The Biochemical and Exposure Science Group at the Hollings Marine Laboratory tests and optimizes methods to accurately and precisely measure environmental contaminants in wildlife tissue samples.
Environmental contaminants can cause adverse health impacts to wild animal populations, therefore monitoring contaminant exposure in wildlife is important. Moreover, the diversity of chemicals released into the environment is daunting, which requires the development of methods to screen samples for the presence of new compounds (non-targeted research) and also methods to measure the accurate and precise concentration of known, targeted compounds in animal tissues. The Environmental Chemical Sciences Group develops and optimizes these methods, certifies Standard Reference Materials produced from wildlife or surrogate species, and analyzes wildlife tissue samples for a broad suite of chemical pollutants, including trace elements or heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and emerging chemicals of concern. Recent research has focused on chemical measurements in marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and alligators.