My research is about the behaviour of organic contaminants in the environment. The overall goal is to describe the relationship between emission of a chemical and its levels in tissue in humans and wildlife. This entails an understanding of the major processes that influence the environmental fate and bioaccumulation of organic chemicals, and most of my research has been devoted to furthering this process understanding. I study chemical fate in both the terrestrial and the aquatic environments, whereby phase partitioning (e.g. to aerosols, soil, vegetation, plankton), chemical transport between environmental compartments (e.g. air-soil, air-vegetation, air-sea exchange), and bioaccumulation (from primary producers up to and including humans) have been my most active areas. Currently I am currently particularly interested in chemical persistence.
I apply a range of tools in my endeavours including:
– Methods development. I have a strong interest in sensitive and precise analytical methods since they open up unique opportunities for studying contaminant behaviour in the field. Coupled to this is work developing sampling procedures with minimal artefacts and clever sampling characteristics.
– Laboratory experimentation. The controlled laboratory environment is ideal for establishing the fundamental principles of chemical behaviour. My experience in this area includes measuring partitioning in diverse matrices and conducting bioaccumulation experiments in terrestrial vegetation and algae.
– Semi-controlled field studies. Studying contaminant behaviour in the field is invaluable to evaluating the applicability of theory and laboratory research to the real world. Creating semi-controlled environments which minimally disturb the natural state is a difficult challenge, but one that yields great scientific rewards. Examples in my work include the ?natural? mass balance for evaluating dietary uptake of contaminants or greenhouses ventilated in various ways for studying uptake pathways in vegetation.
– Monitoring. Whether in a concerted and coordinated field campaign or as a routine trend activity, monitoring is essential for measuring the true state of the environment and for gleaning data for model validation. I have broad experience in designing and conducting field campaigns, be it in the atmosphere, on land or at sea, and in conceiving and executing trend monitoring programs.
– Mathematical modelling. Due to the complexities of chemical behaviour in the environment, mathematical modelling is both essential to synthesise knowledge and invaluable for identifying knowledge gaps and exploring hypotheses. I view my contributions to improving process descriptions in multimedia fate and bioaccumulation models as one of the most important outputs of my research.
Latest scientific papers
Comparing non-targeted chemical persistence assessed using an unspiked OECD 309 test to field measurements
A simple field-based biodegradation test shows pH to be an inadequately controlled parameter in laboratory biodegradation testing
High-throughput evaluation of organic contaminant removal efficiency in a wastewater treatment plant using direct injection UHPLC-Orbitrap-MS/MS