Sediment Quality Assessment Survey of Lavaca and Matagorda Bays

Principal Investigator

There has been a long-term decline in benthic abundance, biomass, and diversity in the Lavaca-Matagorda Bay system since 1988. Previous research points to three possible causes including reduced freshwater inflow, climate change, or pollution. The goal of this project is to perform a sediment quality survey, a tool commonly used in ecosystem assessments to indicate bay health, to determine if pollution is the cause of this decline. Throughout the project, at least 30 stations will be sampled across the entire bay system. Sediment samples will be analyzed for contaminants (including PAH, PCB, Pesticides, and metals), which would indicate chemical dose. Toxicology analyses will be performed on the sediment samples to determine biological response. Finally, benthic diversity will be assessed as an indicator of ecological response.