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Marine Environmental Studies Laboratory Research

The rapid economic growth of the developing countries will lead to increasing industrial activities, coastal development, and marine transport, bringing elevated levels of anthropogenic contamination in marine environment. Concerns are increasingly being raised about the levels and impacts of contaminants. These global concerns will increase MESLís role in providing advice on marine monitoring programs regarding their design, sampling, and analysis of contaminants by both conventional and nuclear-based techniques, and the reliability of monitoring data to be used for environment management purposes.

Stable carbon-isotope compositions are widely used to study the sources of organic carbon in ecosystems and their use in the food web. Understanding the transfer of carbon and nutrients between the environment and the marine organisms is a key to advance our knowledge on biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem functioning and how both relate. MESL is conducting experiments to trace the transfer of 13C-labelled and non-labelled nutrient through marine food chains, such as corals, plankton and bacteria based on the analysis of isotopic ratios of specific compounds by gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS). This new nuclear technology should help Member States to better understand food web interactions and carbon cycling in the marine environment.