Mark Pokras

Mark Pokras
Wildlife Health, Birds, Reptiles
Wildlife Clinic & Center for Conservation Medicine
Mark Pokras is one of the old timers at the Clinic, having been a veterinary student at tufts from 1980-84, a resident in zoo and wildlife medicine (under Dr. Charles Sedgwick, the Clinic's first director) from 1985-87, a faculty member since 1988, and Clinic Director from 1995 - 2008. Mark is also one of the founders of Tufts TCCM. Mark grew up in New York, New Jersey, New England, Mexico and Venezuela, and did his undergraduate work at Cornell University. Next he (and wife Martha) worked in marine biological research from 1971-1974, and then taught ornithology and marine biology at Stockton State College in New Jersey until Mark entered TCSVM. He regularly consults for a variety of private, state and federal wildlife and environmental agencies on issues of environmental health and policy. Mark's professional interests include working with students, medicine and surgery of native wildlife (especially birds and reptiles), aquatic birds and environmental health, allometric scaling and conservation biology. He has been doing mortatilty research on loons since 1987 and is widely recognized for his work on lead poisoning. Mark enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, a variety of outdoor activities, and playing music.


  • Residency in Zoo & Wildlife Medicine - 1985 - 1988 
  • DVM - Tufts University - 1984
  • BS - Cornell Universtiy - 1971

What is your diagnosis? Ventricular metallic foreign body.

Author(s):Hopf, C. | Pokras, M. | Aguilar, R.F.
Publication year: 2014
Journal / Book title: Journal of avian medicine and surgery

GM1-gangliosidosis in American black bears: Clinical, pathological, biochemical and molecular genetic characterization

Author(s):Muthupalani, S. | Torres, P.A. | Wang, B.C. | Zeng, B.J. | Eaton, S. | Erdelyi, I. | Ducore, R. | Maganti, R. | Keating, J. | Perry, B.J. | Tseng, F.S. | Waliszewski, N. | Pokras, M. | Causey, R. | Seger, R. | March, P. | Tidwell, A. | Pfannl, R. | Seyfried, T. | Kolodny, E.H. | Alroy, J.
Publication year: 2014
Journal / Book title: Molecular Genetics and Metabolism

A rapid postmortem screening test for lead toxicosis in common loons (Gavia immer) and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Author(s):Kornetsky, R. | Rock, M. | Pokras, M.
Publication year: 2013
Journal / Book title: Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Health risks from lead-based ammunition in the environment

Author(s):Bellinger, D.C. | Burger, J. | Cade, T.J. | Cory-Slechta, D.A. | Finkelstein, M. | Hu, H. | Kosnett, M. | Landrigan, P.J. | Lanphear, B. | Pokras, M.A. | Redig, P.T. | Rideout, B.A. | Silbergeld, E. | Wright, R. | Smith, D.R.
Publication year: 2013
Journal / Book title: Environmental Health Perspectives

What is your diagnosis?

Author(s):Martinez, J. | Pokras, M.A.
Publication year: 2010
Journal / Book title: Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery

Hematology and absence of hemoparasites in breeding common terns (Sterna Hi Run Do) from cape cod, Massachusetts

Author(s):Fiorello, C.V. | Nisbet, I.C.T. | Hatch, J.J. | Corsiglia, C. | Pokras, M.A.
Publication year: 2009
Journal / Book title: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Lead objects ingested by common loons in New England

Author(s):Pokras, M. | Kneeland, M. | Ludi, A. | Golden, E. | Major, A. | Miconi, R. | Poppenga, R.H.
Publication year: 2009
Journal / Book title: Northeastern Naturalist

Lead poisoning: Using transdisciplinary approaches to solve an ancient problem

Author(s):Pokras, M.A. | Kneeland, M.R.
Publication year: 2008
Journal / Book title: EcoHealth

Adverse effects from environmental mercury loads on breeding common loons

Author(s):Evers, D.C. | Savoy, L.J. | Desorbo, C.R. | Yates, D.E. | Hanson, W. | Taylor, K.M. | Siegel, L.S. | Cooley Jr., J.H. | Bank, M.S. | Major, A. | Munney, K. | Mower, B.F. | Vogel, H.S. | Schoch, N. | Pokras, M. | Goodale, M.W. | Fair, J.
Publication year: 2008
Journal / Book title: Ecotoxicology

Allometric Scaling

Author(s):Mayer, J. | Kaufman, G. | Pokras, M.
Publication year: 2006
Journal / Book title: Reptile Medicine and Surgery

Beached bird surveys in Massachusetts: The seabird ecological assessment network (SEANET)

Author(s):Harris, R.J. | Tseng, F.S. | Pokras, M.A. | Suedmeyer, B.A. | Bogart, J.S.H. | Prescott, R.L. | Newman, S.H.
Publication year: 2006
Journal / Book title: Marine Ornithology

Emerging zoonoses in marine mammals and seabirds of the Northeast U.S.

Author(s):Bogomolni, A. | Ellis, J. | Gast, R. | Harris, B. | Pokras, M. | Touhey, K. | Moore, M.
Publication year: 2006
Journal / Book title: OCEANS 2006

Hematologic and physiologic reference ranges for free-ranging adult and young common loons (Gavia immer)

Author(s):Haefele, H.J. | Sidor, I. | Evers, D.C. | Hoyt, D.E. | Pokras, M.A.
Publication year: 2005
Journal / Book title: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Obstruction and starvation associated with plastic ingestion in a Northern Gannet Morus bassanus and a Greater Shearwater Puffinus gravis

Author(s):Pierce, K.E. | Harris, R.J. | Larned, L.S. | Pokras, M.A.
Publication year: 2004
Journal / Book title: Marine Ornithology

Mortality of common loons in New England, 1987 to 2000

Author(s):Sidor, I.F. | Pokras, M.A. | Major, A.R. | Poppenga, R.H. | Taylor, K.M. | Miconi, R.M.
Publication year: 2003
Journal / Book title: Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Size characteristics of stones ingested by Common Loons

Author(s):Franson, J.C. | Hansen, S.P. | Pokras, M.A. | Miconi, R.
Publication year: 2001
Journal / Book title: Condor

Monitoring wading bird exposure to agricultural chemicals using serum cholinesterase activity

Author(s):Parsons, K.C. | Matz, A.C. | Hooper, M.J. | Pokras, M.A.
Publication year: 2000
Journal / Book title: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Liver mercury and methylmercury concentrations in New England common loons (Gavia immer)

Author(s):Pokras, M.A. | Hanley, C. | Gordon, Z.
Publication year: 1998
Journal / Book title: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Analysis of genetic diversity in common loon Gavia immer using RAPD and mitochondrial RFLP techniques

Author(s):Dhar, A.K. | Pokras, M.A. | Garcia, D.K. | Evers, D.C. | Gordon, Z.J. | Alcivar-Warren, A.
Publication year: 1997
Journal / Book title: Molecular Ecology

Establishing cardiac measurement standards in three avian species

Author(s):Hanley, C.S. | Murray, H.G. | Torrey, S. | Pokras, M.A.
Publication year: 1997
Journal / Book title: Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery

General Research Interests

  • Functional and surgical anatomy of birds and reptiles.
  • Environmental pathology (including toxicology) of wildlife species.
  • Captive management of aquatic reptiles, birds and mammals.
  • Allometric scaling as a tool for understanding comparative clinical medicine.
  • Development of minimally invasive field techniques for wildlife health studies.

Selected Research Projects

  • Lead (Pb) toxicosis in wildlife and public health.
  • Seanet -- threats to aquatic birds.
  • WebAtlas of Wildlife Anatomy & Pathology.
  • Surveys of vernal pools and other campus resources.
  • Presence of antibiotic resistant organisms in native wildlife.

Research Interests by Area

International, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine
  • SEANET; Loons; Environmental Contaminants

Other campus activities

  • Sponsor a variety of student projects & selectives.
  • Host “Open Mike” nights on campus.
  • Advise student WAZE group (Wildlife, Aquatics, Zoo & Exotics).
  • Lead campus & regional nature walks.