"Proceedings, Federal Interagency Workshop,
"Sediment Technology for the 21'st Century,"
St. Petersburg, FL, February 17-19, 1998"

Development of Benthic Profile Imaging and Sampling System (BPISS)

By Scott Carr



Great advances have been achieved during the last decade in the conduct of sediment quality assessment studies (Carr et al., 1996a; 1996b; 1997a). Several novel and sensitive methods have been developed for evaluating the toxicity of contaminated sediments but the relationship between these tests and actual impacts in the field are often difficult to correlate (Carr and Chapman, 1992; 1995, Carr et al., 1997b). We propose to develop a sampling and reconnaissance instrument which would allow the real-time evaluation of the infaunal benthic community at the precise point where samples for toxicity or other chemical/physical measurements are taken. This instrument would help bridge the link between contaminant concentrations and benthic impacts which is a critical issue for developing sediment quality guidelines (MacDonald et al., 1996).


This instrument would be useful to all facets of the environmental community (i.e., Federal, state, academic, private, international) that are considered with sediment quality in riverine, estuarine, and marine ecosystems.


To develop a sampler that would consist of a video sediment profile imaging system coupled with pneumatic and vacuum operated sampling devices for collecting sediment and sediment pore water while simultaneously measuring dissolved oxygen, redox potential, pH, sulfide, and ammonia concentrations at varying depths (0-20 cm).

This device would allow large numbers of sites to be sampled and the benthos rapidly assessed simultaneously, thereby providing a database which could be used to reinterpret data from previous studies in which only toxicity/chemistry data were obtained.


The development of this instrument would utilize existing commercially available cameras, probes, etc. The first prototype instrument would be designed for shallow water (< 10 m depths) use. The second phase development would be designed for oceanographic applications. We envision that the first prototype could be developed with 6-12 months. The oceanographic version would probably require an additional year to develop.


Funding by Fiscal Year:
FY99 $100K
FY00 $75K

Principal Investigator

Scott Carr

Human Resource Requirements - 2 to 3 man-years/year


Dr. Joe Germano, EVS, Seattle, WA - co-developer of the REMOTS¨ sediment profile camera
Dr. Marion Nipper, TAMU-CC, CCS, Corpus Christi, TX - marine ecotoxicologist
Dr. Bruce Williamson, NIWA, Hamilton, New Zealand - marine porewater chemist
Dr. Paul Montagna, UTMSI, Port Aransas, TX - marine benthic ecologist
Dr. George Tate, USGS, Geologic Division

References Cited

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, C.L. Howard, and J. Biedenbach. 1996a. Sediment Quality Triad assessment survey in the Galveston Bay Texas system. Ecotoxicology 5:341-361.

Carr, R.S., D.C. Chapman, B.J. Presley, J.M. Biedenbach, L. Robertson, P. Boothe, R. Kilada, T. Wade and P. Montagna. 1997a. 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. 53:2618-2628.

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

Carr, R.S., P.M. Montagna and M.C. Kennicutt. 1997b. Sediment quality assessment of storm water outfalls and other sites of concern in the Corpus Christi Bay National Estuary Program study area. Report prepared for the Corpus Christi Bay National Estuary Program, 90 pp. + 23 appendices.

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.

upWorkshop Contributions

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]