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    Can Biological Monitoring Early Warning Systems Be Useful in Detecting Toxic Materials in Water?

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    Biological monitoring early warning systems continuously and automatically monitor the physiological or behavioral responses of aquatic organisms exposed under flow-through conditions to surface water or wastewater and provide an immediate indication of abnormal organism responses. Such systems have several advantages over physico-chemical sensors, and their use has been suggested for the protection of both aquatic organisms and humans from water-borne toxicants. A literature search identified 16 biological monitoring early warning systems that have been used for monitoring toxicity under field conditions, and their usefulness in reliably detecting toxic materials in water was determined. Biomonitors are best suited for detecting materials that are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms; the systems have less potential for monitoring concentrations of materials that are chronically toxic to aquatic organisms or that pose a human health hazard. Biological monitoring early warning systems can complement, but not replace, existing physico-chemical water quality monitors.


    water quality, aquatic biology, water pollution, monitoring, biomonitoring, toxicity, aquatic toxicology

    Author Information:

    van der Schalie, WH
    Research aquatic biologist, U. S. Army Medical Bioengineering Research and Development Laboratory, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD

    Committee/Subcommittee: E47.09

    DOI: 10.1520/STP29019S