A comprehensive, weight-of-evidence based ecological risk assessment approach integrating laboratory and in situ bioaccumulation and toxicity testing, passive sampler devices, hydrological characterization tools, continuous water quality sensing, and multi-phase chemical analyses was evaluated. The test site used to demonstrate the approach was a shallow estuarine wetland where groundwater seepage and elevated organic and inorganic contaminants were of potential concern. Although groundwater was discharging into the surficial sediments, little to no chemical contamination was associated with the infiltrating groundwater. Results from bulk chemistry analysis, toxicity testing, and bioaccumulation, however, suggested possible PAH toxicity at one station, which might have been enhanced by UV photoactivation, explaining the differences between in situ and laboratory amphipod survival. Concurrently deployed PAH bioaccumulation on solid-phase micro-extraction fibers positively correlated (r 2 ≥ 0.977) with in situ PAH bioaccumulation in amphipods, attesting to their utility as biomimetics, and contributing to the overall improved linkage between exposure and effects demonstrated by this approach.
- In situ
- Passive samplers