Due to a lapse in appropriations, the majority of USGS websites may not be up to date and may not reflect current conditions. Websites displaying real-time data, such as Earthquake and Water and information needed for public health and safety will be updated with limited support. Additionally, USGS will not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted.  For more information, please see www.doi.gov/shutdown

Utility and Vulnerability Ranking Programs for Terrestrial Vertebrates

Release Date:

To assist decision makers in risk assessments, two sets of indices have been developed to rank terrestrial vertebrates for their utility in biomonitoring and susceptibility to the following contaminants:

  • Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Pesticides
  • Petroleum Crude Oil
  • Mercury
  • Lead Shot

The Utility Indices rank the suitability of terrestrial vertebrate species as potential sentinels of exposure to contaminants in a region.

The Vulnerability Indices rank susceptibility of populations upon exposure to contaminants in a region.

The Utility and Vulnerability Indices can be applied to many types of habitats and can be of value to natural resource managers that routinely conduct local, regional, or national environmental quality assessments.