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Short Citation:
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, 2024: National Status and Trends: Bioeffects Program - Biscayne Bay, Florida (1995-1996) Database,

Item Identification

Title: National Status and Trends: Bioeffects Program - Biscayne Bay, Florida (1995-1996) Database
Short Name: BI1_metadata
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2008-05-01

The toxicity of sediments in Biscayne Bay and many adjoining tributaries was determined as part of a bioeffects assessments program managed by NOAA's National Status and Trends Program. Biscayne Bay was selected by NOAA for this survey because data from the NSandT Mussel Watch Program and data from previous surveys of the bay had shown a potential for toxicity and other adverse biological effects. In addition, no bay-wide information had been generated on the toxicological condition of the bay sediments and several agencies had indicated a need for this type of data and a willingness to assist NOAA in collecting them. The study area was defined as extending from Dumbfoundling Bay at the north end to Little Card Sound at the south end, seaward to the barrier islands or reef, and landward to the shoreline or saltwater control structures. This area was determined to encompass a total of 484 kilometers of the sea floor. During 1995 and 1996, 226 samples were collected from randomly-chosen locations and tested for toxicity and analyzed for chemical concentrations. Data from these tests and analyses are included in the report. Samples for benthic community analyses were collected at one-third of the stations; however, data from those analyses are not included in the report but are available from NOAA's online database The survey was designed to characterize sediment quality throughout the greater Biscayne Bay area. Surficial sediment samples were collected during 1995 and 1996 from 226 randomly-chosen locations throughout nine major regions. Laboratory toxicity tests were performed as indicators of potential ecotoxicological effects in sediments. A battery of tests was performed to generate information from different phases (components) of the sediments. Tests were selected to represent a range in toxicological endpoints from acute to chronic sublethal responses. Toxicological tests were conducted to measure: reduced survival of adult amphipods exposed to solid-phase sediments; impaired fertilization success and abnormal morphological development in gametes and embryos, respectively, of sea urchins exposed to pore waters; reduced metabolic activity of a marine bioluminescent bacteria exposed to organic solvent extracts; induction of a cytochrome P-450 reporter gene system in exposures to solvent extracts; and reduced reproductive success in marine copepods exposed to solid-phase sediments. The full report is available online at


Specific objectives of the study were to: (1) determine the incidence and degree of toxicity of sediments throughout the study area;(2) determine the spatial patterns (or gradients) in chemical contamination and toxicity, if any, throughout the study area;(3) determine the spatial extent of chemical contamination and toxicity;(4) determine the statistical relationships between measures of toxicity and concentrationsof chemical substances in the sediments.The dataset objective is to report information about chemical residues in sediment, sediment toxicity, and benthic infauna characteristics of the system.



Supplemental Information:

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS Edward R. Long, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Gail M. Sloane, Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Geoffrey I. Scott, Brian Thompson, National Marine Fisheries Service; R. Scott Carr, James Biedenbach, U. S. Geological Survey; Terry L. Wade, Bobby J. Presley, Texas AandM University; K. John Scott, Cornelia Mueller, Science Applications International Corporation; Geri Brecken-Fols, Barbara Albrecht, TRAC Laboratories, Inc.; Jack W. Anderson, Columbia Analytical Services, Inc.; G. Thomas Chandler, University of South Carolina SAMPLE COLLECTION INVESTIGATORS Edward Long, Michelle Harmon, Scott Frew, Heather Boswell, and Donna Turgeon (NOAA, National Status and Trends Program); Richard Moravic and David Meyer (Florida Department of Environmental Protection); and Ramesh Peter Buch (Dade County Florida Department of Environmental Resources Management)SAMPLE PROCESSING INVESTIGATORS - Chemical analyses of organic and inorganic contaminants in sediment:Texas AandM University, Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, College Station, TXSAMPLE PROCESSING INVESTIGATORS - Benthos: Barry A. Vittor and Associates, Inc., 8060 Cottage Hill Road, Mobile, AL 36695 Report: SAMPLE PROCESSING INVESTIGATORS - Toxicity and Bioassays: MicroTox Assay: Tests were run by the National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory in Charleston, SC Sea Urchin Assay: US Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Marine Ecotoxicology Research Station, Texas AandM University, Corpus Christi, TX 78412. Amphipod Assays: Science Applications International Corporation, Narragansett, RI. and TRAC Laboratories, Inc. in Pensacola, FL P450 Human Reporter Gene System: Columbia Analytical Services, Inc., Carlsbad, CA. Copepod life cycle assay: The University of South Carolina


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
NOS Data Explorer Topic Category Environmental Monitoring
None amphipod
None analytes
None benthic
None bioassay
None chemical
None contaminants
None date
None estuary
None infauna
None inorganic
None latitude
None location
None longitude
None Microtox
None national status and trends
None NCCOS Research Data Type > Field Observation
None NCCOS Research Priority > Long-term Monitoring
None NCCOS Research Priority > Stressors, Impacts, Mitigation, and Restoration (SIMR)
None NCCOS Research Topic > Bioeffects/Toxicity
None NCCOS Research Topic > Chemical Contaminants
None NCCOS Research Topic > Monitoring
None nsandt
None organic
None organochlorines
None P450 human reporter gene system
None PAH
None parameter
None PCB
None pesticides
None polychlorinated biphenyls
None polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
None region
None sea urchin fertilization
None sediment
None Site
None state
None station
None toxicity

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Biscayne Bay
None Florida
None NCCOS Research Location > Geographic Area > Coastal Ocean
None NCCOS Research Location > Region > East Coast
None NCCOS Research Location > U.S. States and Territories > Florida
None Southeast Coast of the United States
None United States

Physical Location

Organization: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Entity Attribute Overview:

The "SITES" data file reports information regarding the planned sampling locations and the actual locations. The geographical information provided for a sampling site (the estuary stratum and site) is useful when interpreting the results of other data files. Link for the SITES data The "INDICATOR" data file reports the results of analyses for chemical/microbial analytes, toxicity endpoints, and benthic infauna indices. Link for the INDICATOR data dictionary

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:

NOAA, National Status and Trends Program

Distribution Liability:

These data were prepared by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed in this report, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. Any views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof. Although all data have been used by NOAA, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA as to the accuracy of the data and/or related materials. The act of distribution shall not constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by NOAA in the use of these data or related materials.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 439638
Date Effective From: 2008-05-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:


CC ID: 439640
Date Effective From: 2008-05-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 439641
Date Effective From: 2008-05-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:

Point of Contact

CC ID: 439639
Date Effective From: 2008-05-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:

Principal Investigator

CC ID: 439642
Date Effective From: 2008-05-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Piniak, Greg
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 439645
W° Bound: -80.3758
E° Bound: -80.1226
N° Bound: 25.9503
S° Bound: 25.2906

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 439644
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 1995
End: 1996

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

NOAA requests that all individuals who download NOAA data acknowledge the source of these data in any reports, papers, or presentations. If you publish these data, please include a statement similar to: "Some or all of the data described in this article were produced by the "NOAA's Ocean Service through its National Status and Trends Program (NSandT)"

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 439647
Download URL:

Downloadable Data

File Type (Deprecated): XML
Distribution Format: XML (Structured Text)

Distribution 2

CC ID: 439646
Download URL:

Downloadable Data

File Type (Deprecated): ASCII
Distribution Format: Text (Unstructured)



CC ID: 439636
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 439702
Activity Date/Time: 2017-03-29

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 439701
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05

Converted from Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Data Quality


MEASURMENT QUALITY OBJECTIVES: SITE LOCATION - A stratified-random sampling design similar to previous surveys conducted by NOAA's National Status and Trends Program was applied in Biscayne Bay. The study area was subdivided into 74 irregular-shaped strata. Large strata were established in the open waters of the bay where toxicant concentrations were expected to be uniformly low, providing the least intense sampling effort in areas known or suspected to be relatively homogenous in sediment type, benthic communities, and water depth in regions relatively distant from contaminant sources. Relatively small strata were established in canals and urban harbors nearer suspected sources in which conditions were expected to be heterogeneous or transitional. Sampling effort was more intense in the smaller strata than large strata. Large strata were roughly equivalent in size to each other and small strata were roughly equivalent in size to each other. This approach combines the strengths of a stratified design with the random-probabilistic selection of sampling locations. Data generated within each stratum can be attributed to the stratum dimensions; these data can be used to estimate the spatial extent of toxicity with a quantifiable degree of confidence (Heimbuch, et al., 1995). Strata boundaries were established to coincide with the dimensions of major basins, bayous, waterways, etc. in which hydrographic, bathymetric and sedimentological conditions were expected to be relatively homogeneous. Within the boundaries of each stratum, all possible latitude/longitude intersections had equal probabilities of being selected as a sampling location. The locations of individual sampling stations within each strata were chosen randomly using GINPRO software developed by NOAA applied to digitized navigation charts. Three samples were collected within most strata; in a few small strata only one or two were sampled. Four samples were collected in two large strata. Usually, four alternate locations were provided for each station in a numbered sequence. The coordinates for each alternate were provided in tables and were plotted on the appropriate navigation chart. Where the coordinates provided were inaccessible by boat the locations were rejected and the vessel was moved to the next alternate. The vessel was occasionally moved out of the center of the small confined channels to avoid collisions with other boat traffic. A total of 226 samples was collected; 105 during March-May, 1995 and 121 during May-July, 1996. Each location was sampled only once. Nine sampling zones were established within the study area to aid in planning field operations. Field logistics were conducted aboard the NOAA Ship Ferrell and its launch. Vessel positioning and navigation were aided with a differential-corrected, Trimble NavGraphic XL Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and a compensated LORAN C unit. Both systems generally agreed well with each other when both were operational. Both were calibrated and their accuracy verified each morning at a known location within the study area. An acceptable tolerance goal for siting was that the sampling location be established within 0.2nm (+/- 120ft) of the given coordinates. Where the vessel could not navigate to the site (i.e., too shallow) or the bottom type was not appropriate (i.e., rock or shellfish bed) then the first alternate site was substituted. Where the first alternate could not be sampled then the second alternate site was sampled. ORGANIC AND INORGANIC CONTAMINANTS - The measurement quality objectives of the Sabine Lake Project specify accuracy and precision requirements of 30% for organic analytes and 15% for inorganic analytes in sediment samples. See Quality Assurance Project Plan WATER COLUMN MEASUREMENTS - Depth was recorded from the vessel's instrumentation to the nearest 0.1 foot. BENTHIC TAXONOMY - The minimum acceptable sorting efficiency was 95%. The minimum acceptable taxonomic efficiency was 95%.

Completeness Report:

Data are believed to be complete

Conceptual Consistency:

All chemical contaminant values have been rounded to three significant digits. To accommodate the wide range of values, all concentration values have been formatted to the thousandth unit (0.001). The actual precision is as listed below. Metals, variable ug/g; Butlytins 0.01 ng Sn/g; PAHs 0.1 ng/g; PCBs 0.01 ng/g; Pesticides 0.01 ng/g; DATA QUALITY ASSURANCE PROCEDURES Organic and Inorganic Contaminants - QA procedures include blanks, spiked samples, and standard reference materials with each batch of samples. Any batch failing to meet the specifications presented in Section 9.1 would be reanalyzed or rejected. Benthic taxonomy - At a minimum, 10 percent of all samples were resorted and recounted on a regular basis. Ten percent of samples were randomly selected and re-identified. A voucher collection composed of representative individuals of each species encountered in the project was accumulated and retained.


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 439632

DATA ACQUISITION/FIELD SAMPLINGSediment sampling procedures are described in the report available for download at DATA PREPARATION AND SAMPLE PROCESSINGFields are arranged as follows:Sample Type; Field Holding; Lab Storage; Max 1HoldingSEDIMENT:Organic contaminants; Wet ice (4C); Freezer (-20C); 1 year;Inorganic contaminants; Wet ice (4C); Freezer (-20C); 1 year;Total organic Carbon; Wet ice (4C); Freezer (-20C); 1 year;Grain size; Wet ice (4C); Refrigerated (4C); 1 year;TOXICITY BIOASSAY:Whole sediment and porewater bioassays; Wet ice (4C); Refrigerated (4C); 2 weeks; Organic extract (P450 and Microtox); Wet ice (4C); Freezer (-20C); 1 year;BENTHOS:Taxonomy; 10% buffered formalin; Transfer to 70% ethanol; Indefinitely;

Process Date/Time: 1996-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 439633

Chemicals with similar structural properties were summed and reported as "Totals" in addition to their individual measured concentrations. The components of these totals are as follows: Total DDT = sum of concentrations of ortho and para forms of parent and metabolites 2,4'DDE; 4,4'DDE; 2,4'DDD; 4,4'DDD; 2,4'DDT and 4,4'DDT. Total Chlordane = sum of concentrations of four compounds alpha-chlordane, trans-nonachlor, heptachlor, heptachlorepoxide. Total Dieldrin = sum of concentrations of two compounds aldrin and dieldrin. Total Butyl tin = sum of concentrations of parent compound and metabolites monobutyltin, dibutyltin, tributyltin, tetrabutyltin [concentrations are in terms of tin]. Total PCB = the sum of the concentrations of eighteen congeners: PCB8, PCB18, PCB28, PCB44, PCB52, PCB66, PCB101, PCB105, PCB118, PCB128, PCB138, PCB153, PCB170, PCB180, PCB187, PCB195, PCB206, and PCB209. Total low molecular weight (lmw) PAHs = sum of concentrations of twelve 2- and 3-ring PAH compounds: naphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 1-methylnaphthalene, biphenyl, 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene, acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, 1,6,7-trimehtylnaphthalene, fluorine, phenanthrene, 1-methylphenanthrene, and anthracene. Total high molecular weight (hmw) PAHs = sum of concentrations of twelve 4-and more-ring PAH compounds: fluoranthene, pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[b]fluorantene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[e]pyrene, benzo[a]pyrene, perylene, dibenzathracene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, and benzo[ahi]perylene. Total PAH = low molecular weight PAHs plus high molecular weigh PAHs (sum of 24 PAH compound concentrations). Several numerical indices were chosen for analysis and interpretation of the macroinfaunal data. Infaunal abundance is reported as the total number of individuals per station and the total number of individuals per square meter (= density). Taxa richness is reported as the number of taxa represented in a given site location. Taxa diversity, which is often related to the ecological stability and environmental "quality" of the benthos, was estimated by the Shannon-Weiner Index (Shannon and Weaver, 1949). In order to quantify and compare the equitability in the fauna to the taxa diversity for a given area, Pielou's Evenness Index J' (Pielou, 1966) was calculated as J' = H'/lnS, where lnS = H'max, or the maximum possible diversity, when all taxa are represented by the same number of individuals; thus, J' = H' /H' max.

Process Step 3

CC ID: 439634

Project Related References:Pielou, E.C. 1966. The Measurement of Diversity in Different Types of Biological Collections. J. Theoretical Biology 13:131-144.Shannon, L.C. and W. Weaver. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Univ. of Illinois Press, Urbana, Ill. 117 p.

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 38735
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:38735
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 12:48+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-10-17 16:12+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2017-04-17
Owner Org: NCCOS
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2017-04-17
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2018-04-17