U.S. Geological Survey - Environmental Health

Passive Sampling Research—Columbia, Missouri

About the Laboratory

The scientists at the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at the Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC), Missouri, are pioneers in the development and application of passive sampling techniques for environmental monitoring. The goal of passive sampling is to provide a link between chemical occurrence and biological exposure.

USGS scientist on a boat deploying SPMDs and POCIS passive samplers
Deployment of SPMDs and POCIS passive samplers at Willow Beach, Arizona Photo Credit: Michael Rosen, USGS.
Underwater photo of a SPMD passive sampler next to a coral reef
Deployment next to a coral reef of a semipermeable membrane device (SPMD) passive sampler at East End Bay, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo Credit: David Alvarez, USGS.

Passive Sampler Technologies

  • Semipermeable membrane device (SPMD) samplers — hydrophobic (fat soluble) organics
  • Polar organic chemical integrative sampler (POCIS) — hydrophilic (water soluble) organics
  • Stabilized liquid membrane device (SLMD) — for metals
  • Pore-water diffusion samplers (PEEPERs) and diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) samplers — metals in porewater
  • Custom Development of passive samplers
SPMD tethered to buoy in a river with canyon walls in the background
Passive samplers deployed at Willow Beach on the Colorado River, Arizona. USGS scientists studied the occurrence of organic compounds in the Lake Mead, Nevada, watershed. Photo Credit: Michael Rosen, USGS.

Representative Applications

  • Regional assessments of the presence and transport of pesticides and contaminants of emerging concern
  • Surrogate for estimating exposure to contaminants by aquatic organisms
  • Mine tailings at the sediment-water interface
  • Atmospheric sampling of organics and atmospheric deposition of ionic species
  • Exposure to sensitive coral reef habitats
Underwater photo of a scuba diver deploying a SPMD passive sampler
A scuba diver deploys a semipermeable membrane device (SPMD) passive sampler at St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists used SPMDs to investigate potential contaminant exposure to coral reefs. Photo Credit: USGS.

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Page Last Modified: 18-Apr-2018 @ 01:39:54 PM EDT