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Steven J. Christopher

Dr. Christopher's research goals are to apply cutting edge spectrochemical techniques to study the role of trace metal contaminants in the marine environment. This work is implemented using inductively coupled plasma mass and atomic emission spectroscopies (ICPMS, ICP-AES). Hyphenated analytical plasma techniques such as laser ablation (LA-ICPMS) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC-ICPMS) are used, respectively, to investigate deposition of contaminants in solid samples such as bone, shells, teeth and study chemical species in marine animal systems. High accuracy analytical methods such as isotope dilution mass spectrometry and the method of standard additions are used to improve the quality and reliability of environmental contaminant data. The objectives of this work include: (1) studying the fate and impact of mercury (Hg) and other contaminants on the marine environment (e.g., Hg uptake in Alaskan colonial seabirds and loggerhead sea turtles) (2) assessing the levels of trace metal contaminants and studying their chemical forms in marine animals and (3) improving environmental measurements of trace element contaminants through analytical method development, instrumentation design, Standard Reference Material certification, and various marine quality assurance activities.

Prior to his employment with NIST Charleston in 1999, Steve was a Post-doctoral fellow at NIST, Gaithersburg in the Material Measurement Laboratory. He has authored several peer-reviewed publications and is currently an adjunct faculty member at both the College of Charleston's graduate program in Marine Biology and the Medical University of South Carolina's Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences Center.

Steve Christopher


Research Chemist
Chemical Sciences Division


Clemson University

State University of New York at Buffalo


Phone: 843-762-4872
Fax: 843-762-8742