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Monitoring contaminant levels in mussel shells from the North Sea using laser ablation ICP-MS - AE0224

R&D Summary objective:- Produce an historical record of metal contamination in the Humber area and northern North Seas over the past 40 years be measuring the metal content in the growth rings of horse mussel shells from these areas using a laser ablation technique. Key customer purpose:- Determine the effects of UK regulation on environmental contamination in the Humber area over the past 40 years.
1) Develop internationally recognised calibration and QC/QA procedures for analysis of shell material to ensure compatibility with data obtained in other important studies. Design and construction of suitable laser ablation cell for these particular samples. 2) Scoping study, involving bulk dissolution and analysis of portion of shells, to ensure cost effective execution of main project. A representative number of samples (aprox.20) will be chosen and the concentrations of key elements (including Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, Cr, As, Cd, Hg and Ti) determine, in order to optimise acquisition conditions for laser ablation. 3) Compliation from literature and other workers, e.g. MAFF and OSPAR, of data on trace element contamination in related sediments and mussel tissue, together with available data from shells of other species. 4) High resolution study to measure trace element variations on a limited number of shells form contaminated and background areas and thereby determine the optimum laser sampling strategy for the rest of the project. 5) Using the optimum laser sampling strategy derived from objective 4, determine the inter-shell variation in trace element concentrations for a given location with respect to time. 6) Determine the variation in trace element concentrations, with respect to time, from site to site (contaminated and background areas). 7) Statistical analysis (e.g. ANOVA) of the large data sets obtained in objectives 4, 5 and 6. Comparision of results with compilation obtained in objective 3 and thus relate the metal concentrations in the shells to those in mussel and related sediments. Compare changes in metal concentration in shells with the implementation of environmental legislation. 8) Production of report for MAFF. Dissemination of results through scientific presentations at conferences and publications after MAFF approval.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1996

Cost: £9,845
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural Environment Research Council
Environmental monitoring              
Environmental Protection              
Water quality monitoring              
Fields of Study
Environmental Protection - Marine