Use Laser Ablation coupled to Mass Spectroscopy to Measure Temporal and Spatial Road Runoff Pollution Uptake by Aquatic Organisms

Focus Area

Water Quality/Wetlands


Natural Resources




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

In concert with UC Davis, take samples from the calcareous skeletons/shells of invertebrates, cross section them through annual growth rings, burn samples from within the growth ring, analyze the vaporized sample by Mass spectography for the ration of calcium to pollutant (metals, PAHs).  The result will provide retrospective look at the history of relative pollutant uptake by aquatic organisms sampled over its lifetime, and in the case of sessile organisms, at one location.

Urgency and Payoff

Technique will allow the reading of the history of pollutants through time at any aquatic site with suitable sessile organisms, and the allow measuring the spatial extent and duration of the pollutant plume.

This quantification technique would allow the DOT to retrospectively harvest data on the efficacy of Storm-water Management BMP in reducing the extent and duration of runoff toxicity.

Suggested By

William Van Peeters, FHWA Resource Center San Francisco

[email protected]