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Australian Government: National Measurement InstituteAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute
National Measurement Institute

Indicative Project

Persistant organic pollutants in Australian fauna and marine mammals

Background Info

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are either unintentional by-products or industrial chemicals that exhibit toxicity and exceptional persistence in the environment. These compounds bioaccumulate in the food chain and can cause reproductive and development issues in animals and humans.

The Australian Ultra Trace Laboratory was originally established in 2000 to help fulfil Australian Government obligations as a signatory of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Stockholm Convention on POPs.

Past studies have included Dioxins and PCBs in Sydney Harbour fish, PBDEs in Tasmanian Devils, and POPs in Ibis.

A current project with University of Sydney is measuring POPs in Australian fur seals affected by alopecia in Victoria.

Project Description

The project can focus on an impacted population (like Sydney fish) or be a survey of POPs contamination (like Ibis across 2 states). Animal samples (blood/fat/flesh/eggs) are collected by the student in the field and analysed at NMI. Training on the analytical and the data processing techniques will be provided in the laboratory. Students will require access and permissions to obtain animal samples.

Examples of Relevant Sudent Courses

Analytical Chemistry, Toxicology, Veterinary science

Student Level

Honours, Masters


6 months or longer


North Ryde (NSW)


Ultra-Trace Unit


Gavin Stevenson

Email Contact

Interested in this project?

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