Pait, A.S., S.I. Hartwell, A.L., Mason, R.A. Warner, C.F.G. Jeffrey, A.M. Hoffman, D.A. Apeti, F.R. Galdo Jr., and S.J. Pittman. 2013. An Assessment of chemical contaminants detected in passive water samplers deployed in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 157. Silver Spring, MD. 22pp.
Apeti,D.A., A.L Mason, A.S.Pait, , S.I. Hartwell, A.M. Hoffman, F.R. Galdo Jr., and S.J. Pittman. 2014. An assessment of contaminant body burden in queen conch (Strombus gigas) and coral (Porites astreoides) from the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS. Silver Spring, MD.
Partners in the project: "Characterization of Land-Based Sources of Pollution and Effects in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)" included the Coastal Oceanographic Assessment, Status and Trends (COAST) Branch, and the Biogeography Branch of NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA) in Silver Spring, MD, the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the University of the Virgin Islands, and The Nature Conservancy. NOAA/CCMA was responsible for reviewing all data generated from this project.
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Tony Pait, NOAA, National Status and Tends Program (NSandT), 1305 East West Highway, SSMC4, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281, 301-713-3028 x158, 301-713-4384 (FAX), Tony.Pait@noaa.gov;
Ian Hartwell, NSandT, 1305 East West Highway, SSMC4, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281, 301-713-3028 x137, 301-713-4384 (FAX), Ian.Hartwell@noaa.gov;
Andrew Mason, NSandT, 1305 East West Highway, SSMC4, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281 301-713-3020 x172, 301-713-4353 (FAX), Andrew.Mason@noaa.gov;
Dennis Apeti, NSandT, 1305 East West Highway, SSMC4, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281, 301-713-3020 x132, 301-713-4353 (FAX), Dennis.Apeti@noaa.gov;
Laurie Bauer, NOAA, CCMA Biogeography Branch.1305 East West Highway, SSMC4, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281, 301-713-3028 x236, 301-713-4384 (FAX), Laurie.Bauer@noaa.gov;
Rob Warner, NOAA, NSandT, 1305 East West Highway, SSMC4, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3281, 301-713-3020 x169, 301-713-4353 (FAX), Robert.Warner@noaa.gov
Sediment and Tissue Sample Analysis: PAHs were analyzed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry in the selected ion monitoring mode. PCBs were analyzed using gas chromatography/electron capture detection. Organochlorine pesticides were also analyzed using gas chromatography/electron capture detection. Butyltins were quantified using gas chromatography/flame photometry. Silver, cadmium, copper, lead, antimony, and tin were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry. Aluminum, arsenic, chromium, iron, manganese, nickel, silicon and zinc were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectrometry. Mercury was analyzed using cold vapor - atomic absorption spectrometry. Selenium was analyzed using atomic fluorescence spectrometry. Total metal was analyzed. Additional information on the protocols used for the analysis of the organic and inorganic contaminants can be found in Kimbrough et al. (2006), and Kimbrough and Lauenstein (2006), respectively.
The measurement quality objectives of the National Status and Trends specify accuracy and precision requirements of 30% for organic analytes and 15% for inorganic analytes in tissue samples. QA procedures include running blanks, spiked samples, and standard reference materials with each batch of samples. Any batch failing to meet the specifications is reanalyzed or rejected. The QA Criteria may be found in NOAAs Tech Memo NOS NCCOS 30 and 29. The standard NSandT analytical protocols are described in Kimbrough et al. (2006a and 2006b).
A PONAR grab was deployed to collect the sediment samples using a pulley and davit, and retrieved by hand. Rocks and bits of seagrass were removed. If a particular grab did not result in 200-300 g of sediment, a second grab was made and composited with material from the first. If enough sediment had not been collected after three deployments of the grab, the site was abandoned and the boat moved on to an alternate site. Using this strategy, a total of 24 sediment samples were collected.
A series of protocols were used to avoid contamination of the sediment samples by equipment and cross contamination between samples and sites. All equipment was rinsed with acetone and then distilled water just prior to use at a site. Personnel handling the samples also wore disposable nitrile gloves. The top 3 cm of sediment were collected from the grab using a stainless steel sediment scoop. This top layer of sediment is referred to as surficial sediment, and is typically indicative of recent deposition.
Sediments were placed into two certified clean (I-Chem) 250 ml labeled jars, one for organic chemical analysis, the other for metal analysis, capped and then placed on ice in a cooler. Sediments for grain size analysis were placed in a WhirlPack bag, sealed and placed on ice in a cooler. At the end of each day, sediment samples for contaminant analysis were placed in a freezer; the WhirlPack bags for the grain size analysis were placed in a refrigerator rather than frozen, to avoid altering the grain size structure of the sediment.
Sample Collection Investigators: Tony Pait, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; Ian Hartwell, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; Andrew Mason National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; Rob Warner, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; Laurie Bauer, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Biogeography Program Coral and conch tissue samples were collected based on the standard operation procedure described in Apeti et al, 2012. For conch sampling, two methods of collection were used. 1) Boat based onboard a Nature Conservancy vessel sampling via SCUBA or snorkeling, and 2) Kayak based sampling via snorkeling only. A total of 10 conch specimens were collected from 5 separate locations, one within each strata. At each location two organism were collected by hand and placed in labeled 2 gallon Ziplock bags. The bags containing the specimens were placed in a cooler of ice. At the end of the field mission, conch specimens were partially thawed and their soft tissues were removed from their shells, weighed, and then placed into labeled 1 liter Teflon jars and refrozen. Once completely frozen, the samples were shipped with dry-ice to the analytical laboratory. At the lab. the two soft tissues were composited into a single tissue sample for each location before contaminant analysis. The coral that was collected for this study was Porites astreoides (Lamarck 1816) common name mustard hill coral. This species was chosen because it is abundant and not endangered. The coral samples were collected by SCUBA diving using hammer and titanium or stainless steel coring punch. A sample location was defined as a single dive area with about 50 meter radius where enough Porites astreoides colonies (heads) were available for multiple sampling. Samples of P. astreoides were collected from five sites. Unlike the conch tissues, which only one set per location was collected for contaminant analyses, the coral tissues were collected in two sets, one for contaminant analyses and the other for histopathology measurements. - Sampling for contaminants analysis: At each location coral cores were collected from 5 different coral colonies (heads) to constitute a site-composite. Using hammer the titanium coring punch was driven into the coral colonies to extract coral cores of approximately 1.5 cm in diameter and 1-1.5 cm. Pieces of fractured coral cores were dislodged with Teflon stir stick and used as sample taking care to avoiding removal of large amounts of skeletal material. The cores of coral tissue were placed inside pre-labeled 250 ml IChem jars and then capped underwater. The jars were brought to the surface, drained of water and placed on ice. The samples were then preserved by freezing at -15 degree C until they were shipped overnight on dry-ice to the analytical laboratory.