Research Areas

Chemistry/Microbiology

Fundamental and applied research is conducted in these areas, and is primarily focused on the marine and related environments. The laboratories routinely analyze samples of seawater, freshwater, effluent, sediment and biota for various physical, chemical and microbiological parameters.

 

Projects

Long-term Monitoring Project for Trinidad and Tobago

The need for the establishment of a long term monitoring project was identified by representatives from the Wider Caribbean Region based on a Regional Workshop held in Venezuela 29th – 31st March 2005, on the “Assessment of Land-Based Sources of Pollution and Methodologies in Land Based Sources of Pollution”.

The main goals of the study are:

  1. To assess the contribution of land-based sources of pollution in the coastal areas of  Trinidad and Tobago,
  2. To determine the transport and fate of pollutants in coastal areas of Trinidad and Tobago and
  3. To conduct water quality assessments of coral reefs in Tobago in order to add to existing data on distribution and abundance.

Sampling was conducted in the Gulf of Paria at 37 stations during the wet season of 2007 and the dry season of 2008. Sampling for the characterization of inorganic and domestic sources of pollution in the marine environment was completed for the wet season of 2008. The Gulf of Paria component of the project commenced in 2007 in Trinidad. The East coast component commenced in 2010.

Bacteriological water quality testing at popular recreational water-use areas in Trinidad and Tobago

The Marine Chemistry Department embarked on a two- year water quality-monitoring programme at selected recreational water-use areas in Trinidad and Tobago. The aim is to protect persons who participate in recreational water activities at these sites from potential health risks, as well as contribute to the establishment of standards.

Some goals of this project are:

  1. To conduct an environmental health assessment at selected recreational water-use sites in Trinidad and Tobago,
  2. To assess water quality at selected recreational water-use areas in Trinidad and Tobago for a period of at least two (2) years (by determining compliance with international standards or local standards where available),
  3. To detect any trends in water quality at the selected recreational water-use areas over the monitoring period,
  4. To identify possible sources of sewage contamination for the selected recreational water-use areas in Trinidad and Tobago and
  5. To establish a registration system for popular recreational water-use sites in Trinidad and Tobago.

Sampling has been conducted at Cocal, Mayaro and Guayaguayare.

Establishment of a Finger-printing database on petroleum hydrocarbons at the Institute of Marine Affairs

Trinidad and Tobago is extremely vulnerable to oil pollution.  The average reported number of oil spills greater than 1000l, during a five year period (1996-2000) was 240. Consequently, Trinidad was reported as an ‘oil spill heaven’, having a spill every 1.5 days (Agard, J. 2001).

A fingerprinting database can be used to link hydrocarbon pollution to their source(s). Collected samples are analysed and can be matched with reference samples in the database to determine the likely source(s). Fingerprinting by Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) compared to traditional techniques gives a better representation of true oil composition.  Specific target petroleum hydrocarbons are identified and include aliphatics (C10–C32), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their alkylated homologs, isoprenoids and terpane compounds.

This project is ongoing; samples are collected and analysed during oil spill incidents. A methodology of sample extraction and analysis was published in 2005.

Preliminary investigation of heavy metals in fish and the mobile/bio-available phase of sediments from Trinidad and Tobago

This study which is scheduled begin in September 2010 provides information on heavy metal contamination of (edible) commercial fish and shellfish species which constitute an important economic resource for Trinidad and Tobago.

Examination of the distribution of non-residual metals among the various geochemical phases - exchangeable, carbonate bound, iron-manganese oxide bound, organic matter and sulphide bound, is important in assessing the potential impact of metal-contaminated sediments in the environment.

The main goals of this study are:

  1. To investigate the potential mobility and bioavailability of heavy metals in sediments from Trinidad and Tobago and
  2. To determine whether any relationship exists between heavy metals in shrimp, demersal fish and pelagic fish from Trinidad and Tobago, and the mobile/ bioavailable heavy metal fraction in the sediments.

Investigation of contamination of Organotins at major ports, ship repair facilities and marine recreational areas in Chaguaramas

The goals of this study are as follows:

  1. To determine levels of butyltin compounds in water and sediment at selected  ports, harbours, ship repair facilities and recreational areas,
  2. To pinpoint possible sources of contamination in the marine environment,
  3. To provide results for more detailed studies and
  4. To obtain information which will assist in making recommendations for minimizing further organo-metallic pollution.

An investigation of the fate, cycling and movement of nitrogen in a mangrove environment using stable isotope studies in Trinidad

Goals of the project are as follows:

  1. To trace the cycling of nitrogen within the mangrove in its natural environment using natural isotopic abundance,
  2. To determine the delta Nitrogen 15 abundance in water, sediment and  mangrove leaf litter,
  3. To gather information about the detrital food-web by monitoring the path of the delta N15 and
  4. To determine if mangrove leaves act as a bio-monitor for anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen into the environment.

Publications

  1. Banjoo, D. 2004. Assessment of Biota Quality in the Gulf of Paria, Hydrocarbon Component
  2. Banjoo, D.; Maxwell, A. R.; Mootoo, B. S.; Lough, A. J.; McLean, S.; Reynolds. W.F. 1998. Erythrolide K, an unusual diterpene metabolite possessing a bicyclo[8.4.0] tetradecane skeleton.  Tetrahedron Letters 39: 1469-1472
  3. Banjoo, D., Norville, W. 2001. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Investigation of a Fish Kill at Petrotrin Dams
  4. Banjoo, D. 2000. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Investigation of the Hydrocarbon Contamination of the Chaguaramas to Port of Spain Area following an Oil spill at Turning Basin in the Port of Spain Harbour
  5. Banjoo, D. 2001. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Investigation of the Fish Kill at the Caroni Swamp
  6. Banjoo, D., Norville, W. 2003. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Fingerprinting Analysis of an Oil Spill at Caridoc, Chaguaramas
  7. Banjoo, D., Norville, W. 2003. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Investigation of the Alleged Mercury Spill at the Cipero Water and Sewerage Treatment Plant, Gulf View, San Fernando
  8. Banjoo, D. 2008. UNEP/RCU, Monitoring of Regional Hot Spots, Point Lisas, Gulf of Paria, Trinidad and Tobago
  9. Banjoo, D., Mootoo, B. S., Ramsewak, R.S., Sharma, R., Lough, A. J., McLean, S.,  Reynolds. W.F. 2002. New Erythrolides from the Caribbean Gorgonian Octoral Erythropodium caribaeorum.  Journal of Natural Products 65(3):314 – 318
  10. Banjoo, D. 2004. Oil Spill Sampling Manual
  11. Bullock, C.A. 1989. Report of a bacterial survey of Teteron Bay from 5th to 21st December 1988
  12. Bullock, C.A. 1989. Report of a bacteriological survey of Petit Trou Bay, Toco, Trinidad, W.I. from 10th May to 14th June 1989
  13. Bullock, C.A. 1989. Report on a bacteriological survey of Petit Trou Bay, Toco, Trinidad, W.I. from 9th Aug to 25th Oct, 1989
  14. Bullock, C.A. 1991. Report of a bacteriological survey of Maracas Bay, Trinidad, W.I.
  15. Bullock, C. A. 2005. Potentials sources of bacteriological pollution for two bays with marinas in Trinidad. Revista de Biological Tropical 53(Suppl.1):91-103
  16. De Souza, G. and Norville, W. 2003. Environment Incident Report, Report of a Fish Kill at Point Lisas and Environs
  17. King, A. 1982. Safety manual: analytical laboratories
  18. King, A. 1983. Some chemical aspects of petroleum hydrocarbon fingerprinting
  19. Kumarsingh, K., Khan, A., Mohammed, A.  1991. Participant report on the Subtropical Atlantic Climate Studies cruise no.MB-91-04-STACS, June 18 to July 5th 1991. [Unpublished]
  20. Kumarsingh, K., Mohammed, A., Yeates, G. 1991. Participant report on the Subtropical Atlantic Climate study (STACS), Atlantic Climate Change Program (ACCP) Cruise Number MB-91-06 ACCP Sep 6-23 1991, Fortaleza, Brazil to Miami, Florida, 1 vol.
  21. Kumarsingh, K., Rajkumar, W., Persad, D.  Baseline heavy metal levels in shelf waters of northern Trinidad and Tobago using ion chromatography.  Caribbean Marine Studies 4: 76-77
  22. Kumarsingh, K., Hall, L., Siung-Chang, A.M.  Spatial and temporal variations of particulate and sediment organic matter on a shallow, tropical, estuarine bank off Trinidad, West Indies Caribbean Marine Studies 5:1-13
  23. Kumarsingh, K. Hall, L., Siung-Chang, A.M. , Stoute, V.A. 1998. Phosphorus in sediments of a shallow bank influenced by sewage and sugar factory effluents in Trinidad, West Indies Marine Pollution Bulletin 36(3)
  24. Kumarsingh, L., Siung-Chang, A.M., Laydoo, R., Chen, J. 1998. Historic records of phosphorus levels in the reef-building coral Montastrea annularis from Tobago, West Indies Marine Pollution Bulletin 36(12): 1012-1018
  25. Kumarsingh, L., Siung-Chang , Klekowski, E.J., Temple, S. A., 1999. An association of mangrove mutation, Scarlet Ibis, and mercury contamination in Trinidad, West Indies. Environmental Pollution 105 :185-189
  26. Mohammed, A., Heileman, L.I. 1991. Subsampling errors in active chlorophyll a determination in water samples. Marine Chemistry 33/ 4:353-370
  27. Mohammed, A., 2000. Investigations of contamination in the marine areas of Chaguaramas
  28. Mohammed, A., 2005. Investigation of heavy metals and butyltin in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. A Thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of masters of philosophy in chemistry of the University of the West Indies
  29. Nelson, W., Banjoo, D. 2011. Water and sediment quality in a tropical swamp used for agricultural and oil refining activities. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, 46/2:149-156
  30. Norville, W. 2001. Environmental Incident Report. Report of a Fish Kill at the St. James/ Maraval River
  31. Norville, W. 2005. Mercury sediments and biota from the Gulf of Paria, Trinidad and Tobago (A PowerPoint presentation)
  32. Norville, W. 2005. Spatial distribution of heavy metals in sediments from Gulf of Paria, Trinidad. Revista de Biologia Tropical, 53(Suppl. 1):33-40
  33. Norville, W. 2007. Assessment of Biota quality in the Gulf of Paria: Heavy metals component. Environmental monitoring of the Gulf of Paria
  34. Norville, W., Banjoo, D. 2003. Environment Incident Report, Report of a Fish Kill at the Caura River
  35. Norville, W., Banjoo, D. 2003. Environment Incident Report, Report of a Fish Kill at the Diego Martin River
  36. Norville, W., Banjoo, D. 2006. Preliminary assessment of the Ecological status of the Godineau Swamp, South Trinidad: water and sediment quality component
  37. Norville, Wendy,  Hubbard, R. 2006. Preliminary investigation of Heavy Metal contamination in selected marine fauna in coastal waters in Chaguaramas: - Investigation of contamination of the marine areas of Chaguaramas: Phase II-Marine fauna
  38. Persad, D., Khan, A., Siung-Chang, A. 1992. Fingerprinting of crude and refined petroleum produced and transported in the Wider Caribbean region
  39. Persad, D. 1992.A synoptic view of the levels of dissolved/dispersed petroleum hydrocarbons (DDPH) in waters of the south-eastern Caribbean. Caribbean Marine Studies, 3:52-56
  40. Persad, D., Rajkumar, W., 1994. Heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons in nearshore areas of Tobago, West Indies Marine  Pollution  Bulletin, 28(11):701-703
  41. Persad, D. 1992. A multi-parameter statistical pattern recognition technique used for fingerprinting of crude and refined petroleum
  42. Persad, D., Rajkumar, W. 1994. Baseline heavy metal levels in shelf waters of northern Trinidad and Tobago using ion chromatography Caribbean Marine Studies, 4:76-77
  43. Persad, D., Rajkumar, W. 1992. A synoptic view of the levels of dispersed/dissolved petroleum hydrocarbons (DDPH) and heavy metals in the south-eastern Caribbean sea. Caribbean Marine Studies, 3: 52-56
  44. Ragbirsingh, Y. and Norville, W. 2005. A Geographical Information System (GIS) Analysis for Trace Metals Assessment of Sediments in Gulf of Paria, Trinidad. Revista de Biologia Tropical, 53(Suppl. 1):195-206.
  45. Rajkumar, W.S., Mungal, R., Bahadoorsingh, V.  1992. Heavy metal concentration in sea water, sediment, and biota (Donax striata) along the east coast of Trinidad. Caribbean Marine Studies 3:26-32
  46. Rajkumar, W., Gerald, L., Siung-Chang, A. 1992. Rapid assessment of solid and liquid wastes from livestock production, municipal and domestic activities in Trinidad and Tobago. Journal of the Scientific Association of Trinidad & Tobago, pp.19-23
  47. Rajkumar, W. 1994. Heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons in nearshore areas of Tobago, West Indies Marine Pollution Bulletin, 28(11): 701-703
  48. Rajkumar, W.S. 1995. Rapid assessment of air pollution in Trinidad and Tobago
  49. Rajkumar, W. Kumarsingh, K., Persad, D. 1995. Baseline heavy metal levels in shelf waters of northern Trinidad and Tobago using ion chromatography Caribbean Marine Studies, v.4:76-77
  50. Rajkumar, W. et al. 1998. Planning and environmental management of heavily contaminated bays and coastal areas in the Wider Caribbean. Case study- Point Lisas, Trinidad and Tobago. Final report - UNEP/IPID Regional Project
  51. Rajkumar, W. 2005. National situation on mercury pollution in Trinidad and Tobago [ A PowerPoint presentation pp.112-114]
  52. Rajkumar, W.S. et al 2006.  Blood lead levels in primary school children in Trinidad and Tobago Science of the Total Environment, 361/1-3: 81-87
  53. Ramdhanie, N and Banjoo, D. 2007. Environment Incident Report, Report of a Fish Kill at lowlands Tobago
  54. Ramsundar, H. and Norville, W. 2006. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Fish Kill in the Southern Gulf of Paria
  55. Ramsundar, H. and Norville, W. 2001. Environment Incident Report, Report on the Investigation of a Fish Kill at Chatham Beach, Cedros

Partnerships

Facilities

  • Hydrocarbon Laboratory
  • Heavy Metals Laboratory
  • Microbiology Laboratory
  • Wet Chemistry Laboratory

Research Staff

Dr. Darryl Banjoo

Principal Research Officer – Chemistry (Hydrocarbons)– This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Christine Bullock

Senior Research Officer - Chemistry (Microbiology) – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wendy Nelson

Research Officer – Chemistry (Heavy Metals) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sheldon Ramoutar

Research Officer - Chemistry (Microbiology) - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it