, Volume 116, Issue 1-3, pp 275-290

A More Cost-Effective Emap Benthic Macrofaunal Sampling Protocol

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Abstract

Benthic macrofaunal sampling protocols in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) are to collect 30 to 50 random benthic macrofauna [defined as animals retained on a 0.5 mm (East and Gulf Coasts, USA) or a 1.0 mm mesh sieve (West Coast, USA)] samples per reporting unit using a 0.044 m2 (East and Gulf Coasts) or 0.1 m2 (West Coast) grab. Benthic macrofaunal community conditions in the reporting unit are characterized by cumulative distribution functions (CDFs) on end points of interest, such as number of species (S), abundance (A), and Shannon--Wiener diversity (H′). An EMAP and a companion field study were conducted concurrently in Tillamook Bay (Oregon, USA) to compare the cost effectiveness of benthic macrofauna samples collected using the EMAP West Coast (0.1 m2 × ≥7 cm deep, 1.0 mm mesh), a 0.01 m2 × 5 cm deep, 1.0 mm mesh, and a 0.01 m2 × 5 cm deep, 0.5 mm mesh sampling protocol. Cost was estimated in relative laboratory sample-processing time. Sampling protocols were judged equally effective for EMAP purposes if, after linear transformation to adjust for scale changes in end point distributions, their S, A, and H′ CDFs were not significantly different. The 0.01 m2 × 5 cm deep, 1.0 mm mesh sampling protocol was the most cost effective.