Trace organic contamination in Galveston Bay oysters: results from the NOAA National Status and Trends Mussel Watch Program
Wade, Terry L., Thomas J. Jackson, James M. Brooks, Jose L. Sericano, Bernardo Garcia-Romero, and Dan L. Wilkinson
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It is important to determine the current status of contaminant concentrations in order to assess the environmental response to management decisions that reduce or stop the input of selected contaminants. To fill this information gap with high quality data for U.S. coastal areas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) established the National Status and Trends (NS&T) Mussel Watch Program. As part of the NS&T Program, sediment and oyster samples have been collected and analyzed from over 70 estuarine sites in the Gulf of Mexico representing all major Gulf Coast estuaries. Sampling sites were located in areas not influenced by known point sources of contaminant inputs, including Galveston Bay. Oysters were employed as sentinel organisms because they are cosmopolitan, sedentary, bioaccumulate, able to provide an assessment of bioavailability, not readily capable of metabolizing contaminants, able to survive pollution loading, transplantable, and commercially valuable. Oysters are, therefore, excellent biomonitors for contamination in estuarine areas.