Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Kristin J. Smith
Kristin J. Smith's photoKristin Smith

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Research Interests
I'm interested in the origin, pathways and ultimate sink of organic contaminants (both anthropogenic and naturally produced) in oceanic systems.  My initial project investigated the production of perylene in sediments of the anoxic Saanich Inlet in British Columbia, Canada.  Currently, I'm working on my dissertation, which focuses on halogenated 1'-methyl-1,2'-bipyrroles, or MBPs.  These compounds were identified in the blubber of marine mammals stranded along the east coast of North America, from Virginia to Nova Scotia.  What makes these compounds extremely interesting to me is that although they resemble industrial organic pollutants (such as DDT and PCBs) in both their structure and tendancy towards bioaccumulation, they are natural products.  The research that I am working on will identify or constrain the source of these compounds, and also provide much needed information on their distribution in the Northwestern Atlantic, where we believe they are produced.  By furthering our understanding of these natural products, this research will allow a better understanding of all chemicals, natural and industrial, emitted into the marine environment.

  • Ph.D., Chemical Oceanography, MIT-WHOI Joint Program (July 2009 - expected)
  • B.S., Chemistry, Bates College (2002)
  • Plattsburgh High School (1997)

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