Document Type

Honors Project On-Campus Access Only


Common Loon (Gavia immer) feathers serve as excellent environmental indicators of anthropogenic mercury infiltration into aquatic ecosystems. Sequestration into feathers, a defense mechanism possibly facilitated by selenium, has not been extensively studied in historical specimens. We sought to determine concentrations of methyl mercury and selenium within feathers obtained from museum specimens. Extraction methods were standardized using DORM-3 and DOLT-3, certified biological samples. Analysis was performed using a Buck Scientific 410 Cold Vapor Mercury Analyzer and a 420 Continuous Flow Hydride Generator coupled to a Buck 210 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. A method for methyl mercury was validated and initial concentrations determined.



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