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Pathway models could aid management of contaminants

January 1, 1995

Heavy metal and trace organic contaminants are often cited as factors that could affect the riclmess of the biological community of San Francisco Bay as well as the health of resident organisms. Silver (Ag), selenium (Se), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), and cadmium (Cd) are among the trace elements of current regulatory interest. All these elements can be toxic to estuarine organisms in minute quantities. However, understanding their toxicity in nature has proven a difficult challenge. In general, it is difficult to prove how pollutants are affecting ecosystems. The undisturbed "baseline" condition in San Francisco Bay is not always well enough understood to identify whether certain processes are affected or unaffected by contamination. Sources of disturbance (flow diversions, drought, invasion of exotic species, etc.) occur in addition to chemical contamination. Responses to contamination in individual organisms, populations, and commumties are seldom pollutant-specific, and the complex responses to moderate levels of contamination are not well known.

Publication Year 1995
Title Pathway models could aid management of contaminants
Authors S. N. Luoma
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Interagency Ecological Program Newsletter
Index ID 70175251
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization San Francisco Bay-Delta; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program; Pacific Regional Director's Office