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Two Decades of Marine Biological Monitoring, Palos Verdes, California, 1972 to 1992





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Approximately 1.25 x 10^ meters^ (330 million gallons) of treated wastewaters are discharged daily onto the Palos Verdes Shelf, off Los Angeles. Routine intensive marine environmental monitoring began in 1 972. A brief review of effluent emissions, Palos Verdes topography, natural disturbances (El Nino, storms), and sediment histories will provide background for a 20-year summary of the Palos Verdes biota: benthic infauna, epibenthic megain vertebrates, demersal fish, kelp, and fish tissue contamination. Dramatic improvements are evident. Diverse biological assemblages are more widespread. Dover sole fin erosion has disappeared and kelp beds flourish. Decreased but continuing bioaccumulation of DDTs and PCBs is a concern, however. Historic discharges of these chlorinated hydrocarbons persist in a partly buried sediment reservoir.