We have the largest team of dedicated benthic biologists in the UK. This enables us to process many samples quickly and efficiently. To ensure the highest quality of analyses, and consistent data throughout all our projects, we conduct all our benthic analyses from a single laboratory in accordance with our industry leading standard operating procedures. Over the past 25 years we have processed in excess of 45,000 samples from over 1100 surveys. Processing biological samples is a core competency of our business and we have macrofauna, meiofauna and zooplankton expertise.
Thomson Ecology's ability to provide complete biological, granulometric and chemical services to our client's ensures coherent data and reporting.
We participate in, and are auditors for three components of, the National Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control (NMBAQC) scheme.
The Thomson Ecology marine division's benthic invertebrate and fish reference collections extend to more than 70,000 specimen vials covering some 3,550 taxa. We also have an extensive literature collection and have developed unique software to ensure that samples and survey data are reliably identified, classified and located.
We take considerable care in ensuring that reference identification material from every species encountered on every survey is cross checked by at least two members of staff. This is particularly important for surveys forming part of a long-term monitoring programme.
Particle size analysis (PSA) samples are analysed in-house using standard (ISO3310-1/BS410-1) half-phi sieves and our Malvern Mastersizer 2000, according to NMBAQC Scheme Best Practice Guidance: Particle Size Analysis (PSA) for Supporting Biological Analysis. Particle size distribution data derived from sieve and laser diffraction granulometic methods are stored, merged and interrogated using the particle size module of our Unicorn database.
We provide a full suite of chemical testing for the monitoring of marine sediments and water quality. The following determinants are commonly requested:
- Total organics by loss on ignition (LOI)
- Total Carbon
- Heavy metals by standard HF digest method
- Trace metals, for example Hg by cold vapour AAS
- Hydrocarbons, for example total oils and total polycyclic aromatics
- MBT, DBT and TBT (organotins (routine) by GCMS)
- PCBs (ICES 7 suite) (GCMS)
- Total petroleum hydrocarbons by IR
Our suite of laboratories includes a ventilated washroom for initial sieving procedures and preparation. Samples then go forward for identification under magnification with photographic recording as appropriate.