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Michigan State UniversityWildlife Toxicology Laboratory

About the WTL

The Michigan State University - Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory (MSU-WTL or WTL) is housed within the Animal Science Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources located in Anthony Hall. The group has a rich investigative history, initiating research on both the fates and effects of potentially toxic compounds and elements, particularly in the area of ecological risk assessment. The WTL has conducted research into the movement, bioaccumulation and effects of toxic substances at different levels of biological organization, ranging from terrestrial to aquatic and biochemical to ecosystem. We have done extensive research in the areas of wildlife exposure, individual and population health, multispecies toxicity testing, biochemical indicators of stress, fate, and effects of PAHs, halogenated hydrocarbons, including chlorinated dibenzo-dioxins and -furans, PCBs, brominated fire retardants and pesticides including DDT. The MSU-WTL facilities provide the unique capability to design and conduct both field and controlled laboratory based site-specific studies utilizing multiple measurement endpoints in a multiple lines of evidence approach. This provides a great advantage when assessing the exposure and effects of complex contaminants mixtures to the resident wildlife of a dynamic ecosystem containing both aquatic and terrestrial components. The MSU-WTL specializes in riverine ecosystems.

The WTL also boasts an exceptional environmental chemistry analytical laboratory that has the capability to prepare, isolate, and quantitate a variety of environmental contaminants. Instrumental techniques include gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and chromatography/electron capture detection (GC/ECD). The laboratory also has the capability to customize instrumental and preparative techniques for unique compounds of interest.

MSU-WTL study plans (SAP, HASP and QAPP) follow U.S.E.P.A guidelines. The quality of the WTL sample collection, handling, tracking and analytical quality assurance and quality control was noted in the recent EPA peer review of Kalamazoo River, MI work. Greater than 12,000 data points from a variety of studies are included in EPA and USGS contaminant information databases. Agencies including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Community Health have endorsed MSU data through the use of it in fish and wild game contaminant monitoring situations.

Faculty, students and staff of the WTL have published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from concentrations of brominated flame retardant residues in inland lakes sediments to dioxin and furan dose-response studies in captive mink to population level effects of PCBs and DDT in raptors.

The MSU-WTL frequently partners with environmental and natural resource management groups including government (MDEQ, MDNR, Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Navy, USFWS, U.S.G.S) private, (CDM, ENVIRON, BBL, NRT, ENTRIX, CardnoENTRIX, ARCADiS) and others on environmental research projects.