection on isolated populations can result in loss of genetic diversity, which if persistent, reduces adaptive potential and increases extinction probability. Phenotypic evidence of inherited tolerance suggests that toxic pollutants, specifically, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have acted as strong selective agents on wild populations of a non-migratory fish, Fundulus heteroclitus, indigenous to heavily contaminated sites. To evaluate population genetic structure and test for effects of intense, multi-generational PCB contamination on genetic diversity, we used AFLP (Amplified Fragment Length Polyorphism) analysis on fish collected from two sites within each of three regions along the east coast of North America that varied widely in PCB contamination. The sites included a heavily contaminated urban harbor (New Bedford, MA), an adjacent moderately contaminated sub-estuary (Buzzards Bay, MA), and an uncontaminated estuary about 60 km away (Narragansett, RI). AFLP markers distinguished populations at both moderate and small scales, suggesting potential limitations to gene flow at distances of two kilometers or less. No significant differences in genetic diversity were observed across the study sites. Therefore, despite limited gene flow and inferred strong selection by PCB contamination, we found no evidence of a population bottleneck. Genome-wide diversity may have been preserved because of large effective population sizes and/or because the mechanism for genetic adaptation to these contaminants affected only a small number of genetic loci. Alternatively, any loss in diversity may have been restored due to moderate levels of migration and relatively short generation time for this species.

JOURNAL Dna Damage and External Lesions in Brown Bullheads from Contaminated Habitats 11/01/2006
YANG, X., J. R. MEIER, L. W. CHANG, M. ROWAN, AND P. C. BAUMANN. Dna Damage and External Lesions in Brown Bullheads from Contaminated Habitats. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL, 25(11):3035-3038, (2006).
Abstract: The Comet assay was used to compare levels of DNA damage in brown bullheads (Ameiurus nebulosus) collected from three known contaminated locations, the Cuyahoga River, Ashtabula River, and Ashumet Pond (Cape Cod), with brown bullheads collected from three paired reference sites, Old Woman Creek, Conneaut River, and Great Herring Pond, respectively. Blood was sampled from each fish, and the Comet assay was conducted on erythrocytes. The assay results demonstrate that fish from the three contaminated sites each suffered higher DNA damage than fish from their respective reference sites. The results also show that the genetic damage was associated with the occurrence of external lesions and deformities in fish. The Comet assay is sufficiently sensitive to detect exposure of natural fish populations to environmental levels of genotoxic contaminants.

JOURNAL Characterization of Microsatellite Loci in the Widely Introduced Estuarine Anemone Nematostella Vectensis 09/01/2006
DARLING, J., A. M. REITZEL, AND J. R. FINNERTY. Characterization of Microsatellite Loci in the Widely Introduced Estuarine Anemone Nematostella Vectensis. MOLECULAR ECOLOGY NOTES. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 6(3):803-805, (2006).
Abstract: We characterized ten polymorphic microsatellite loci from Nematostella vectensis, a burrowing anemone recently introduced to estuaries along the Pacific coast of North America and the southeast coast of England. Preliminary results indicate high variability and significant departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the latter likely the result of population genetic structure and reproductive plasticity. Both results are consistent with earlier genetic analyses. These markers will be useful for resolving global patterns of introduction and for describing spatio-temporal genetic structure at local and regional scales.

JOURNAL Larval Salamander Growth Responds to Enrichment of a Nutrient Poor Headwater Stream 08/31/2006
JOHNSON, B. R., J. WALLACE, AND A. D. ROSEMOND. Larval Salamander Growth Responds to Enrichment of a Nutrient Poor Headwater Stream. HYDROBIOLOGIA. Springer, New York, NY, 573:227-232, (2006).
Abstract: While many studies have measured effects of nutrient enrichment on higher trophic levels in grazing food webs, few such studies exist for detritus-based systems. We measured effects of nitrogen and phosphorus addition on growth of larval Eruycea wilderae in a heterotrophic headwater stream using a repeated mark-recapture design. Growth estimates for 208 recaptured larvae (control stream n = 92; treatment stream n = 116) resulted in a growth rate of 0.0027 d-1 in each stream prior to enrichment, whereas during enrichment growth rates were significantly higher than in the control stream. Results indicate that E. wilderae growth is tightly linked to the detrital resource in these streams and that growth may be indirectly affected by both quantity and quality of detritus. This study provides some of the first evidence that nutrient enrichment of detritus-based systems can influence multiple trophic levels in ways similar to autotrophic systems.

JOURNAL Effects of Eutrophication on Vitellogenin Gene Expression in Male Fathead Minnows (Pimephales Promelas) Exposed to 17a-Ethynylestradiol in Field Mesocosms 08/01/2006
Gordon, D A., G P. Toth, D. W. Graham, J M. Lazorchak, T V. Reddy, C. W. Knapp, F. J. DeNoyelles, S. Campbell, AND D L. Lattier. Effects of Eutrophication on Vitellogenin Gene Expression in Male Fathead Minnows (Pimephales Promelas) Exposed to 17a-Ethynylestradiol in Field Mesocosms. ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 142:559-566, (2006).
Abstract: This study evaluated the effect of aquatic secondary nutrient supply levels (nitrogen and phosphorus) on the subcellular response of adult male fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to a single nominal concentration of 17a-ethynylestradiol (EE2), a potent synthetic estrogen, under quasi-natural field conditions. Outdoor mesocosms were maintained under low, medium, and high nutrient supply conditions as characterized by total phosphorus (TP) level (nominal 0.012 0.025, and 0.045 mg TP/L, respectively), and treated with EE2 with and without a carrier solvent. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction methods, vitellogenin gene (Vg) expression was determined in the fish collected at 0 h, 8 h, 24 h, 4 d, 7 d, and 14 d post-exposure. Induction of Vg was detected as early as 8 h post-exposure, with and without the carrier solvent, and persisted through Day 14. Results showed Vg to be significantly greater at low nutrient levels (p < 0.05), suggesting that EE2 bioavailability to the fish was likely greater under less-turbid water conditions.

JOURNAL Microsatellite Dna Markers Developed for the Rainbow Darter, Etheostoma Caeruleum (Percidae), and Their Potential Utility for Other Darter Species 06/01/2006
TONNIS, B. Microsatellite Dna Markers Developed for the Rainbow Darter, Etheostoma Caeruleum (Percidae), and Their Potential Utility for Other Darter Species. MOLECULAR ECOLOGY NOTES. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 6:230-232, (2006).
Abstract: The rainbow darter Etheostoma caeruleum is a small fish in the perch family (Percidae) that is adapted to fast-flowing streams in eastern North America. It is relatively sensitive to habitat degradation and is widely used as a sentinel of stream condition. Information from molecular markers would provide a complementary tool for assessing the integrity of stream ecosystems. Sixteen highly polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite markers were thus identified. Between four and sixteen loci were found to be useful in five congeneric species. These markers will be useful for characterizing population genetic structure and diversity of rainbow darters and related fishes.

JOURNAL Characterization of Microsatellite Loci in the European Green Crab (Carcinus Maenas) 06/01/2006
TEPOLT, C., M. J. BAGLEY, J. B. GELLER, AND M. J. BLUM. Characterization of Microsatellite Loci in the European Green Crab (Carcinus Maenas). MOLECULAR ECOLOGY NOTES. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 6:343-345, (2006).
Abstract: Carcinus maenas (Decapoda: Portunidae) has proven a highly successful invasive marine species whose potential economic and ecological impacts are of great concern worldwide. Here, we characterize fourteen polymorphic microsatellite loci in C. maenas and its sister species C. Aestuarii. These markers will prove useful for fine-scale genetic analyses of native and introduced populations, for assessment of the sources and routes of invasion, and for evaluation of post-invasion population dynamics.

JOURNAL Energy-Based Land Use Predictors of Proximal Factors and Benthic Diatom Composition in Florida Freshwater Marshes 06/01/2006
Lane, C R. AND M. T. Brown. Energy-Based Land Use Predictors of Proximal Factors and Benthic Diatom Composition in Florida Freshwater Marshes. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT. Springer, New York, NY, 117:433-450, (2006).
Abstract: The development of rigorous biological assessments is dependent upon well-constructed abscissa, and various methods, both subjective and objective, exist to measure expected impairment at both the landscape and local scale. A new, landscape-scale method has recently been offered that allows for the combination of disparate factors into a single value (e.g., impervious surfaces, low-density residential, improved pasture, natural area): the Landscape Development Intensity Index, or LDI. The LDI is calculated using GIS and published development coefficients, which are based on energy calculations. In this study, benthic diatoms from 70 isolated depressional herbaceous wetlands located throughout peninsular Florida were sampled along a gradient of human disturbance. Analyses were conducted at both the local and landscape scale to determine the efficacy of the LDI vis-a-vis locally measured physical and chemical variables of the water column and sediment (e.g., soil total phosphorus, water pH, specific conductivity). Multivariate analyses suggested that the LDI is reflective of benthic diatom community composition within isolated depressional wetlands, although individual variables measured on-site, such as specific conductivity or water total phosphorus, were more strongly correlated. The use of the LDI as a relatively simple yet independent landscape-level assessment tool for the development of biological metrics is suggested.

JOURNAL Temporal Variation in Ohio River Macroinvertebrates: A Historical Rock Basket Comparison (1965-1971 and 2002) 04/01/2006
WOOTEN, M. S., B. R. JOHNSON, AND E. B. EMERY. Temporal Variation in Ohio River Macroinvertebrates: A Historical Rock Basket Comparison (1965-1971 and 2002). JOURNAL OF FRESHWATER ECOLOGY. Oikos Publishers Incorporated, La Crosse, WI, 21(4):561-574, (2006).
Abstract: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) used rock basket artificial substrates to sample benthic macroinvertebrates of the Ohio River from 1965-1971. The objective of this study was to repeat the rock basket surveys in 2002 to evaluate changes in the benthic assemblage and to assess health of the community since passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA). Rock baskets of the same configuration were placed in the vicinity of the historic locations and were allowed to colonize for the same six week period in summer 2002. Macroinvertebrates collected from 2002 baskets were compared to those of historic samples by use of non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS), proportional indices of community similarity, and by comparison of commonly used macroinvertebrate metrics. Analyses were generally performed at the genus (insects) or order (non-insect) level to minimize taxonomic discrepancies between time periods. A total of 62 taxa groups were identified across all years, with midges and oligochaetes generally dominating. Only 10-16 taxa groups accounted for >93% of all individuals in each year, but taxa contributions varied greatly among years. The 2002 benthic assemblage was distinct from past years with increases in taxa richness and EPT taxa, and a decline in the number of oligochaetes. Differences in 2002 data are partially attributed to a replacement of the amphipod Crangonyx sp. by Gammarus sp. and the invasion of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) during the late 1980s. Our findings indicate the Ohio River benthic community today is markedly different from that of the 1960s and has shown general improvement since passage of the 1972 CWA.

JOURNAL Relationship Between Brain and Ovary Aromatase Activity and Isoform-Specific Aromatase Mrna Expression in the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales Promelas) Journal Article 01/01/2006
VILLENEUVE, D. L., I. KNOEBL, M. D. KAHL, K. M. JENSEN, D. E. HAMMERMEISTER, K. J. GREEN, L. S. BLAKE, AND G. T. ANKLEY. Relationship Between Brain and Ovary Aromatase Activity and Isoform-Specific Aromatase Mrna Expression in the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales Promelas) Journal Article. AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 76:353-368, (2006).
Abstract: There is growing evidence that some chemicals present in the environment have the capacity to inhibit, or potentially induce, aromatase activity. This study compared aromatase activities and isoform-specific mRNA expression in brain and ovary tissue from non-exposed fathead minnows representing three different ages and stages of reproductive activity, and from fathead minnows exposed to the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole for 7 d. The goal was to determine whether measures of a single aromatase endpoint in either brain or ovary tissue would be sufficient to understand and predict system-wide effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on aromatase activity and transcript levels. Aromatase activity in the ovary, but not brain, varied significantly with age/reproductive category, with adults held in non-reproductive conditions showing significantly lower activity than juveniles and reproductively-active adults. Significant correlations between isoform-specific transcript levels and aromatase activity were observed for ovary tissue, but those relationships were not robust for all age/reproductive categories, nor were they sustained in fadrozole-treated fish. In vitro, fadrozole inhibited the aromatase activity of brain and ovary post-mitochondrial supernatants with similar potency, despite large differences in the magnitude of activity. In vio, fadrozole altered aromatase activity and isoform-specific transcript levels in both brain and ovary tissue, but concentration-response relationships were different for each tissue. Aromatase activity and P450aromB mRNA expression in brain showed a dose-dependent decrease at concentrations greater than 5.55 ug/L. In contrast, ovary activity showed an inverted U-shaped concentration-response consistent with the interplay between increased P450aromA transcript levels in ovary and competitive inhibition of the aromatase enzyme. As a whole, results of this study did not reveal any robust correlations between brain and ovary aromatase activity and/or isoform-specific mRNA expression. However, they were consistent with the current body of evidence related to teleost aromatase regulation, suggesting that increased understanding of the biology of aromatase may facilitate system-wide understanding of effects on aromatase based on relatively few measured endpoints.

PRESENTATION A Sediment Toxicity Evaluation of Three Large River Systems 11/09/2006
SMITH, MARK E., H. J. HARING, J. BERNINGER, M. WRATSCHKO, G. AHLERS, A. PARKS, AND J. M. LAZORCHAK. A Sediment Toxicity Evaluation of Three Large River Systems. Presented at Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Montreal, QC, CANADA, November 05 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: Sediment toxicity samples were collected from selected sites on the Ohio River, Missouri River and upper Mississippi River as part of the 2004 and 2005 Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program-Great Rivers Ecosystems Study (EMAP-GRE). Samples were collected by compositing sediment from 10 equally spaced transects across a 500 meter segment of river. The sediment samples were evaluated for toxicity using a Hyalella azteca 7-day lethality and growth, static-renewal test method. For 2004, a total of 165 samples were collected. Of these, 27 were acutely toxic while 21 exhibited a growth effect. For 2005, a total of 221 sediment samples were collected. Of these, 29 were acutely toxic while 85 exhibited a growth effect. Sixteen percent of the samples were found to be acutely toxic in 2004 and 13% in 2005. This is about twice the average of toxic samples found in previous studies using the same site selection criteria in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands and Rocky Mountain West. Twenty-eight sites were sampled in both 2004 and 2005. For these sites, the sediment test results (either acute lethality or no lethality) remained the same over both years for 24 sites. During 2004, 24 sites were sampled twice, 18 sites showed no change in the test results for either acute lethality or no lethality. In 2005, 22 sites were sampled twice, 17 showed no change in the test result for either acute lethality or no lethality. The samples from 2004 and 2005 that were classified as toxic were analyzed for 6-PBDE congeners, 20 PCB congeners, and 22 chlorinated pesticides. Of the samples analyzed, PCB¿s were detected in 7 (2004) and 5 (2005). Chlorinated pesticides were detected in 8 (2004) and 5 (2005). PBDE's were not detected in the 2004 samples but were detected in four 2005 samples.

PRESENTATION Wildfire Management as a Case Study for Integrating Ecological Risk Assessment and Economics 11/06/2006
BRUINS, R. J., S. BOTTI, D. CLELAND, D. CRANDALL, C. JOY, J. HUBBARD, L. MCCARTHY, W MUNNS, D. RIDEOUT, AND P. WOODBURY. Wildfire Management as a Case Study for Integrating Ecological Risk Assessment and Economics. Presented at SETAC, Montreal, QC, CANADA, November 05 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation summarizing findings of a SETAC Pellston Workshop that examined the process of integrating ecological risk assessment and economic analysis.

PRESENTATION Enhanced Biodegradation of Iopromide and Trimethoprim in Nitrifying Activated Sludge 11/06/2006
BATT, A. L., S. KIM, AND D. S. AGA. Enhanced Biodegradation of Iopromide and Trimethoprim in Nitrifying Activated Sludge. Presented at SETAC, Montreal, QC, CANADA, November 05 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: Iopromide and trimethoprim are frequently detected pharmaceuticals in effluents of wastewater treatment plants and in surface waters due to their persistence and high usage. Laboratory scale experiments showed that a significantly higher removal rate in nutrifying activated sludge as compared to conventional activated sludge was observed for both iopromide and trimethoprim. When the activity of the nitrifying bacteria was inhibited, the percent removal of iopromide decreased from 97% to 86% while trimethoprim removal decreased from 70% to 25%. The metabolite of iopromide identified when nitrification was not inhibited was a dehydroxylated iopromide at the two side chains. However, when the nitrifying bacteria were inhibited the metabolite identified was a carboxylate, formed during the oxidation of the primary alcohol on the side chain of iopromide. These results suggest that the nitrifying bacteria are important in the observed biodegradation of ioprimide in the activated sludge with higher solid retention time.

PRESENTATION Assessing the Degree of Estrogenic Exposure in Indigenous Fish of the Ohio River 11/06/2006
BIALES, A. D. Assessing the Degree of Estrogenic Exposure in Indigenous Fish of the Ohio River. Presented at SETAC, Montreal, QC, CANADA, November 05 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at SETAC, Montreal, Canada, November, 2006.

PRESENTATION Surface Coal Mining and Headwater Streams in Eastern Kentucky 10/26/2006
FRITZ, K. M. Surface Coal Mining and Headwater Streams in Eastern Kentucky. Presented at Department of Biology Seminar, Murray, KY, October 26, 2006.
Abstract: Presentation at the Department of Biology Seminar at Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky.

PRESENTATION The Ibi Development Process 10/24/2006
BLOCKSOM, K. A. The Ibi Development Process. Presented at EMAP-GRE Conference, Duluth, MN, October 23 - 26, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation on the development process for the Index of Biotic Integrity, EMAP-Great Rivers Conference, Duluth, MN.

PRESENTATION An Informatic Approach to Estimating Ecological Risks Posed By Pharmaceutical Use: Human Prescription Pharmaceuticals 10/10/2006
KOSTICH, M. AND J. M. LAZORCHAK. An Informatic Approach to Estimating Ecological Risks Posed By Pharmaceutical Use: Human Prescription Pharmaceuticals. Presented at Regional Science Council Webinar Series on Pharmaceuticals in the Environment, Cincinnati, OH, October 10, 2006.
Abstract: Pharmaceuticals are often excreted from patients as the parent compound or as active metabolites. Some of these compounds have been found in the environment. However, the environmental concentrations of the majority of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites are not known. The results of chronic exposure of native organisms to the concentrations of active compounds likely to be found in the environment are also not known. Here we describe a method for estimating ecological impacts of prescription drug use based on information from regulatory filings and scientific literature. Data on use, biotransformation and chemical properties are used to estimate maximum likely environmental concentrations. Data on mechanisms of action are considered together with phylogenetic analysis to estimate the range of taxa potentially sensitive to each drug. Scores produced by this procedure are used to prioritize pharmaceuticals for more detailed analytical and toxicological follow-up.

PRESENTATION Development of Biological Indicators, Methods and Assessment Techniques for Headwater Streams 10/03/2006
FRITZ, K. M. Development of Biological Indicators, Methods and Assessment Techniques for Headwater Streams. Presented at Biological Advisory Committee Meeting, Seattle, WA, October 02 - 05, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at the Biological Advisory Committee Meeting, Seattle, Washington, October 2006.

PRESENTATION Regional Methods Program: Development of Large River Bioassessment Protocols (Lr-Bp) for Benthic Macroinvertebrates 10/03/2006
JOHNSON, B. R., K. A. BLOCKSOM, AND J. E. FLOTEMERSCH. Regional Methods Program: Development of Large River Bioassessment Protocols (Lr-Bp) for Benthic Macroinvertebrates. Presented at Biological Advisory Committee Meeting, Seattle, WA, October 02 - 05, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at the Biological Advisory Committee Meeting, Seattle, Washington, October 2-5, 2006.

PRESENTATION Comparison of Methods to Derive Generalized Tolerance Values 10/03/2006
BLOCKSOM, K. A. Comparison of Methods to Derive Generalized Tolerance Values. Presented at Biological Advisory Committee, Seattle, WA, October 02 - 05, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at the Biological Advisory Committee meeting, Seattle, Washington, October, 2006.

PRESENTATION Development of Rapid Functional Methods for Headwater Streams 10/03/2006
FRITZ, K. M. AND B. R. JOHNSON. Development of Rapid Functional Methods for Headwater Streams. Presented at Biological Advisory Committee Meeting, Seattle, WA, October 02 - 05, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at the Biological Advisory Committee Meeting, Seattle, Washington, October 2006.

PRESENTATION Spatial and Functional Characterization of Isolated Wetlands 09/26/2006
LANE, C. R., R. A. MCKINNEY, AND R. D. LOPEZ. Spatial and Functional Characterization of Isolated Wetlands. Presented at 2nd International Symposium on Ecology and Biodiversity in Large Rivers of Northeast Asia and Western North America, Harbin, CHINA, September 25 - 29, 2006.
Abstract: The USEPA is conducting isolated wetland (IW) research at locations around the USA to better understand the ecological importance and ecosystem services provided by IW and to develop methods to monitor and assess their condition. The first research component explores the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) to identify and classify IW based on spectral signatures and concurrence between edaphic, hydrologic and vegetation datasets. As IW are often smaller than wetland minimum mapping units, this research on IW extent will provide crucial data for understanding the function, condition and ecological services of IW resources. The second component focuses on the ability of IW to assimilate and process excess nutrients thereby preventing nutrient transport to downstream systems and groundwaters. Through soil and water sampling of IW in Ohio (central USA) and Florida (southeastern USA), we are developing (1) baseline data on nutrients, metals and physical/chemical water and soil parameters, and (2) sorption isotherms for phosphate compounds sequestered by IW. These data will improve our models and understanding of IW function by quantifying IW nutrient sorption capacity. Additionally, visible and near infared spectroscopy is being used to develop rapid, cost-effective and non-destructive methods to accurately assess soil nutrient and chemical parameters in IW. The third component concurrently focuses on developing on-site biological assessment methods using diatoms, macroinvertebrates and rapid habitat assessment protocols. These data will be used to develop quantitative and causal relationships between wetland condition and stressors. Expected outcomes from this research include advanced methods for the identification of IW and robust data on sorption capacity and soil/water parameters; these data will inform models to assess IW contribution to landscape nutrient dynamics. The development of monitoring protocol and measures will permit local agencies to assess the condition of their wetland resources and aid in developing source-stressor relationships.

PRESENTATION Macroinvertebrate Assemblages of the St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers: An Initial Application of the Large River Bioassessment Protocol (Lr-Bp) in the Midwestern United States 09/26/2006
JOHNSON, B. R., K. A. BLOCKSOM, AND J. E. FLOTEMERSCH. Macroinvertebrate Assemblages of the St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers: An Initial Application of the Large River Bioassessment Protocol (Lr-Bp) in the Midwestern United States. Presented at 2nd International Symposium on Ecology and Biodiversity in Large Rivers of Northeast Asia and Western North America, Harbin, CHINA, September 25 - 29, 2006.
Abstract: Since passage of the Clean Water Act, government agencies have made extensive use of biomonitoring protocols to report on the quality of wadeable streams and rivers. Non-wadeable systems have been largely overlooked because of sampling difficulties and a lack of appropriate methods and biological indicators. Large rivers are citical natural, commercial and aesthetic resources, and the need for assessment has risen along with icnreasing awareness of cumulative stressor effects and observed degradation in coastal zones. Development of standardized sampling methods and identification of appropriate indicators is the first step toward developing biocriteria for these vital resources.

PRESENTATION Hybrid Swarms, Agressive Hybridization, and the Red Shiner: Miscues or Mystery? 09/10/2006
BURKHEAD, N. M., M. J. BLUM, DAVID M. WALTERS, B. A. PORTER, B. J. FREEMAN, AND J. A. BILLMEIER. Hybrid Swarms, Agressive Hybridization, and the Red Shiner: Miscues or Mystery? Presented at American Fisheries Society 2006 Hybrid Symposium, Lake Placid, NY, September 10 - 14, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation, 2006 American Fisheries Society Hybrid Symposium, Lake Placid, NY.

PRESENTATION Potential Use of Algae as Indicators of Hydrologic Permanence in Headwater Streams: Initial Data Exploration 06/05/2006
GREENWOOD, J. AND K. M. FRITZ. Potential Use of Algae as Indicators of Hydrologic Permanence in Headwater Streams: Initial Data Exploration. Presented at North American Benthological Society, Anchorage, AK, June 04 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: Periphyton from headwater intermittent streams was sampled in order to evaluate the potential use of algal assemblages as indicators of flow permanence. Streams from four forests near Cincinnati, Ohio were classified according to hydrologic permanence as ephemeral, intermittent or perennial. Ordination of habitat measures separated streams into three classes, however, ordination of algal community data was less visually distinct. Nevertheless, the multi-response permutation procedure on algal data revealed significant differences between all three hydrologic categories. Algal cell densities were lowest in ephemeral streams and cyanobacteria dominated the assemblage. Intermittent and perennial streams supported similar algal cell densities and were both dominated by diatoms. Algal biomass was lowest in the ephemeral streams and slightly higher, but still overall low in both the intermittent and perennial streams. Indicator species analysis suggested that some diatom taxa may distinguish ephemeral and perennial streams. These results indicate that benthic algal data may be useful in assessing hydrologic conditions of headwater intermittent streams, but further analysis of incoming data is needed to corroborate patterns seen in this initial analysis.

PRESENTATION Correspondence of Stable Isotope and Gut Contents Analyses in Determining Trophic Position of Stream Fishes 06/05/2006
RYBCZYNSKI, S., DAVID M. WALTERS, K. M. FRITZ, AND B. R. JOHNSON. Correspondence of Stable Isotope and Gut Contents Analyses in Determining Trophic Position of Stream Fishes. Presented at North American Benthological Society, Anchorage, AK, June 04 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: It is generally accepted that both stable isotope analysis (SIA) and gut contents analysis (GCA) be used in food web studies; however, few researchers have analyzed these data in concert. We utilized SIA and GCA to determine if longitudinal and seasonal variation in diet affects the trophic position of six species of fishes from Twelve Mile Creek, Clemson, SC, USA. Diets of Nocomis leptocephalus, Notropis lutipinnis, and Etheostoma inscriptum varied seasonally, with a greater proportion of leaves ingested by omnivores and Ephemerellidae by insectivores in the spring. Diet varied longitudinally for only N. leptocephalus. Trophic position based on SIA did not differ from spring to fall. Regression analysis revealed that trophic position as determined by GCA and SIA was comparable, yet was generally higher as estimated by GCA. These results suggest seasonal variability in diet was greater than longitudinal variability, and short term diet variability may not be reflected in the isotopic signature of these fishes.

PRESENTATION Comparison of Biological Assessment Tools and Biocriteria Used By States in the New England and Mid-Atlantic Regions 06/05/2006
SHELTON, A., D. KLEMM, K. A. BLOCKSOM, AND B. C. AUTREY. Comparison of Biological Assessment Tools and Biocriteria Used By States in the New England and Mid-Atlantic Regions. Presented at North American Benthological Society, Anchorage, AK, June 04 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: This poster is an overview of biological assessment programs for wadeable streams within states in USEPA Regions 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) and 3 (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia). Specifically, we provide details on target assemblages (i.e., benthic macroinvertebrates, periphyton and/or fish) and the specific methods used by each state to determine whether biocriteria set for aquatic life use (ALU) are met in wadeable streams and rivers. Since geography spans state boundaries, protocols are often shared and regional approaches to bioassessment are useful. However, differences in biota due to ecoregional differences (e.g., topography, stream gradients, etc.) have made it necessary for states to adjust their monitoring and assessment programs, as well as the analysis of data and biocriteria development. There are many differences among state programs with variations in index periods, indicator assemblages, reference conditions, sampling protocols, laboratory methods, taxonomic resolution, metric evaluation and/or index development. Differences and similarities among states are addressed for states within each of the regions.

PRESENTATION Invertebrate Assemblages from Headwater Streams With Different Flow Permanence 06/05/2006
FRITZ, K. M. AND B. R. JOHNSON. Invertebrate Assemblages from Headwater Streams With Different Flow Permanence. Presented at North American Benthological Society, Anchorage, AK, June 04 - 09, 2006.
Abstract: Headwater streams are the most abundant and widespread of our nation's surface waters, yet few ecological assessments are specifically targeting these resources. Natural drying has a strong influence on the biological communities and can confound the use of traditional stream assessment tools. The study goal was to identify biological assemblage shifts associated with flow permanence in minimally altered headwater streams. This information can then be used to better separate the effects of periodic drying and anthropogenic impacts in headwater streams. Invertebrates were sampled from depositional and erosional habitats in 43 reaches along 17 headwater streams and across four forests in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Assemblage composition differed significantly between intermittent and perennial reaches, however assemblages showed stronger overall differences among forests. Among environmental variables, water temperature and dissolved oxygen showed the strongest correlations to ordination axes. Invertebrate taxa individually accounted for low percentages of the overall dissimilarity between intermittent and perennial reaches, where 90% of the dissimilarity was accounted for by 169 taxa. Invertebrate assemblage differences appeared to be primarily driven by physiographic region and secondarily by flow permanence at the reach scale.

PRESENTATION Chinese Mitten Crabs (Eriocheir Sinensis) in the St. Lawrence River (Canada): New Records and Risk of Invasion 05/15/2006
DE LAFONTAINE, Y., R. CALVE, C. TEPOLT, AND S. DESPATIE. Chinese Mitten Crabs (Eriocheir Sinensis) in the St. Lawrence River (Canada): New Records and Risk of Invasion. Presented at International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, Key Biscayne, FL, May 14 - 17, 2006.
Abstract: The Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis, is an internationally renowned aquatic invader. Native to China and North/South Korea, this catadromous crab has successfully invaded several rivers and estuaries in eleven countries in Western Europe as well as the San Francisco Bay ecosystem in the United States. Once established, mitten crab populations can cause (1) significant ecological damage in terms of local biodiversity as a result of their abundance, and (2) structural damage to banks of rivers and estuaries as a result of their burrowing behavior. The species can also a affects the fisheryeconomy by fouling fishing gear and nets. The introduction and transfer of this pest species is generally associated with shipping via ballast water discharge and/or import for food consumption.
Given the recent ch;anges in the shipping trade between North America and Asia, the present study ivnestigated whether the risk of invasion via shipping into the St. Lawrence River has changed recently and whether any changes might have contributed to the recent introduction of the crab to the St. Lawrence River. The hypothesis that the frequency of inbound ships originating from countries with current Chinese mitten crab populations has changed in recent years was specifically tested.

PRESENTATION Development of Dna-Based Tools for Identification and Monitoring of Aquatic Introduced Species 05/15/2006
DARLING, J., C. TEPOLT, M. J. BLUM, AND M. BAGLEY. Development of Dna-Based Tools for Identification and Monitoring of Aquatic Introduced Species. Presented at International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, Key Biscayne, FL, May 14 - 19, 2006.
Abstract: Claims for potential applications of DNA taxonomy range from identification of unknown specimens and the discovery of new species to the study of biodiversity through comprehensive characterizations of complex biotic communities drawn from environmental samples. Recently, these applications have been widely recommended for the identification and monitoring of introduced and invasive species. DNA-based approaches have the capacity to provide rapid, inexpensive, and technically accessible tools for managers tasked with recognizing and preventing the importation and/or spread of potential invasives. Some recent studies have demonstrated the feasibility of such tools, at least for the most straightforward applications. However, significant technological hurdles must be overcome before more ambitious applications are realized. Here we explore the promise of a number of DNA-based tools for various applications associated with the identification and monitoring of aquatic invasive species, and review potential limitations in their application and technical difficulties associated with their development. By categorizing these tools based on characteristics of target samples and the desired outcomes of each application, we provide a conceptual framework for assessing the appropriateness of particular tools for solving particular problems. We also summarize some recent empirical data illustrating the promise of DNA-based applications, along with the challenges involved in their development. Specifically, we review the design of targeted PCR approaches to screening for green crab (Carcinus maenas) and mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) larvae in ballast water, and describe attempts to characterize complex ballast water communities based on the determination of DNA "barcode" sequences (mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit I, COI). Green crab- and mitten crab-specific PCR primers have been developed based on comparison of COI sequence from these target species and other brachyurans, and by testing green and mitten crab microsatellite loci for cross-amplification with congeners and other closely related species. We explore the specificity and sensitivity of these primers by screening both control communities of known composition and ballast samples collected from a number of US west coast ports. We also present results of ballast community characterization based on shotgun cloning and sequencing of COI fragments generated by universal PCR of bulk-extracted DNA. These results clearly demonstrate that such approaches are seriously constrained by biases in PCR and/or DNA extraction efficiencies, and by the limitations of available sequence databases.

PRESENTATION Dna Damage and Vitellogenin Responses in Feral Fish Exposed to Urbanization and Waste Water Treatment Effluent in South Carolina, USA 05/08/2006
OTTER, R., D. A. GORDON, J. R. MEIER, AND S. KLAINE. Dna Damage and Vitellogenin Responses in Feral Fish Exposed to Urbanization and Waste Water Treatment Effluent in South Carolina, USA. Presented at SETAC-Europe, Hague, NETHERLANDS, May 07 - 11, 2006.
Abstract: This study was designed to look at the impact of urbanization and a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) by using field-collected bluegill (Lepomis machrochkrus). Fish were collected from four locations in the same river: above city (reference); below city and above the WWTP; directly below the WWTP; and three km downstream of the WWTP and below an impoundment. Results show a significant increase in DNA damage in blood cells (comet assay) below urbanized areas. This effect was reduced downstream of the WWTP, however DNA damage increased at the site furthest downstream, suggesting another stressor source. Juvenile fish collected directly below a WWTP outfall showed a 12-fold induction in vitellogenin (Vg) gene expression over reference fish. Vg expressions in fish collected 3 km downstream of the WWTP were similar to reference fish. Habitat quality assessments, along with chemical concentrations of polyaromatic hydrocarbons in sediments and synthetic estrogens and alkyphenols concentrations in water, showed that habitat quality between all sites was similar and chemical stressors could in part explain the biological effects seen in bluegill.

PRESENTATION Gene Expression, Proteomics and Microarrays and Their Respective Informatic Approaches to Address Ecotoxicological Issues: Bioinformatics 101 05/08/2006
KOSTICH, M. Gene Expression, Proteomics and Microarrays and Their Respective Informatic Approaches to Address Ecotoxicological Issues: Bioinformatics 101. Presented at SETAC-Europe, Hague, NETHERLANDS, May 07 - 12, 2006.
Abstract: Slide presentation at SETAC-Europe, The Hague, Netherlands, May 7, 2006.

PRESENTATION Effect of Taxonomic Resolution on the Performance Characteristics of a New Macroinvertebrate Field Sampling Protocol for Large Rivers 05/07/2006
BLOCKSOM, K. A. AND J. E. FLOTEMERSCH. Effect of Taxonomic Resolution on the Performance Characteristics of a New Macroinvertebrate Field Sampling Protocol for Large Rivers. Presented at 5th National Monitoring Conference, San Jose, CA, May 07 - 11, 2006.
Abstract: The performance characteristics of a sampling protocol provide critical information about its utility for diverse bioassessment applications. The taxonomic resolution used to estimate performance can affect such comparisons. Specifically, identification of organisms to family level should result in estimates of precision and sensitivity that differ from those calculated at the genus and species levels. Recently, U.S. EPA developed a new macroinvertebrate field sampling protocol for large rivers with an accompanying laboratory protocol, and a study was conducted to assess the performance characteristics of this protocol. Initially, estimates and evaluations of performance were measured for data at the lowest possible taxon level. However, many states use family- or genus-level data for bioassessment due to cost or other resource constraints. Thus, we re-evaluated precision and sensitivity of the protocol at the family and genus levels in order to determine the effect of taxonomic resolution on these attributes. We evaluated these characteristics using assemblage metrics and examined both the field and laboratory components. Although precision was greater at the family level, with fewer anticipated errors in taxonomic identification, sensitivity to a disturbance gradient was reduced. This study provides an indication of the type of tradeoff that can be expected for varying levels of taxonomic resolution applied to the same protocol.

PRESENTATION From Molecules to Populations: Using Population Genetics to Answer the So What Question 04/25/2006
BAGLEY, M. From Molecules to Populations: Using Population Genetics to Answer the So What Question. Presented at 2006 Toxicology and Risk Assessment Conference, Cincinnati, OH, April 24 - 26, 2006.
Abstract: Important endpoints for ecological risk assessments are usually those that affect population or species persistence rather than individual-level responses. Nonetheless, ecological risk assessments are generally based on measures of individual-level responses. Extrapolation of individual responses to populations via modeling approaches has received great interest but is limited by data and system understanding; environmental stressors are often multifactorial, with unknown interactive effects among variables, making it difficult to model population responses accurately. Empirical approaches to understanding environmental effects on demographic parameters and population dynamics are helpful but time-consuming and expensive. We have taken the approach of evaluating molecular population genetic patterns in conjunction with environmental variability data to understand population-level responses to changes in environmental condition. Genetic diversity patterns within and among populations result from integrated population responses to various environmental stressors as they impact effective population size, connectivity among populations, and local adaptation. Examples of the population genetic approach will be presented for stream fish populations assessed at the scales of watersheds and ecoregions. Ultimately, we expect our work to contribute to a framework for spatially explicit ecological risk assessment that integrates assessment of landscape stressors and habitat condition with genetic and population modeling approaches.

PRESENTATION An Introduction to Molecular Indicators of Ecological Exposure 04/19/2006
BIALES, A. D., U. STOLZ, AND J. DARLING. An Introduction to Molecular Indicators of Ecological Exposure. Presented at SETAC - Ohio Valley Chapter, Fort Wayne, IN, April 19, 2006.
Abstract: There is no abstract available for this product. If further information is requested, please refer to the bibliographic citation and contact the person listed under Contact field.

PRESENTATION Evaluation of Baseline Population Genetic Parameters of Tahoe Basin Amphibians Using Archival Specimens 03/28/2006
HEKKALA, E. Evaluation of Baseline Population Genetic Parameters of Tahoe Basin Amphibians Using Archival Specimens. Presented at Genetics Workshop, Wildlife Society, New York Chapter, Long Island, NY, March 28 - 30, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at the Genetics Workshop, New York Chapter, Wildlife Society, Long Island, New York.

PRESENTATION Building Consensus on the Assessment of Large, Non-Wadeable Rivers: Technical Issues 03/24/2006
FLOTEMERSCH, J. E., K. A. BLOCKSOM, J. STRIBLING, M. PAUL, J. LESSARD, AND B. SNYDER. Building Consensus on the Assessment of Large, Non-Wadeable Rivers: Technical Issues. Presented at Association of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Biolgists , Berkeley Springs, WV, March 22 - 24, 2006.
Abstract: Workshop presentation at the Association of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Biologists Meeting.

PRESENTATION A Comparison of Single and Multiple Habitat Protocols for Collecting Macroinvertebrates in Piedmont Streams 03/23/2006
BLOCKSOM, K. A., M. PASSMORE, B. C. AUTREY, AND L. REYNOLDS. A Comparison of Single and Multiple Habitat Protocols for Collecting Macroinvertebrates in Piedmont Streams. Presented at Mid-Atlantic Water Pollution Biology Workshop, Berkeley Springs, WV, March 21 - 24, 2006.
Abstract: Oral presentation at the Mid-Atlantic Water Pollution Biology Workshop, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

PRESENTATION Macroinvertebrate Assemblages of the St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers: An Initial Application of the Large River Bioassessment Protocol (Lr-Bp) in EPA Region 5 03/22/2006
JOHNSON, B. R., K. A. BLOCKSOM, AND J. E. FLOTEMERSCH. Macroinvertebrate Assemblages of the St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers: An Initial Application of the Large River Bioassessment Protocol (Lr-Bp) in EPA Region 5. Presented at Association of Mid-Atlantic Aquatic Biologists Workshop , Berkeley Springs, WV, March 22 - 24, 2006.
Abstract: There is no abstract available for this product. If further information is needed, please contact the person listed in the contact field.

PRESENTATION Application of GIS Within the Office of Research and Development 02/01/2006
REIF, M. Application of GIS Within the Office of Research and Development. Presented at ESRI Federal User Conference, Washington, DC, January 31 - February 02, 2006.
Abstract: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is used in a variety of ecological research applications throughout the U.S. The methods of GIS employed in this research range from assisting with sampling locations to statistical calculations and modelling. In additiion, ESRI's suite of GIS software tools (e.g., ArcHydro Tools and Spatial Analyst) are utilized in analyses. Geospatial data is obtained from a variety of sources, such as the USGS, USDA, USFWS, and USEPA, as well as state and local resources.

PUBLISHED REPORT Field Operations Manual for Assessing the Hydrologic Permanence and Ecological Condition of Headwater Streams 09/30/2006
FRITZ, K. M., B. R. JOHNSON, AND DAVID M. WALTERS. Field Operations Manual for Assessing the Hydrologic Permanence and Ecological Condition of Headwater Streams. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-06/126 (NTIS PB2007-100972), 2006.
Abstract: The purpose of this manual is to document procedures that were developed and used by the Ecological Exposure Research Division, NERL, ORD, for the assessment of the physical and biological characteristics of headwater streams; and to provide a catalog of procedures to other groups with an interest in headwater stream assessment. This document provides methods specifically designed for assessing the hydrologic permanence and ecological condition of headwater streams.

PUBLISHED REPORT Concepts and Approaches for the Bioassessment of Non-Wadeable Streams and Rivers 09/30/2006
FLOTEMERSCH, J. E., J. B. STRIBLING, AND M. J. PAUL. Concepts and Approaches for the Bioassessment of Non-Wadeable Streams and Rivers. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-06/127 (NTIS PB2007-100970), 2006.
Abstract: This document is intended to assist users in establishing or refining protocols, including the specific methods related to field sampling, laboratory sample processing, taxonomy, data entry, management and analysis, and final assessment and reporting. It also reviews and provides information on development of monitoring designs to address certain types of environmental questions and approaches for documenting and reporting data quality and performance characteristics for large river biological monitoring. The approaches presented are not intended to replace existing program components but may in some cases be useful for refining them.

PUBLISHED REPORT Comparison of Random and Systematic Site Selection for Assessing Attainment of Aquatic Life Uses in Segments of the Ohio River 09/18/2006
BLOCKSOM, K. A., E. EMERY, AND J. THOMAS. Comparison of Random and Systematic Site Selection for Assessing Attainment of Aquatic Life Uses in Segments of the Ohio River. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-06/089 (NTIS PB2007-100971), 2006.
Abstract: This report is a description of field work and data analysis results comparing a design comparable to systematic site selection with one based on random selection of sites. The report is expected to validate the use of random site selection in the bioassessment program for the Ohio River. This research will show that random site selection reduces the overall sampling effort while providing confidence around the estimates of impairment in the population. This work supports the use of this type of site selection approach in other great rivers.

PUBLISHED REPORT Development of a Fish Index of Biotic Integrity to Assess the Condition of West Virginia Streams: Technical Support Document 07/01/2006
WALTERS, DAVID M. Development of a Fish Index of Biotic Integrity to Assess the Condition of West Virginia Streams: Technical Support Document. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-06/010 (NTIS PB2006-114608), 2006.
Abstract: This report documents the development of a fish index of biotic integrity (IBI) for wadeable streams in West Virginia and to determine the applicability of the IBI in streams with different thermal regimes. The IBI will be developed using fish data collected at EMAP sites from 1993 - 1998. RARE sites are used as an independent data set to test the robustness of the IBI across stream temperature regimes (i.e., cold, cool, and warm water streams).

PUBLISHED REPORT The Evaluation of Methods for Creating Defensible, Repeatable, Objective and Accurate Tolerance Values 05/01/2006
BLOCKSOM, K. A. AND L. WINTERS. The Evaluation of Methods for Creating Defensible, Repeatable, Objective and Accurate Tolerance Values. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-06/045 (NTIS PB2007-102023), 2006.
Abstract: In the field of bioassessment, tolerance has traditionally referred to the degree to which organisms can withstand environmental degradation. This concept has been around for many years and its use is widespread. In numerous cases, tolerance values (TVs) have been assigned to individual taxa or groups of taxa to represent their tolerance to pollution. The TVs are then often combined into metrics which describe characteristics of aquatic communities. Perhaps the most familiar example is the Hilsenhoff Biotic Index (HBI) (Hilsenhoff, 1977), an index that has been incorporated into many bioassessment programs. The HBI is typically very useful in distinguishing among sites of higher and lower water quality. To calculate the HBI, each environmental agency or organization typically uses its own set of tolerance values. However, the origins of these values, and rationales for their selection, are often obscure and unverifiable. Available methods for deriving TVs more objectively vary substantially in approach and complexity. Therefore, this study conducts systematic comparisons of existing lists of macroinvertebrate TVs and their resulting HBI scores. It also compares several objective TV derivation approaches, as well as bioassessment metrics derived from each, to determine their repeatability and sensitivity to disturbance.
Several existing lists of macroinvertebrate TVs were assembled into a single database for the purpose of direct comparison. The values for a given taxon varied widely from list to list, but this variation was somewhat muted when TVs were incorporated into HBI scores, particularly at the genus level. The process of developing TVs by a particular organization seems to vary as well and often depends on professional judgment. Although such processes may provide effective tools for bioassessment, they are not repeatable. To compare objective TV development approaches, data from a single stream study in the mid-Atlantic highlands were divided randomly into calibration and validation sets, and each approach was carried out on both data sets. All but one approach consisted of first defining a disturbance gradient and then using one of two procedures to calculate the TV. One approach used EPT richness to describe the disturbance level, another used a principal components analysis (PCA), and a third used PCA with generalized additive modeling (GAM) to more precisely model the relationship between the probability of taxon presence and disturbance. A fourth approach relied on the observed frequency of a taxon compared to its expected frequency using predictive modeling. For the EPT, PCA, and GAM approaches, two procedures each for calculating TVs were examined, one based on a single value from the gradient defined and the other a weighted average. The TVs generated were compared between the calibration and validation data sets, as were three tolerance-based macroinvertebrate metrics. In addition, the ability of these metrics to distinguish between reference and impaired sites was evaluated for each method.

All of the approaches evaluated exhibited some degree of repeatability but varied with respect to the type of data and the degree of statistical experience or training required. The EPT approach was the least defensible approach because of its circular nature. Weighted procedures for calculating TVs from the defined disturbance gradient resulted in higher repeatability. Among the metrics evaluated, intolerant taxa richness was most useful overall because it distinguished most strongly between reference and impaired and was repeatable across most approaches.


 

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