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Monitoring of long-term effects of marine pollution on regional marine ecosystems can be most useful to managers if based primarily on the use of bioindicators to monitor temporal changes in the mean background abundance of bioavailable contaminants in the region. Design of successful long-term, regional bioindicator monitoring programs requires that specific quantitative objectives be defined and expressed as null hypotheses. An optimum sampling and analysis plan designed to test these hypotheses must select the age, size range, and number of individuals per sample, the number of samples per site, the number of replicate analyses per sample, and other factors based on the known sources of variance in the environment, sampled population, and analysis procedure. Sampling sites must be systematically selected to be affected as little as possible by contaminant inputs which vary temporally on short time scales. Many suitable sites will require the transplantation of bioindicators, and the optimum program will probably require the exclusive use of transplanted populations.
bioindicators, monitoring, marine pollution, sampling, statistical design, strategy
Executive director, Aquatic Habitat Institute, Richmond, CA
Senior environmental protection officer, Environmental Protection Agency, Empire Center,
Senior scientist, SEAMOcean, El Cerrito, CA