top of page

COMPANY PROFILE

COMPANY HISTORY

THE AQUATIC BIOASSAY & CONSULTING LABORATORIES, INC. (AQUATIC BIOASSAY) TEAM OF SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN CONDUCTING THE TOXICITY TESTING AND RECEIVING WATER QUALITY MONITORING SINCE 1988 FOR SOME OF THE LARGEST (AND SMALLEST) NPDES RECEIVING WATER MONITORING PROGRAMS ON THE WEST COAST.

 

With our main office located in Ventura, California, we are the only Southern California firm that provides the full range of services, responsiveness and experience necessary to successfully complete your testing and monitoring requirements.
 

Our field and laboratory capabilities include sampling and analysis for aquatic and sediment toxicity tests (acute and chronic), TIE (Toxicity Identification and Evaluation), Title 22 Haz Waste characterization, sediment chemistry, benthic infauna, tissue bioaccumulation, trawled organisms, current meter studies, ichthyoplankton, water quality profiling using electronic sensor packages, particle size, nutrient analysis, bacteria and video dive surveys.

EXPERIENCE & TEAM

OUR TEAM IS LED BY BIOLOGISTS, TOXICOLOGISTS, CHEMISTS AND OCEANOGRAPHERS WITH DECADES OF EXPERIENCE HELPING CLIENTS TO MEET THEIR REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS. ALTHOUGH WE ARE A SMALL FIRM, OUR SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND AND CLIENT PROJECT WORK ARE UNRIVALED IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MONITORING COMMUNITY.

 

SOME OF OUR CLIENTS INCLUDE: 

SANITATION DISTRICTS THROUGHOUT CALIFORNIA, THE WESTERN US AND PACIFIC RIM THE PORTS OF LOS ANGELES AND LONG BEACH, AND MARINA DEL REY HARBOR THE USEPA, USFWS, US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA COASTAL WATER RESEARCH PROJECT (SCCWRP), FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES INCLUDING HEWLETT PACKARD, CHEVRON AND EXXON.


The combination of experience and academic background of the Aquatic Bioassay Team is unsurpassed with scores of scientific publications and presentations to our credit and over a century of direct experience conducting toxicity tests and monitoring programs.

 

Our team members have been active participants in each of the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring programs since 1994 and are responsible for two of the largest ongoing NPDES municipal monitoring programs in southern California.

Our field and laboratory capabilities include sampling and analysis for aquatic and sediment toxicity tests (acute and chronic), TIE (Toxicity Identification and Evaluation), Title 22 Haz Waste characterization, sediment chemistry, benthic infauna, tissue bioaccumulation, trawled organisms, current meter studies, ichthyoplankton, water quality profiling using electronic sensor packages, particle size, nutrient analysis, bacteria and video dive surveys.
 

We routinely conduct video dive surveys of effluent discharge pipes.
 

Each of our monitoring capabilities are in compliance with the field and laboratory protocols developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the State of California’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP), the State of California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program and the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program (SCBRMP).
 

Aquatic Bioassay’s laboratory is fully equipped and accredited to perform all marine and freshwater acute or chronic toxicity tests on hazardous wastes, wastewater, drilling fluids, or benthic sediments in compliance with NPDES, ASTM, USEPA/COE, or DOHS regulations. With over 200 bioassay clients in California and other states, we are one of the most successful bioassay laboratories on the West Coast.
 

We provide all the services pertaining to monitoring design, sample collection, data management and analysis, and reports ready for submittal to local, state and federal agencies. Aquatic Bioassay is a leader in providing electronic data using CEDEN (California Environmental Data Exchange Network) for clients who upload to the California State Database.
 

The Aquatic Bioassay Team has a reputation for being able to complete projects after others have failed. In short, we will provide monitoring or toxicity testing services that are cost effective, meet or surpass all quality control guidelines, and provide a level of responsiveness that is totally unique to our industry.

QUALITY CONTROL

The Aquatic Bioassay Team is dedicated to producing the highest quality, most scientifically defensible data in the industry. We are ELAP certified for all phases of our laboratory operations pertaining to toxicity testing and microbiology and participate in all State and EPA intercalibration studies. Our team members are active participants in all relevant professional organizations and have successfully participated in all intercalibration studies pertaining to the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program (SCBRMP) including: field operations audit; benthic infauna, fish and macroinvertebrate identification audits; toxicology; and, water quality. All phases of our data management and reporting are tightly controlled through automated and manual data checking prior to the generation of monitoring reports.

BIOS

joe_6969.png

JOE FREAS

PRESIDENT / SENIOR TOXICOLOGIST 

Biology, California State University Channel Islands, 2001-2005
Master of Public Health (MPH) Walden University 2008-2010

Submarine.JPG

TIM MIKEL

FOUNDER, FORMER PRESIDENT
AND LABORATORY DIRECTOR

CURRENT ASSOCIATE ADVISOR

Screen Shot 2023-01-23 at 9.39.39 AM.png

KARIN WISENBAKER

SENIOR BIOLOGIST & DATA QUALITY MANAGER
B.S. Biology, California State University Northridge, 2000

Scott.jpg

SCOTT JOHNSON

VICE PRESIDENT & LAB DIRECTOR

M.S. Biology, California State University,  1988

B.A. Biology, California State University, 1981

Michael.jpg

MICHAEL J. MICHUZAK

LABORATORY MANAGER AND SENIOR SCIENTIST

beth3.png

BETH MATURINO

SENIOR AQUATIC TOXOLIGIST

JOE FREAS is the whole effluent toxicity laboratory head toxicologist for both the freshwater and marine bioassay laboratories. His primary areas of focus include the operational management of the marine and freshwater toxicity labs, quality control, ELAP certification, data management, reporting, and day to day laboratory activities. Mr. Freas is responsible for new toxicity testing method development and implementation. Mr. Freas is also on the Southern California Bight Project Toxicity Committee. He is also the treasurer for Southern California Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry SETAC. Mr. Freas hold a B.S. in Biology from California State University Channel Islands and Master of Public Health from Walden University.
 

RELEVANT PROJECT EXPERIENCE:

  • The County of Ventura – Ventura River Nutrient TMDL Receiving Water Monitoring and Reporting

  • Ventura County Watershed Protection Division – Ventura County NPDES MS4 Bioassessment Monitoring Program

  • City of Ventura – Santa Clara River Estuary Phase III TMDL Special Study

  • City of Ventura – NPDES Bioassessment Monitoring, Santa Clara River Estuary

  • Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts – San Gabriel River Regional Monitoring Program

  • Council for Watershed Health – Los Angeles River Regional Monitoring Program

  • Orange County Watershed Protection Division – NPDES MS4 Bioassessment Monitoring for Santa Ana and San Diego Regions

  • BIGHT 08, BIGHT 13, BIGHT 18 – Statewide Toxicity Program – SCCWRP

  • SMC Interlaboratory Calibration Exercises

  • SCCWRP Ceriodaphnia Interlaboratory Comparison Study (In-process 6/2022)

TIM MIKEL has been a professional Aquatic Biologist since 1976 and received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aquatic Biology from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and U.C. Santa Barbara, respectively. He was the former Chair of the Southern California Toxicity Assessment Group (SCTAG), President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC – Southern California), Section Chair of Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (20th Edition – Molluscan Bioassays), Co-Chair of the Southern California Bight Pilot Projects (Toxicity  and Benthic Macrofauna Committees), and member of the Southern California Association of Marine Invertebrate Taxonomists, and Southern California Academy of Sciences.

Mr. Mikel is the Author or Co-Author of over 30 scientific publications and has presented over 20 research papers at professional scientific meetings. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and American Men and Women in Science.

RELEVANT PROJECT EXPERIENCE:

  • City of Oxnard Ocean Monitoring Program

  • Chevron Carpinteria Toxicity Testing and Ocean Monitoring

  • Las Virgenes Stream Monitoring Survey

  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Reservoir Monitoring and Toxicity Analysis

  • Goleta Sanitary District Ocean Monitoring Program

  • Marina Del Rey Harbor Monitoring Program

  • Exxon Exploratory Oil Platform Current Meter Study

  • Orange County Sanitation District Toxicity Testing Program

  • Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Toxicity Testing and Ocean Monitoring Programs

  • U.S. EPA Ecological Restoration Project of Upper Newport Bay

MS. KARIN WISENBAKER has been with Aquatic Bioassay since 2002 where she coordinates and oversees all quality assurance, field sampling, data management, sample tracking, and report writing. She creates, updates, maintains and communicates modifications to project specific Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP) to all program participants. In addition, she is responsible for our data management systems including QC data checks for all internal and external datasets, and exports of data to SWAMP, CEDEN and other external users.
 

She has an in-depth understanding of local, state, and Federal ocean monitoring, and freshwater bioassessment protocols and is responsible for securing all scientific collecting and site entry permits through the proper agencies. Ms. Wisenbaker also assists with data analysis, reporting and project facilitation efforts. She is currently Vice President of the Southern California Society of Toxicologists and Chemists (SETAC), and is a member of the State of California Trash Method Validation Project (TAC) and the Technical Advisory Committee for the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC). She was the Chair person and lead author of the 2018 Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program, Trawl Committee. She has numerous scientific presentations and papers to her credit.
 

RELEVANT PROJECT EXPERIENCE:

  • The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District – Tapia Water Reclamation Facility, Malibu Creek NPDES monitoring program (2006 to present)

  • The County of Ventura  – Ventura River Nutrient TMDL Receiving Water Monitoring and Reporting

  • Ventura County Watershed Protection Division – Ventura County NPDES MS4 Bioassessment Monitoring Program

  • City of Ventura – Santa Clara River Estuary Phase III TMDL Special Study

  • City of Ventura – NPDES Bioassessment Monitoring, Santa Clara River Estuary

  • Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts – San Gabriel River Regional Monitoring Program

  • Council for Watershed Health – Los Angeles River Regional Monitoring Program

  • Orange County Watershed Protection Division – NPDES MS4 Bioassessment Monitoring for Santa Ana and San Diego Regions

SCOTT JOHNSON is the Laboratory Director with Aquatic Bioassay and Consulting Laboratories in Ventura, CA. Mr. Johnson’s career spans 36 years and includes work in both marine and freshwater ecology. His career has focused on the effects of anthropogenic contaminants and habitat conditions on the composition and integrity of aquatic biological communities, the development and implementation of both distributed and centralized environmental database systems, and laboratory management.

RELEVANT PROJECT EXPERIENCE:

Watershed Assessments – Mr. Johnson is the Program Director for four of California’s largest ambient watershed monitoring programs and numerous NPDES point and non- point source discharge agencies including the Orange County Public Works Watersheds Program, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, the Los Angeles River Watershed Monitoring Program, the San Gabriel River Regional Monitoring Program, and the Ventura County Watershed Protection District. These programs include monitoring design development, random site reconnaissance, sampling and analysis for benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs), attached algae, water quality, toxicity, fish tissue bioaccumulation and microbiology. He is a member of the Southern California Stormwater Consortium’s, Technical Advisory Committee who are tasked with ensuring that current State and Federal bioassessment protocols provide scientifically defensible data when used in urban California streams. Mr. Johnson was a founding Board member for the Southwest Association of Invertebrate Taxonomists (SAFIT) who is charged with the standardization of naming conventions for freshwater organisms in the southwest United States.
 

Marine Monitoring – Mr. Johnson currently manages, analyzes and interprets data, and provides regulatory reporting for the marine monitoring programs for several central and southern California agencies. These programs include monitoring design, sampling and analysis for ichthyoplankton, water quality, sediment chemistry and toxicity, bioaccumulation, trawled organisms, benthic infauna, and microbiology. He is actively involved in the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program, participating on the Coastal Ecology, Water Quality and Benthic Ecology committees.

MICHAEL J. MICHUZAK  is responsible for chronic and acute, freshwater and marine bioassays; as well oceanographic field work at Aquatic Bioassay. Responsible for bioassay report preparation, set-up and analysis, client interface, and quality control. Mr. Machuzak is a member of the Bight 2008 Toxicity and Field Methods committees.

RELEVANT PROJECT EXPERIENCE:

Acute and Chronic, Freshwater and Marine Bioassays

Oceanographic Sampling and Analysis

Environmental Chemical and Bacteriological Testing

Quality Control

BETH MATURINO is responsible for chronic and acute, freshwater and marine bioassays at Aquatic Bioassay. Responsible for bioassay report preparation, set-up and analysis, client interface, and quality control. Responsible for bacteriological analysis of receiving water samples as well as bacteriological QA/QC. SPECIAL FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE Acute and Chronic, Freshwater and Marine Bioassays Sediment Bioassays Environmental Chemical and Bacteriological Testing Health and Maintenance and Freshwater Bioassay Organisms

SPECIAL FIELDS OF KNOWLEDGE

Acute and Chronic, Freshwater and Marine Biossays.

Sediment Bioassays.

Environmental Chemical and Bacteriological Testing. Health and Maintenance of Marine and Freshwater Bioasssay Organisms.

BIOS
bottom of page