Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a broad class of ubiquitous, recalcitrant chemicals commonly detected in drinking water sources and aquatic ecosystems. Importantly, PFAS are both hydrophobic and oleophobic making them likely to bioaccumulate. Even at trace levels, certain PFAS chemicals and their degradation products may lead to decreased fertility, developmental delays, increased cancer risks, and immune system suppression. The negative health impacts may be intensified in species under pressure from climate change due to loss of habitat, changes in migration patterns, and variable food availability. In this project, we are investigating the impact of PFAS on migratory birds endemic to the lower Great Lakes as the impacts of climate change begin to manifest on aquatic ecosystems.
1. Analyze and profile the PFAS load using complimentary targeted, non-targeted, and total organic fluorine approaches.
2. Assess the potential for bioaccumulation at various trophic levels based on δ13C and δ15N stable isotope shifts.