Summer Research To Grad School

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    After collecting data in summer 2009, Kristin Bircsak ’10 releases a painted turtle back into its pond. Kristin spent the summer before her senior year in Chestertown doing research.
November 03, 2012
Kristin Bircsak ’10 is in a Ph.D. program in toxicology at Rutgers University.

Working under the guidance of Dr. Mindy Reynolds (biology) and Dr. Leslie Sherman (chemistry) Kristin pursued a senior capstone project exploring “The Presence of Cadmium in River Sediments and its Effects on Zebrafish.

Trace amounts of heavy metals, including cadmium, can be found naturally within the earth’s crust. Currently, there is concern about the increased amount of heavy metal present in the environment due to anthropogenic sources. These metals, especially in an aquatic environment, can have toxic effects on the surrounding life. This study focuses on determining the presence of cadium in the Chester River sediments in its various forms and its effects on zebrafish.

A sequential extraction was used in combination with flame atomic absorption spectrometry to determine the concentration of cadmium present. The zebrafish adults and larvae were treated with similar concentrations of cadmium in order to simulate a long term exposure. The developmental and behavioral effects were observed and measured. The results from this experiment will lead to a better understanding of the long term effects of cadmium exposure so that heavy metal pollution can eventually be eliminated.

Last modified on Oct. 28th, 2013 at 12:51pm by .