My research uses detailed analysis of sediments to derive a historical perspective on organic and trace metal contaminants in aquatic environments. In the New York Harbor area, this work has grown out of research started at Lamont-Doherty in the mid-1970s.
My collaborators and I have collected cores and 7Be-dated surficial sediment indicative of potential sources of contaminants to the New York Metropolitan area. We employ high resolution gas chromatography and trace metal analyses to characterize contaminant sources, and use these characterizations to trace the influence of atmospheric and point-source contaminant loadings to the Estuary and urban environment.
My recent work has focused on halogenated organics including polychlorinated dioxins and furans, polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated pesticides, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. In particular, I have used dioxin congener ratios and hexachlorobenzene to trace sediment transport between the western Harbor (Newark Bay, Arthur Kill, and the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers) and the greater Harbor and Hudson River Estuary. With LDEO collaborators, I have also looked at the impact of the World Trade Center disaster on contaminant loadings in the New York urban atmosphere, and the impact of petroleum spills and local combustion on the sediments in NYC waterways.