Because fish are readily consumed by humans as well as by many wildlife species, the monitoring of contamination in fish provides a direct measure of the potential human and ecological health concerns associated with contaminant sources. Unlike periodic measurements of chemicals in water, biological monitoring provides a time-averaged measure of the effect of exposure from all contaminant sources. Fish species such as sunfish are ideal monitoring tools because they are abundant at most monitoring sites and are relatively short-lived and sedentary. They represent contaminant exposures at the site of collection. Thus, these species can be used to effectively evaluate spatial and temporal changes in contamination as a result of remedial actions or the absence of action.
- Contaminant Screening - to identify contaminants that accumulate in aquatic organisms and determine the degree of contamination as it relates to human and ecological risk concerns. Initial screening studies on the Oak Ridge Reservation identified two contaminants that bioaccumulate to a significant degree above background levels in fish: mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- Contaminant Tracking - to evaluate spatial and temporal changes in contamination of aquatic life in order to evaluate actions intended to reduce contaminant inputs or availability
- Source Identification - to identify sources of contamination and determine pathways and processes of transport from source to aquatic organisms
Bioaccumulation monitoring has been conducted at the following sites. Results area available for streams in:
For more information regarding Bioaccumulation Monitoring, please contact Mark Peterson.
Last Modified: April 17, 2001
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