Martin James Nolan is a first year master’s student working with the DCU Water Institute. His research revolves around passive sampling of heavy metals in sea water as part of the MONITOOL Project.
What does the project encompass?
The MONITOOL Project aims to allow for the use of Diffusive Gradient Thin film (DGT) sampling devices to monitor the presence and concentration of heavy metals in sea water. The heavy metals of interest are: cadmium, nickel and lead. A number of countries are working together on this project, mainly on the Atlantic Coast. The expertise of scientists from various backgrounds has been crucial to the ongoing success of MONITOOL.
What is the goal of the project?
The goal of Martin’s project is to inform policy makers and change the current EU directives as heavy metals in sea water are not being monitored properly. The team also want to examine the effects environmental physiochemical parameters have on DGT devices as these have not been well studied.
What environmental impact do you expect your project to have?
Heavy metals such as nickel and lead are known to cause long term toxic effects. These metals can accumulate in fish where they persist even after cooking. The problem of heavy metals in water is not only an environmental but also a health problem for people. Martin and the rest of his team want to advise policy makers so that informed EU directives, backed up by science can be put into place to save our seas and oceans.