Recommended guidelines for sampling marine mammal tissue for chemical analyses in Puget Sound and adjacent waters

Recommended guidelines for sampling and analyzing marine mammal tissue for chemical contaminants in Puget Sound are presented in this chapter. The guidelines are based on the results of a workshop sponsored by the Puget Sound Estuary Program (PSEP) and written reviews by representatives from most of the organizations that fund or conduct studies of marine mammals in the sound (Table 1). The purpose of developing these recommended guidelines is to encourage all Puget Sound investigators conducting monitoring programs, baseline surveys, and intensive investigations to use standardized methods whenever possible. If this goal is achieved, most data collected in the sound should be directly comparable, thereby allowing the data to be integrated into a soundwide database. Such a database is necessary for developing and maintaining a comprehensive water quality management program for Puget Sound.

Before the recommended guidelines are described, the background information that led to many of the recommendations in this document is presented. The Background Information section addresses the following topics:

  • The rationale for studying tissue contamination in marine mammals
  • The legal issues involved in marine mammal studies
  • An overview of the marine mammals in Puget Sound and considerations for
  • sampling these animals
  • A prioritization scheme for sampling and analysis activities.

Following this background section, specifications are provided for the field, laboratory, quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), and data reporting procedures that are recommended for studies of tissue contamination in marine mammals from Puget Sound.

Although the following guidelines are recommended for most studies conducted in Puget Sound, departures from these methods may be necessary to meet the special requirements of individual projects. If such departures are made, however, the funding agency or investigator should be aware that the resulting data may not be comparable with most other data of that kind. In some instances, data collected using different methods may be compared if the methods are intercalibrated adequately.


PSEP. 1990. Recommended guidelines for sampling marine mammal tissue for chemical analyses in Puget Sound and adjacent waters. Report to U.S. EPA, Region 10, Seattle by PTI Environmental Services and Cascadia Research. Primary authors were J. Calambokidis, G.H. Steiger and D.S. Becker. 84pp.

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