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MESL - Marine Environmental Studies Laboratory

MESL is the laboratory devoted to studies involving non-nuclear pollutants and lipid biomarkers. The analytical capabilities of MESL cover isotopic and elemental analysis of trace elements, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petroleum hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), antifouling paint booster biocides and lipid biomarkers. Among its multiple tasks, MESL acts as the analytical support centre for MEDPOL, implements marine monitoring programmes in collaboration with regional laboratories, provides training in analytical techniques and is the pillar of the Quality Assurance programme for determination of non-nuclear contaminants in the marine environment.

MESL has been assisting national laboratories and regional laboratory networks through the provision of Analytical Quality Control Services for the analysis of trace metals and organic compounds in marine samples. Relevant activities include global interlaboratory comparison exercises, regional proficiency tests, and the production of marine reference materials.

MESL has collaborated closely with regional organisations such as MEDPOL for more than 30 years and with the ROPME in the Gulf and Gulf of Oman for more than 20 years. In recent years, MESL has assisted GEF International Waters projects in the Black, Caspian, Red and Yellow Sea regions and West Indian Ocean region.

The rapid economic growth of the developing countries will lead to increasing industrial activities, coastal development, and marine transport. This will in turn increase the levels and extent of anthropogenic contamination in marine environments. Concerns about both the levels of these contaminants and their associated environmental impacts are increasing. These increased global concerns will strengthen MESLís vital role in providing expert advice on marine monitoring programmes with respect to their design, sampling protocols, analysis of contaminants by both conventional and nuclear-based techniques, and the reliability of monitoring data to be used for environment management purposes.

The laboratory also has a research programme encompassing analytical technique development, environmental case studies, biogeochemical cycling of mercury and climate change studies based on interpreting carbon-13:carbon-12 isotope ratios in lipid biomarkers.