Science Inventory

Mussels and sediment as monitoring tools for contaminants: which to use when?

Citation:

Elskus, A., L. LeBlance, J. Latimer, D. Page, G. Harding, P. Wells, D. Killorn, AND M. Liebman. Mussels and sediment as monitoring tools for contaminants: which to use when? To be Presented at Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BoFEP) Science Workshop, TruroC, May 09 - 12, 2018.

Impact/Purpose:

The research results described in this presentation will be useful in the design and implementation of estuarine and coastal monitoring programs for environmental contaminants. These monitoring programs are necessary to inform state and provincial management to protect and restore the coastal marine environment.

Description:

For decades, sediments and mussels have been used to assess the ecological and human health risks associated with concentrations of bioavailable organic and metal contaminants in a variety of coastal-wide and localized monitoring programs. Mussels (Mytilus edulis) bioaccumulate organic and metal contaminants from the water and sediment, whereas sediments serve as repositories for particle-active contaminants. In the Gulf of Maine (GOM), monitoring coastal contamination in both sediments and mussels has been done through area-wide monitoring programs such as Mussel Watch (NOAA) and the National Coastal Assessment (EPA) on the U.S. side. Gulfwatch, a joint Canadian-US program, monitors contaminants in mussels at several sites to identify contaminant “hot spots” within the whole GOM. The need for sediment data from the Bay of Fundy prompted sediment collection in 2015 under the aegis of the EcoSystem Indicator Partnership from Gulfwatch stations along the Bay of Fundy coastline. Sediments were analyzed for a suite of organic and metal analytes, and bulk organic carbon. We compare mussel and sediment concentrations at several different sites in the GOM utilizing data from 2005-2015 from the above programs. Preliminary results show little correspondence between sediment and tissue contaminant concentrations of mussels collected in prior years at these same sites. Potential causes of this disconnect include space-time and geomorphology differences. We explore scenarios where one or the other matrix is better suited for describing environmental health. The factors that affect the utility of mussels vs. sediments as monitoring tools include spatial and temporal influences and the dynamic of their respective environments.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 05/09/2018
Record Last Revised: 05/18/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 340798

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

WATERSHED DIAGNOSTICS BRANCH