The 'Contaminant Exposure and Effects--Terrestrial Vertebrates' (CEE-TV) database contains 4,336 records of ecotoxicological information for free-ranging amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals residing in Atlantic and Florida Gulf coast estuaries and their drainages. To identify spatial data gaps, those CEE-TV records for which the specific study location were known (n=2,740) were combined with watershed and wildlife management unit boundaries using Geographic Information Systems software. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Index of Watershed Indicators (IWI), which classifies watersheds based on water quality and their vulnerability to pollution, was used to prioritize these data gaps. Of 136 watersheds in the study area, 15 that are classified by the IWI as having water quality problems or high vulnerability to pollution lacked terrestrial vertebrate ecotoxicological monitoring or research in the past decade. Older studies within some of these watersheds documented high levels of contaminants in wildlife tissues. Of 90 National Wildlife Refuge units, 42 without current data fall within watersheds of concern. Of 40 National Park units larger than 1 km2, 17 without current data fall within watersheds of concern. Issues encountered in this analysis highlighted the need for spatially and temporally replicated field monitoring programs that utilize random sampling. Without data from such studies, it will be difficult to perform unbiased assessments of regional trends in contaminant exposure and effects in terrestrial vertebrates.
Additional publication details
Use of retrospective data to assess ecotoxicological monitoring needs for terrestrial vertebrates residing in Atlantic coast estuaries