, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 131-142

Contaminant Exposure and Effects—Terrestrial Vertebrates Database: Trends and Data Gaps for Atlantic Coast Estuaries

Abstract

In order to examine the condition of biota in Atlantic coast estuaries, "Contaminant Exposure and Effects—Terrestrial Vertebrates" database (CEE-TV) has been compiled through computerized search of published literature, review of existing databases, and solicitation of unpublished reports from conservation agencies, private groups, and universities. Summary information has been entered into the database, including species, collection date (1965–present), site coordinates, estuary name, hydrologic unit code, sample matrix, contaminant concentrations, biomarker and bioindicator responses, and reference source, utilizing a 98-field character and numeric format. Currently, the CEE-TV database contains 3699 geo-referenced records representing 190 vertebrate species and >140,000 individuals residing in estuaries from Maine through Florida. This relational database can be directly queried or imported into a Geographic Information System to examine spatial patterns, identify data gaps and areas of concern, generate hypotheses, and focus ecotoxicological field assessments. Information on birds made up the vast majority (83%) of the database, with only a modicum of data on amphibians (<0.1%). Of the >75,000 chemical compounds in commerce, only 118 commonly measured environmental contaminants were quantified in tissues of terrestrial vertebrates. There were no CEE-TV data records in 15 of the 67 estuaries located along the Atlantic coast and Florida Gulf coast. The CEE-TV database has a number of potential applications including focusing biomonitoring efforts to generate critically needed ecotoxicological data in the numerous "gaps" along the coast, reducing uncertainty about contaminant risk, identifying areas for mitigation, restoration or special management, and ranking ecological conditions of estuaries.