Science Inventory

Diagnosis of potential stressors adversely affecting benthic invertebrate communities in Greenwich Bay, Rhode Island, USA

Citation:

Pelletier, M., K. Ho, M. Cantwell, M. Perron, K. Rocha, R. Burgess, R. Johnson, K. Perez, J. Cardin, AND M. Charpentier. Diagnosis of potential stressors adversely affecting benthic invertebrate communities in Greenwich Bay, Rhode Island, USA. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY. Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Pensacola, FL, 36(2):449-462, (2017).

Impact/Purpose:

This study assessed the utility of a recently developed diagnostic procedure to identify the important stressors affecting Greenwich Bay (RI) fauna. First, existing data and information were used to confirm that the waterbody was impaired. Second, the presence of source, stressor and effect were established. Then linkages between source, stressor, and effect were developed which allowed identification of probable stressors adversely affecting the waterbody. Our results showed that Greenwich Bay was primarily impacted by eutrophication-related stressors. The sediments of Greenwich Bay are carbon enriched and low dissolved oxygen levels are commonly seen, especially in the western portions of Greenwich Bay. The benthic community is depauparate, as would be expected under oxygen stress. This analysis demonstrates that the diagnostic procedure was useful to organize and assess the potential stressors impacting the ecological well-being of Greenwich Bay. This technique is useful for the organization and interpretation of multiple indicators to better manage waterbodies impacted by multiple stressors.

Description:

Greenwich Bay is an urbanized embayment of Narragansett Bay potentially impacted by multiple stressors. The present study identified the important stressors affecting Greenwich Bay benthic fauna. First, existing data and information were used to confirm that the waterbody was impaired. Second, the presence of source, stressor, and effect were established. Then linkages between source, stressor, and effect were developed. This allows identification of probable stressors adversely affecting the waterbody. Three pollutant categories were assessed: chemicals, nutrients, and suspended sediments. This weight of evidence approach indicated that Greenwich Bay was primarily impacted by eutrophication-related stressors. The sediments of Greenwich Bay were carbon enriched and low dissolved oxygen concentrations were commonly seen, especially in the western portions of Greenwich Bay. The benthic community was depauperate, as would be expected under oxygen stress. Although our analysis indicated that contaminant loads in Greenwich Bay were at concentrations where adverse effects might be expected, no toxicity was observed, as a result of high levels of organic carbon in these sediments reducing contaminant bioavailability. Our analysis also indicated that suspended sediment impacts were likely nonexistent for much of the Bay. This analysis demonstrates that the diagnostic procedure was useful to organize and assess the potential stressors impacting the ecological well-being of Greenwich Bay. This diagnostic procedure is useful for management of waterbodies impacted by multiple stressors.

URLs/Downloads:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/etc.3562   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 01/24/2017
Record Last Revised: 05/08/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 335294

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

HABITATS EFFECT BRANCH