Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.


Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death in loons, yet few studies have examined the effects of low chronic lead exposure in live birds. Current methods of lead analysis use invasive techniques which require cadaver dissection and sample destruction. This project seeks to determine whether portable XRF spectrometry can accurately measure lead levels in loon bone samples that contain flesh. The data in this MQP validates previous studies and demonstrates that the portable XRF device can be used to measure chronic lead exposure in loons, even when tissue is present for in vivo measurements. This technique could be used in future studies to monitor chronic lead exposures in live birds, allowing environmental remediation prior to animal death.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2018


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

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