MERI and Natural Resources scientists are working to collect samples of benthic fauna from mudflats in the Meadowlands District as part of an EPA grant designed to assess the contaminant levels of mud dwelling critters that are the main source of food for some birds migrating through the Atlantic flyway. As the summer season comes to an end, migrating birds will start returning south to their wintering grounds and shorebirds will be stopping by the mudflats in the Meadowlands of New Jersey to feed before continuing their journey south. Scientists plan to determine the amount of contaminants the benthic fauna has accumulated from the sediment in which they live in this highly developed estuary. Another part of this study will examine the current diversity and population density of invertebrates at Meadowlands sites previously sampled several years ago. This will allow the researchers to recognize change over time in those benthic communities and from that infer changes in the quality of the habitat. The results of the two parts of this study will allow for informed decision making on natural resources management.