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Trace Element Research Lab

The Trace Element Research Laboratory (TERL) is dedicated to providing students with a high quality education in environmental chemistry and sponsors with high quality trace element data. (TERL) offers an uncommon combination of academic research expertise and extensive experience in the environmental monitoring and regulation arenas. TERL has an international reputation, earned through numerous blind intercalibration exercises, for consistently producing high quality, low detection limit trace element data for environmental samples (including water, wastewater, sediment and biota). All work is conducted under a comprehensive quality assurance/ quality control (QA/QC) program. TERL is experienced in the use of clean (1 part per billion level) and ultra-clean (< 0.1ppb level) sampling and preconcentration procedures required to make accurate measurements of trace metals at ambient levels in both freshwater and seawater. TERL has participated in most major US environmental monitoring programs over the past decade (e.g. NOAA Mussel Watch, EPA EMAP, USFWS Contaminants Program, etc.) and has an established reputation for accurately measuring trace metal levels in samples from even the most pristine environments.

TERL facilities for low level analyses include a clean room, three modern graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometers, a PSA hydride generation atomic fluorescence analyzer, a Hewlett-Packard model 4500 ICP/MS, a Perkin-Elmer Optima 3000 dual-view ICP, and complete neutron activation analysis facilities.

TERL has successfully completed over 300 projects for government agencies (e.g. U.S. Navy, NOAA, FWS, EPA, NSF, ONR) and private sector corporations (e.g. Science Applications Inc., CH2M-Hill, Phillips Petroleum, Exxon). Selected recent projects are described below. A complete list of projects including intercalibration (QA/QC) exercise results and detailed project summaries are available upon request.


National Research Council of Canada. 1995-present. TERL participated in the certification process for new sediment certified reference materials (CRM). Canadian CRM's are used routinely in laboratories throughout the world as independent QA samples to confirm the accuracy of analytical results.

U.S. Geological Survey. 1994-present. Evaluation Program for Standard Reference Water Samples. TERL has been participating in this program since March 1994. In a recent intercalibration exercise for trace constituents and Hg in water and trace metals in sediments (Open-File Report 95-395), TERL received an overall ranking of fourth among the 137 laboratories participating.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1986-present. Annual NOAA National Status and Trends Trace Element Intercalibration Exercise for sediment and tissue. TERL has participated in all exercises (# 1-10) and has consistently received the highest possible performance rating (superior).

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1993-present. TERL has been participating in both Water Supply and Water Pollution Laboratory Performance Evaluation Studies for several years, and has consistently received an acceptable rating (highest possible rating).

Quality Assurance of Information for Marine Environmental Monitoring in Europe (QUASIMEME). 1994-96. TERL is the only U.S. laboratory participating in this European Community sponsored low detection level intercalibration exercise for tissue and sediment. In the latest round (#4, May 1995) TERL received a rating of "good performance" (highest possible rating) for both matrices.

For Information: Contact Drs. R.J. Taylor ( or G.R. Bratton ( (979)458-0035; (979) 845-1568; (979) 845-3430;FAX (979) 847-8981

Contact Us

Dr. Robert J. Taylor
Trace Element Research Laboratory
College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) Department
VMA Bldg Rm 107
4458 TAMUS
College Station, TX 77843-4458
(979) 845-1568