Concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc were measured in coral, crab, eel, fish, lobster, and sediment samples collected from French Frigate Shoals, North Pacific Ocean. The sediments contained relatively high concentrations of selenium; moderate concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper and lead; and low concentrations of chromium and zinc. Metal concentrations were also determined in coral and crabs collected from the island of Oahu. Notably, a crab (Grapsus tenuicrustatus) and the undulated moray eel (Gymnothorax undulatus) exhibited high levels of copper and arsenic, respectively, relative to the other species studied. The concentrations of arsenic in the eel averaged 225 microg g(-1) dry wt, which was 3-12 times higher than that in all of the other species tested. The average concentration of copper in the crab was 343 microg g(-1) dry wt, 3-86 times greater than that in the other species studied. These data indicate background and comparative levels of the metals among the studied species. Lead levels in the coral (9-10 microg g(-1) dry wt) and crab (42-57 microg g(-1) dry wt) from Tern and Disappearing Islands were 23-283-fold greater than those from Oahu (0.4 and 0.2 microg g(-1) dry wt, respectively).