Proceedings of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Sediment Workshop, February 4-7, 1997

MARINE AND ESTUARINE SEDIMENT QUALITY ASSESSMENT STUDIES

R. Scott Carr, USGS, Midwest Science Center, Marine Ecotoxicology Research Station, Texas
A&M University-Corpus Christi, Center for Coastal Studies, Natural Resources Center, Suite 3200,
6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412

The primary focus at the Marine Ecotoxicology Research Station (MERS) over the past eight years has been the development and application of the porewater toxicity test approach for evaluating the quality of marine and estuarine sediments. Initial studies were conducted to assess the utility of this approach with different test species (Carr et al., 1988; Carr et al.., 1989; Long et al., 1990; Carr and Chapman, 1992) and extraction methods (Carr and Chapman, 1995; Carr, 1995; Carr, 1997a). Standardized procedures have been developed (Carr and Chapman, 1992; Carr, 1997b) and have been applied in numerous sediment quality assessment surveys in coastal bays (Long et al., 1990; NBS, 1992a, 1992b; Roach et al., 1992; Carr and Chapman, 1992; NBS, 1993; Carr et al., 1993; Hyland and Costa, 1994; NBS, 1994a, 1994b; Long et al., 1995; NBS, 1995a, 1995b; NOAA, 1995a, 1995b; Carr et al., 1996a; D'Unger et al., 1996; Carr et al., 1996b; NBS, 1996; USGS, 1996, 1997) and offshore environments (Carr et al., 1997; Kennicutt, 1995) of the US.

It has been shown that the porewater toxicity text method is amenable for use with a wide variety of test species including embryo/larval stages of molluscs, polychaetes, crustaceans, echinoderms, and fish (Carr and Chapman, 1992; Carr, 1997a; Carr et al., 1997) as well as tests with algal zoospores (Hooten and Carr, in review). These studies have also provided a direct comparison between porewater tests and the more commonly employed whole-sediment toxicity tests methods. The porewater toxicity tests with gametes and embryos of sea urchins are approximately an order-of-magnitude more sensitive than the standard 10-day solid-phase test with amphipods (Carr and Chapman 1992; Carr et al., 1996a; Carr, 1997a). Excellent correspondence between bulk sediment contaminant concentrations and porewater toxicity has been observed (Carr 1993; Carr et al, 1996a, 1996b; Carr et al., 1997. A high degree of concordance has been observed between porewater toxicity and the toxicity predicted on the basis of Sediment Quality Assessment Guidelines (SQAGs, Long et al., 1995; Carr et al., 1996a; 1996b; MacDonald et al., 1996; Carr et al., 1997).

We have recently used the SQAGs to calculate a cumulative index based on the contaminates for which SQAG effect level values are available (Figure 1, Carr et al., 1996a). The extensive database which has been generated from these porewater studies has recently been used to develop an independent set of SQAGs which have been referred to as porewater effect concentrations (PECs, Carr et al., 1996c). There was remarkably close correspondence between the PECS based on the porewater data and the SQAGs developed by Long et al., (1995) and MacDonald et al. (1996) which were based on completely different sets of data. These results demonstrates the utility of the porewater approach for conducting sediment quality assessment studies and support the validity of the co-occurrence approach for developing sediment quality guideline values.

Figure 1. Cumulative ERM index for Tampa Bay based on sea urchin porewater fertilization toxicity test data.

Literature Cited

Carr, R.S. 1988. Development and evaluation of a sediment bioassessment technique using the polychaete Dinophilus gyrociliatus. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 60 pp.

Carr, R.S. 1993. Sediment quality assessment survey of the Galveston Bay System. Galveston Bay National Estuary Program report, GBNEP-30, 101 pp.

Carr, R.S. 1995. Porewater toxicity testing: a direct measure of EqP. In: D.A. MacDonald and S.M. Salazar (eds.), The Utility of AVS/EqP in Hazardous Waste Site Evaluations, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS ORCA 87, 103 pp. + 4 appendices.

Carr, R.S. 1997. Marine and estuarine porewater toxicity testing.. In: Microscale Aquatic Toxicology - Advances, Techniques and Practice, P.G. Wells, K. Lee, and C. Blaise (eds.), CRC Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida (in press).

Carr, R.S. 1997. Sediment porewater toxicity testing. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, section 8080, 20th Edition, American Public Health Association, Washington, DC (in press).

Carr, R.S., J.M. Biedenbach, E.R. Long, and D.D. MacDonald. 1996. Comparison of sediment porewater effect based concentration values with marine sediment quality assessment guidelines. Abstract presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Washington DC, November 17-21, 1996.

Carr, R.S. and D.C. Chapman. 1992. Comparison of whole sediment and pore-water toxicity tests for assessing the quality of estuarine sediments. Chem. Ecol. 7:19-30.

Carr, R.S. and D.C. Chapman. 1995. Comparison of methods for conducting marine and estuarine sediment porewater toxicity tests - Extraction, storage, and handling techniques. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 28:69-77.

Carr, R.S., D.C. Chapman, and C. Howard. 1993. Survey of Galveston Bay sediments and benthic communities. In: Proceedings of The Second State of the Bay Symposium, Galveston Bay National Estuary Program Publication 23, Webster, Texas, pp. 83-94

Carr, R.S., D.C. Chapman, C.L. Howard, and J. Biedenbach. 1996. Sediment Quality Triad assessment survey in the Galveston Bay Texas system. Ecotoxicology 5:341-364.

Carr, R.S., D.C. Chapman, B.J. Presley, J.M. Biedenbach, L. Robertson, P. Boothe, R. Kilada, T. Wade and P. Montagna. 1997. Sediment porewater toxicity assessment studies in the vicinity of offshore oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Can . J. Fish. Aq. Sci. (in press).

Carr, R.S., E.R. Long., D.C. Chapman, G. Thursby, J.M. Biedenbach, H. Windom, G. Sloane and D.A. Wolfe. 1996. Toxicity assessment studies of contaminated sediments in Tampa Bay, Florida. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 15:1218-1231.

Carr, R.S., J.W. Williams, and C.T.B. Fragata. 1989. Development and evaluation of a novel marine sediment pore water toxicity test with the polychaete Dinophilus gyrociliatus. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 8:533-543.

D'Unger, C., D. Chapman, and R.S. Carr. 1996. Tidal discharge of produced water: An economic and toxicological case study. Environ. Mngmt. 20:143-150.

Hooten, R.L. and R.S. Carr. Development and application of a marine sediment porewater toxicity test using Ulva fasciata and U. lactuca zoospores. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. (in review).

Hyland, J.L. and H. Costa. 1994. Examining linkages between contaminant inputs and their impacts on living marine resources of the Massachusetts Bay ecosystem through application of the Sediment Quality Triad method. Final report prepared by Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA for the Massachusetts Bays Program, Boston, MA, ADL ref. # 43489.

Kennicutt, M.C., II (ed). 1995. Gulf of Mexico offshore operations monitoring experiment. Phase I: Sublethal responses to contaminant exposure, Phase 1. Kennicutt, M.C., II (ed.). OCS Study MMS 94-0045. U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Regional Office, New Orleans, Louisiana. 709 pp.

Long, E.R., M.R. Buchman, S.M. Bay, R.J. Breteler, R.S. Carr, P.M. Chapman, J.E. Hose, A.L. Lissner, J. Scott, and D.A. Wolfe. 1990. Comparative evaluation of five toxicity tests with sediments from San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay, California. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 9:1193-1214.

Long, E.R., R.S. Carr, G.A. Thursby and D.A. Wolfe. 1995. Sediment toxicity in Tampa Bay: Incidence, severity, and spatial extent. Florida Scientist 58:163-178.

Long, E.R., D.D. MacDonald, S.L. Smith and F.D. Calder. 1995. Incidence of adverse biological effects within ranges of chemical concentrations in marine and estuarine sediments. Environ. Manage. 19:81-97.

MacDonald, D.D., R.S. Carr, F.D. Calder, E.R. Long and C.G. Ingersoll. 1996. Development and evaluation of sediment quality guidelines for Florida coastal waters. Ecotoxicology 5:253-278.

NBS. 1993. Toxicity testing of sediments from Charleston Harbor, South Carolina and vicinity. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 7 pp. + 16 tables and 4 attachments.

NBS. 1994a. Survey of sediment toxicity in Pensacola Bay and St. Andrew Bay, Florida. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 12 pp. + 24 tables and 5 attachments.

NBS. 1994b. Toxicity testing of sediments from Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 6 pp. + 10 tables and 4 attachments.

NBS. 1995a. Toxicity testing of sediment from western Florida and coastal South Carolina and Georgia. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 14 pp. + 35 tables and 4 attachments. NBS. 1995b. Toxicity testing of sediment from Biscayne Bay, Florida and surrounding areas. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 11 pp. + 17 tables, 11 figures, and 4 attachments.

NBS. 1996. Toxicity testing of sediment from Sabine Lake, Texas. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 11 pp. + 10 tables, 4 figures, and 4 attachments.

NOAA. 1995a. Magnitude and extent of sediment toxicity in Tampa Bay, Florida. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS ORCA 78, Coastal Monitoring and Bioeffects Assessment Division, Silver Spring, MD, 84 pp. + 2 appendices.

NOAA. 1995b. Sediment toxicity in Boston Harbor: Magnitude, extent, and relationships with chemical toxicants. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS ORCA, Coastal Monitoring and Bioeffects Assessment Division, Silver Spring, MD, 85 pp. + 31 figures and 4 appendices.

Roach, R.W., R.S. Carr, C.L. Howard and B.W. Cain. 1992. An assessment of produced water impacts in Galveston Bay system. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Report, 61 pp.

USGS. 1996. Toxicity testing of sediment from Biscayne Bay, Florida and surrounding areas, phase II. Final report submitted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 10 pp. + 8 tables, 19 figures, and 4 attachments.

USGS. 1997. Sediment porewater toxicity test survey and Phase I sediment toxicity identification evaluation studies in Lavaca Bay, Texas, 15 pp. + 7 tables, 3 figures, 7 appendices, and 4 attachments.

Autobiography--Robert Scott Carr, Ph.D

Dr. Carr is a marine ecotoxicologist with the US Geological Survey's Midwest Science Center, and is Station Leader at the Marine Ecotoxicology Research Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. His research interests have focused on the sublethal responses of marine animals to pollutants, particularly those involving growth and reproductive processes. His recent research has focused on the development and application of the porewater toxicity test approach for assessing the quality of marine and estuarine sediments. Dr. Carr developed and teaches a graduate course in Environmental Toxicology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and has served as a consultant and taught short-courses in Sediment Ecotoxicology in several developing countries. Dr. Carr has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications and technical reports.

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