Thermo Fisher Scientific
Environmental pollution is unfortunately everywhere—in our air, our soils, and our waterways. It is a pervasive characteristic of the world we inhabit, driven by our increasing need to exploit raw materials, manufacture modern technologies, and feed our ever-expanding populations. Across the world, huge volumes of environmental pollutants enter our planet’s oceans, lakes, and rivers, damaging the health of waters critical to supporting human and aquatic life. So, where do isotope fingerprints come in to determine the source of pollution? This webcast will provide an introduction to the use of stable isotopes as key tracers for sources of pollution, focusing on nitrogen (N) one of the key nutrients for life. We will discuss how isotopes can help us understand the N cycle and fingerprint sources of human-derived N pollution, both modern and historic. Through the use of geochemical tracers such as isotopes, scientists can help policy makers determine the best routes for mitigating environmental damage and hopefully start to reverse the impact we are having on delicate ecosystems.
Dr. Andi Smith, Stable Isotope Geochemist, National Environmental Isotope Facility
Andi’s research career to date has focused on utilizing stable isotope geochemistry to answer questions surrounding past climate and modern environmental change. His PhD, completed at Lancaster University, UK (2014) used speleothem records from northern Spain to compile a history of rainfall in the region throughout the Holocene (12,000-0 years). This work was based on O and C isotope records from the carbonate speleothems as well as a rigorous modern hydrological monitoring and has helped to explain periods of climate instability and their potential global climate forcers. Since PhD, Andi moved to the National Environmental Isotope Facility (NEIF), British Geological Survey, UK where he is currently employed as an isotope geochemist. He is responsible for NEIF’s environmental tracers research area, specialising in nitrate (δ15N and δ18O), phosphate (δ18O-P), sulpher (δ34S and δ18O) and methane (δ2H and δ13C) analysis. In his role he works on a range of isotope tracer projects with academics from throughout the UK, supporting their science using isotope fingerprinting techniques. In the laboratory, Andi leads the development of phosphate oxygen isotope extraction methodologies for soil, sediments and polluted waters and is involved in developing novel instrumentation for hydrogen and carbon isotopes in groundwater and gas methane. As part of the NEIF team, Andi is always willing to discuss and support new research projects and ideas. So, if you are a UK based researcher and think stable isotope analysis may help develop your science don’t hesitate to get in contact with him.
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