A toxics-based biological observing system (tBiOS) for PS

Lyndal Johnson, NWFSC

Pre-spawn mortality of salmon is occurring in restored urban streams.  It is associated with urban development, road traffic, and storm water runoff, but concentrations of toxics aren’t high enough to account for the convulsions and lethargy.  We suspect a synergistic effect of multiple pollutants.

PAHs affect embryo development in spawned herring eggs (e.g. heart defects).

These problems would not have been identified without monitoring for contaminants as well as biological effects.  Sometimes the source is the food web, not water or sediments.  Contaminants may be having damaging effects at sub-lethal concentrations (e.g. copper at 5-20 ng/l decreasing predator evasion and other behaviors that depend on olfaction).

What monitoring is currently being done in PS as part of PSAMP?

  • contaminants are measured in a few species
  • liver disease is monitored in English sole
  • bethic community structure and sediment toxicity to invertebrates in bioassays

What is a biologically-integrated Observing System for Toxics (tBIOS):

  • assess exposure and effects in biota across ecologically relevant habitats and food webs
  • focus research projects (30% of monitoring budget) which piggyback on monitoring framework
  • link design of monitoring program to conceptual models (e.g. food webs, toxic loading and transport)

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