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Sampling Considerations for Biomonitoring

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Tim Koeckritz,
  2. Olaf Wappelhorst,
  3. Bernd Markert

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0866

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Koeckritz, T., Wappelhorst, O. and Markert, B. 2006. Sampling Considerations for Biomonitoring. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. International Graduate School Zittau, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


This article looks at various factors involved in the first step in biomonitoring, namely the sampling process with special reference to heavy metal levels in living organisms and their interaction with terrestrial ecosystems. Because samples taken in the field naturally form the basis for the entire biomonitoring process, it is vitally important that the margin of error in this step is kept as low as absolutely possible. An important initial step is the decision about which organisms to use and where to gather them. It is important to consider factors such as chemical composition, relationship to the ecosystem involved and the number of individuals available, in addition to the abiotic and biotic factors which influence the amount of heavy metal the organism takes in from its environment, or its bioavailability (heavy metal accumulation is the practical example for biomonitoring used in this article).

How the samples are collected is as important as what is collected, and here various topics are covered, from choosing the most suitable organism(s), to deciding how many samples to take in order for them to be representative of the entire population at that site, to economic considerations. Although exact sampling methods vary according to the organisms involved and there are very few publications in this field, some basic guidelines are given to follow in any case, as well as references to the existing published guides.