National Status and Trends Program; Benthic Surveillance ProjectEntry ID: ORCA_CMBAD_NS_T_BSP
Abstract: Surficial (uppermost 1-3 cm.) sediments and bottom-dwelling fish are well-
documented indicators of marine pollution conditions. The Benthic Surveillance
Project monitors contaminant levels in surficial sediments, selected
bottomfish, and fish stomach contents in nearshore waters of the United States.
Biological indicators of chemical contaminant exposure also are monitored at
Benthic ... Surveillance sites. The measurement of contaminant concentrations in
marine organisms, such as fish and their food prey, bridges the gap between
which chemicals are associated with sediment particulates, and which ones are
taken up and potentially bioaccumulated by marine species. Because of their
mobility, bottomfish generally reflect environmental conditions over a wider
geographical area than do sediments or sedentary organisms.
Surficial sediments and tissue samples of approximately 15 species of fish are
analyzed for over 70 chemical pollutants identified by the NS&T Program.
Chemical analyses are performed on stomach contents, liver and bile tissue
matrices. The frequency of external disease conditions (such as external
tumors and fin rot) and internal lesions (such as liver and kidney tumors) in
bottomfish also is recorded at each site. DNA adducts, bile metabolites, and
mixed function oxidase enzyme levels are measured in fish at selected sites.
The length, age, gender, and stomach contents are recorded for each fish
sample. Multiple fish species are sampled to accommodate the Project's
national scope; the species selected at a site depends on availability. Primary
species include winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) in the
Northeast, white perch (Morone americana) in the mid-Atlantic, Atlantic croaker
(Micropogonias undulatus) in the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico, white croaker
(Genyonemus lineatus) in the Southwest, English sole (Parophrys vetulus) in the
Northwest, and flathead sole (Hippoglossoides elassodon) in Alaska.
Samples are collected from nearshore waters of the East, Gulf and West coasts
of the United States, as well as Alaska. Sampling is conducted at more than 80
sites, however, fewer sites (about 50) were monitored when the Project was
initiated in 1984. Fish are collected in bottom trawl nets in waters ranging
from 1 to 70 meters in depth. Sediment samples are skimmed from the top three
centimeters of the bottom surface. Sediment sampling stations generally are
located within 500 meters of the site center and are positioned near the trawl
sampling track(s). The geographic coordinates (longitude and latitude to
tenths of a minute) are recorded along with the water depth at each sediment
collection station. For fish sample collections, the starting position and
either the ending position, or the compass heading, speed and duration of the
trawl for each trawl is recorded. Sediment collection stations and trawl
transects are plotted on National Ocean Service charts.
Samples are collected and analyzed for contaminants by scientists from the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Samples from the Northeast and West
Coasts are analyzed by the NMFS Environmental Conservation Division, Northwest
Fisheries Center at Seattle, WA. The NMFS Beaufort Laboratory, Southeast
Fisheries Center at Beaufort, NC, monitors Southeast coastal waters through
the Gulf of Mexico to the Mexican border. Both laboratories participate in the
NS&T Quality Assurance Project to ensure intercomparison of the data.
Other projects associated with NS&T are Mussel Watch (monitoring of a suite of
contaminants in mussels and oysters), Bioeffects Surveys and Research
(intensive assessments in regions where NS&T monitoring indicates
moderate-to-high levels of contamination), Historical Assessments (comparisons
with pertinent historical data), and Coastal Contamination Assessments
(analyses used by policy makers and resource managers to evaluate toxic
contaminant conditions in their area). The Quality Assurance and Specimen
Banking Projects are discussed in the description of data quality, in the
attributes section; you are now reading the brief description section.
NS&T raw data is available from the NS&T home page: http://NSandT.noaa.gov
Start Date: 1984-01-01Stop Date: 1993-12-31
HUMAN DIMENSIONS > ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS > CONTAMINANT LEVELS/SPILLS
OCEANS > MARINE SEDIMENTS > SEDIMENT COMPOSITION
OCEANS > WATER QUALITY > OCEAN CONTAMINANTS
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION > ANIMALS/INVERTEBRATES
BIOSPHERE > AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS > BENTHIC HABITAT
BIOSPHERE > AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS > MARINE HABITAT
Data Set Progress
Role: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Phone: 301-713-3028 x 149
Email: ed.johnson at noaa.gov
1305 East West Highway
City: Silver Spring
Province or State: MD
Postal Code: 20910
Long, E.R., and L.G. Morgan. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS/OMA 52, 'The
Potential for Biological Effects of Sediment-sorbed Contaminants Tested in the
National Status and Trends Program.' 1990.
NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS/OMA 59, National Status and Trends Program for
Marine Environmental Quality. Progress Report. 'Second Summary of Data on
Chemical Contaminants in Sediments from the National Status and Trends
Program.' April, 1991.
Varnansi,U., S-L. Chan, B.B.McClain, J.T. Landahl, M.H. Schlewe, R.C. Clark,
D.W. Brown, M.S. Myers, M.M. Krahn, W.D. Gronlund, and W.D.MacLeod Jr., NOAA
Technical Memorandum NMFS/NWC 170, 'National Benthic Surveillance Project:
Pacific Coast: Part II, Technical Presentation of the results for Cycles I to
III (1984-86).' 1989.
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Creation and Review Dates
Last DIF Revision Date: 2007-03-06