Scientific Research

The Center conducts humane, non-destructive research on a variety of topics in the overlap between veterinary medicine and habitat biology.  Investigations are often qualitative explorations and are done by staff scientists in conjunction with volunteers, interns and school classrooms.  The Center, over the years, has investigated topics such as

  • “The incidence of toxins, like organophosphates, organochlorines, heavy metals and PCB’s, in wildlife populations of the South Shore of Massachusetts: a retrospective study”
  • “The occurrence and suggested control measures of swimmer’s itch in Whitman Pond, Weymouth, MA.”
  • “The use of tail blood sinus in turtles as a site for blood drawing and intravenous injection of anti-infectives and anesthetic agents”
  • “The identification and occurrence of immunocytes in local shellfish of Boston harbor”
  • “The effect of temperature extremes on immunocyte counts of Mytilus edulis: a query to understanding possible effects of global warming on immune response”
  • “The incidence of Baylisascaris procyonis in southeastern Massachusetts in raccoon and skunk populations”

Additionally, current research is being conducted investigating the spread of infectious diseases in local raccoons. Specifically, raccoons we find are being tested for viral diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, and rabies. Another study we are conducting in conjunction with the University of California, Davis investigates the incidence of a new viral disease called the polyomavirus, which was discovered recently on the West Coast. We are attempting to determine if it has spread to the New England area yet.

Dr. Greg MertzScientific Research