- B525, Portland Square, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA
Dr Sean Comber
Associate Professor (Reader) in Environmental Chemistry
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)
Academic involved with teaching, research and consultancy. Managing the Environmental Consultancy MSc Programme. Module Leader for ENVS103 - Environmental Management and Sustainability and ENVS308 - Waste Management
BSc (hons) Marine Chemistry, University College North Wales, Bangor (1983 - 1986)
PhD Chemistry, Southampton University (1986 - 1989)
Society of Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry
Roles on external bodies
Assitant Editor of Chemical Speciation and Bioavailability
Environmental Management and Sustainability (Stage 1)
Environmental Legislation (Water Framework Directive) (Stage 2)
Waste Management (Stage 3)
Environmental Management Audit Systems (MSc)
Quality Assurrance/Quality Control (MSc)
Source apportionment of chemicals in the environment
Metal speciation and toxicity
Fate and behaviour of chemicals in the environment
Waste water treatment
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
Lau Ry Crocker (Director of Studies) - Phosphorus biogeochemistry in the drains and ditches of the Somerset Levels
Rupert Goddard (Director of Studies) - Impacts on the chemistry and ecology of a dairy discharging to the River Inny
Lauren Dawson (Director of Studies) – Impacts on water chemistry and ecology of carbonate dosing of West Dart river.
· Katherine Lees (Director of Studies) – Fate of pharmaceuticals derivedfrom wastewater reuse in soil, funded by Astra Zeneca.
· Holly Pearson (Director of Studies) – PhD: Zinc and copper speciationin estuaries and the influence of dissolved organic carbon sources onbioavailability and toxicity.
· David Megson – PhD (PCB isotope ratios in blood serum as a method forsource tracking of human exposure) – completed December 2014.
Carlos Constantino – EngD (Metal speciation and toxicity inwastewaters) Brunel University Institute for the Environment (2009-2012),Thesis submitted, Awarded March 2012.
WRc (1989 – 2005)
· Dr Ruth Arnold (copper speciation and toxicity to earth worms).University of Reading, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, 2007.
· Dr Sarah-Jane Hope (Influence of tea drinking on manganese intake,manganese status and leucocyte expression of MnSOD and cytosolic aminopeptidase) Imperial College, 2006.
· Dr Eleanor Van Veen (Development of Speciation Based EnvironmentalQuality Standards) with Imperial College, PhD in Environmental Science andTechnology, 2003.
· Dr Anne Conrad (Exposure of the oligochaete Lumriculis variegatus tosediment-associated contaminants : influence of contaminant properties). TheUniversity of Reading School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, 2000.
Grants & contracts
Atkins/Environment Agency (2012) - Review of phosphorus recovery and recycling options for the water industry
Atkins/UKWIR (2012) - Review of the fate and behaviour and catchment modelling of trace organic chemicals of high concern in sewage effluent
Atkins/UKWIR (2012) - Method development of export coefficient database for diffuse minewater inputs of metals to surface waters.
Atkins/UKWIR (2012) - Method development for national source apportionment model for estuaries, specifically fluxes of metals and nutrients from UK estuaries to coastal waters, for WFD planning.
1. 1. Comber S., Gardner M., Sorme P., Leverett D.and Ellor B. (2017) Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
Entering the Aquatic Environment From Wastewater Treatment Works: A Cause for Concern?
Accepted by Science of the Total Environment.
2. McManus R., Archibald N., Firth L., ComberS., Thompson R. Knights A. (2017) Cement replacements in concrete coastal and marine infrastructure: a foundation for ecological enhancement
accepted by Ecological Engineering June 2017.
3. Rees, A., Gallagher A., Comber S and Wright L. (2017) Zinc sacrificial anodes, theories behind varying
dissolution rates with particular reference to the Hamble estuary, UK. Accepted byEnvironmental
Science and Pollution Research.
4. Pearson H., Comber S., Braungardt C., Worsfold P., (2017) Predictingcopper speciation and potential bioavailability in estuarine waters – Isdissolved organic carbon a good proxy for the presence of organic ligands? Submittedto Environmental Science and Technology
5. Constantino C., Comber S. and Scrimshaw M. (2016) Variability in thecopper and zinc complexation characteristics of effluent from different sewagetreatment works. Accepted by Environmental Science and Pollution Research.
6. Lees K., Fitzsimons M., Tappin A., Snape J. and Comber S. (2016)Pharmaceuticals in soils of lower income countries: physico-chemical fate andrisks from wastewater irrigation. Environment International.94, 712-723.
7. Rowett C., Comber S. and Hutchinson T. (2016) The impact of natural andanthropogenic Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), and pH on the toxicity oftriclosan to the crustacean Gammarus pulex (L.). Science of the TotalEnvironment, 565, 222-231, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.04.170.
8. Beane S., Comber S., Rieuwerts J. and Long P. (2016) Abandoned metalmines and their impact on receiving waters: A case study from Southwest England.Chemosphere.153, 294-306, doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.03.022.
9. Pearson H., Comber S., Braungardt C., Worsfold P., Galceran J., CompanysE. and Puy J. (2016) Absence of Gradients and Nernstian Equilibrium Stripping(AGNES) for the determination of [Zn2+] in estuarine waters. AnalyticalChimica Acta. 912, 32-40, doi:10.1016/j.aca.2016.01.035.
10. Tappin A., Comber S. and Worsfold P. (2016) Spatial and temporalanalysis of river orthophosphate-P in the impacted rural Taw catchment (SWEngland) between 1990 and 2013. Environmental Science: Processes andimpacts. 18, 690-705, DOI: 10.1039/c6em00213g.
11. Hallett K., Atfield A., Comber S. and Hutchinson T. (2015) Developmentaltoxicity of metaldehyde in the embryos of Lymnaea stagnalis (Gastropoda:Pulmonata) co-exposed to the synergist piperonyl butoxide. Science of theTotal Environment. 543, 37-43, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.11.040.
12. Comber S., Garner M., Darmovzalova J and Ellor B. (2015) Determinationof the forms and stability of phosphorus in wastewater effluent from a varietyof treatment processes. Journal ofEnvironmental Chemical Engineering. 3, 4, 2924-2930. doi:10.1016/j.jece.2015.10.002.
- Megson D., Focant JF., Patterson DG., Robson M., Lohan M., Worsfold PJ., Comber S., Kalin R., Reiner E., O’Sullivan G (2015) Can polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) signatures and enantiomer fractions be used for source identification and to age date occupational exposure? Environment International, 81, 56-63
- Constantino C., Gardner M., Comber S., Scrimshaw M. and Ellor E. (2015) The impact of tertiary wastewater treatment on metal speciation. Environmental Technology, 36, 22, 2863-2871. doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2015.1050072.
- Burns E., Comber S., Blake W., Goddard R. and Couldrick L. (2015) Determining riverine sediment storage mechanisms of biologically reactive phosphorus in situ using DGT. Environmental Science and Pollution Research,22, 13, 9816-9828. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-015-4109-3.
- Turner A., Comber S., Rees A., Gkioskas D. and Solman K. (2015) Metals in boat paint fragments from slipways, repair facilities and abandoned vessels: An evaluation using field portable XRF. Talanta, 131, 372-378. DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2014.08.012.
- Whitehead P.W., Futter M.N., Comber S., Butterfield D., Pope L., Willows R. and Burgess C. (2015) Modelling seasonal wastewater treatment plants effluent quality and biosolid substitution for phosphorus management in UK river systems. Journal of Hydraulics Research,46(3), 313-324. doi:10.216/nh.2014.100.
- Heffley J., Comber S., Wheeler B. and Redshaw C. (2014) Developing a modelling approach to predict pharmaceutical discharges from UK sewage treatment works using steroid estrogens as a case study. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts.16, 2571-2580.
- Rees A., Turner A. and Comber S. (2014) Metal contamination of sediment by paint peeling from abandoned boats, with particular reference to lead. Science of the Total Environment, 494-495, 313-319.
- Comber S., Gardner M., Jones, V. and Ellor B. (2014) Source Apportionment of Trace Contaminants in Urban Sewer Catchments. Environmental Technology, 36(5), 573-587.
- Megson D., Brown T., Johnson G., O’Sullivan G., Bicknell A., Votier S., Lohan M., Comber S., Kalin R. and Worsfold P. (2014) Identifying the provenance of Leach’s storm petrels in the North Atlantic using polychlorinated biphenyl signatures derived from comprehensive
two-dimensional gaschromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Chemosphere, 114, 195-202.
- Megson D., O’Sullivan G., Worsfold P., Comber S. and Lohan M.C. (2013) Techniques to age date human exposure to PCBs. Environmental Forensics, Proceedings of the 2013 INEF Conference. RSC Publishing.
- Whitehead P., Jin L., Crossman J., Comber S., Daldorph P., Barden R., Cox B., Butterfield D., Wade A., Flynn N., Pope L., Willows R. and Collins A. (2014) Distributed and dynamic modelling of hydrology, phosphorus and ecology in the Hampshire Avon and Blashford lakes: evaluating alternative strategies to meet Water Framework Directive standards. Science of the Total Environment, 481, 157-166.
- Megson D., Kalin R., Worsfold P., Gauchotte-Lindsay C., Patterson Jr D.G., Lohan M.C., Comber S. and O’Sullivan G. (2013) Fingerprinting PCBs in environmental samples using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography, 1318, 276-283.
- Comber S., Smith R., Daldorph P., Gardner M., Constantino C. and Ellor B. (2013) Development of a chemical source apportionment decision support framework for catchment management. Environmental Science and Technology, 47 (17), 9824-9832.
- Megson D., O’Sullivan G., Comber S., Worsfold P., Lohan M., Edwards M.R., Shields W.J., Sandau C. and Patterson, Jr. D.G. (2013) Elucidating the structural properties that influence the persistence of PCBs in humans using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) dataset. Science of the Total Environment, 461-462, 99-107. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969713005160.
- Gardner M., Jones, V., Comber S., Scrimshaw M., Coello-Garcia, T., Cartmell E., Lester J. and Ellor B. (2013) Performance of UK wastewater treatment works with respect to trace contaminants. Science of the Total Environment, 456-457, 359-369.
- Whitehead P.G., Crossman J., Balana, B. Futter M., Comber, S.D.W., Jin L., Skuras D., Wade A.J. and Bowes M.J. (2013) Water Security, Water Quality and Aquatic Ecology - A Cost Effectiveness Analysis of Mitigation Measures : Impacts of Climate and Land Use Change on the River Thames System. Accepted by Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, special issue. September 2013.
- Comber S., Gardner M., Georges K., Blackwood D. and Gilmour D. (2013) Domestic source of phosphorus to sewage treatment works. Environmental Technology, 34 (9-12), 1349-58.
- Gardner M., Comber S., Scrimshaw M., Cartmell E., Lester J. and Ellor B. (2012) The significance of hazardous chemicals in wastewater treatment works effluents. Science of the Total Environment, 437, 363-372.
- Gardner M., Comber S., Leverett D. and Gravell A. (2012) Sample Stability of Trace Priority Substances in Wastewater. Analytical Letters, 45, 12, 1686-1694.
- Falconer R.E., Isaacs J., Gilmour D., Blackwood D., Comber S. and Whitehead P (2011) A Visual Decision Support Tool (PHiZ) to Compare Sustainability of Phosphorus Management Strategies. Submitted to Journal of Decision Support Systems.
- Turner T., Cartmell E., Lester J., Casse F., Comber S. and Scrimshaw M. (2011) The pharmaceutical use of permethrin: sources and behaviour during municipal sewage. Arch. Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 61, 193-201.
- Hutchins, M.G., Johnson, A.C., Deflandre-Vlandas, A., Comber, S., Posen, P. and Boorman D. (2011) Which offers more scope to suppress river phytoplankton blooms: Reducing nutrient pollution or riparian shading? Science of The Total Environment, Volume 408, Issue 21, 5065-5077.
- Isaacs J., Falconer R.E., Gilmour D., Blackwood D., Comber S. and Whitehead P (2011) Enhancement of Water Treatment Sustainability through Dynamic Visualisation & Modelling. 12th International Conference on Urban Drainage, Porto Alegre/Brazil, 11-16 September 2011, 1-8.
- Constantino C., Scrimshaw M., Comber S. and Churchley J. (2011) An evaluation of biotic ligand models predicting acute copper toxicity to daphnia magna in wastewater effluent. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 30, 4, 852-860.
- Comber, S.D.W., Gardner, M.J. and A.J. Thornton. Chemical Solutions, Water and Wastewater Treatment, (2009) 52 (10) 30-31.
- Comber,S.D.W., Casse F., Brown B., Hillis P. Martin J. and Gardner M.J. (2011) Phosphate treatment to reduce plumbosolvency of drinking water also reduces discharges of copper to environmental surface waters. Water and Environment Journal, 25, 266-270.
- Gilmour, D, Blackwood, D., Comber, S. and Thorrell, A. (2008) Identifying human waste contribution of phosphorus loads to domestic wastewater. 11th International Conference on Urban Drainage, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 1-10.
- Comber S.D.W, Merrington G., Sturdy L., Delbeke K. and van Assche F. (2008) Copper and zinc water quality standards under the EU Water Framework Directive: The use of a tiered approach to estimate levels of failure. The Science of the Total Environment, 403, 12-22.
- Arnold R., Hodson M. and Comber S (2007) Does speciation impact on Cu uptake by, and toxicity to, the earthworm Eisenia fetida? European Journal of Soil Biology, Volume 43, Supplement 1, November 2007, Pages S230-S232.
- Arnold R., Hodson M. and Comber S (2007) Effect of organic complexation on the toxicity of copper to the earthworm Eisenia fetida. Applied Geochemistry, 22, 2397-2405.
- Comber S., Rule K. Conrad A., Hoss S., Webb S. and Marshall S. (2007) Bioaccumulation and toxicity of a cationic surfactant (DODMAC) in sediment-dwelling freshwater invertebrates. Environmental Pollution, 153, 184-191.
- Rule K., Comber S., Ross D., Thornton A., Makropoulos C. and Ratui R. (2006) Survey of priority substances entering thirty English wastewater treatment works. Water and Environment Journal, 20, 3, 177-184.
- Hope S. Daniel K., Gleason K.L., Comber S., Nelson M. and Powell J. (2006) Influence of tea drinking on manganese intake, manganese status and leucocyte expression of MnSOD and cytosolic aminopeptidase P. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60, 1-8.
- Comber S., Hoss S., Conrad A., Webb S. and Marshall S. (2006) Chronic toxicity of sediment-associated linear alkylbenzene sulphonates (LAS) to freshwater organisms. Environmental Pollution,134, 535-548.
- Rule K., Comber S., Ross D., Thornton A., Makropoulos C. and Ratui R. (2006) Sources of priority substances entering an urban wastewater catchment – trace organic chemicals. Chemosphere, 63, 581-591.
- Rule K., Comber S., Ross D., Thornton A., Makropoulos C. and Ratui R. (2006) Sources of priority substances entering an urban wastewater catchment – trace metals. Chemosphere, 63, 64-72.
- Comber S., Gardner M. and Churchley J. (2006) Aluminium speciation: implications of wastewater effluent dosing on river water quality. Chemical Speciation & Bioavailability, 17(3), 117-129.
- Weeks J and Comber S. (2005) Ecological risk assessment of contaminated soil. Minerological Magazine, 69(5), 601-613.
- Crane M, Whitehouse P, Comber S., Ellis J and Wilby R. (2005) Climate change influences on human health chemical standards. Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. 9-26.
- Gardner M and Comber S (2003) Aluminium speciation in effluents and receiving waters. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 5, 6, 902-905.
- Comber S.D.W. and Gardner M.J. (2003) Chromium redox speciation in natural waters. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 5, 3, 410-413.
- Gardner M.J. and Comber S. (2003) Can DOC or colour be used to predict copper complexation capacity in waters and effluents? Chemical Speciation and Bioavailability, 15, 1, 1-5.
- Painter H.A., Reynolds P. and Comber S.D.W. (2003) Application of the headspace CO2 method (ISO 14593) to the assessment of the ultimate biodegradability of surfactants: Results of a calibration exercise. Chemosphere, 50, 29-38.
- Crane M., Whitehouse P., Comber S.D.W., Watts C., Giddings J, Moore D., Grist E. (2003). Aquatic ecotoxicological risk from application of chlorpyriphos to top fruit in the UK. Pesticide Management Science, 59, 5, 512-526.
57. Conrad A.U.A., Comber S.D.W. and Simkiss K.(2002) The effect of sediment ageing on the bioavailability of organicchemicals to sediment dwelling organisms. Chemosphere,49, 447-454.
58. Van VeenE.M., Burton N., Gardner M.J. and Comber S.D.W. (2002) Speciation of Copper inSewage Effluents and its Toxicity to DaphniaMagna. Environmental Toxicology andChemistry, 21(2) 275-280.
- Comber S.D.W., Gardner M.J., and Boxall A.B.A. (2002) Survey of four marine antifoulants (copper, zinc, diuron and Irgarol 1051) in two UK estuaries. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 4, 1-10.
- Gardner M.J. and Comber S.D.W. (2002) Determination of trace concentrations of hexavalent chromium. The Analyst, 227, 153-156.
- Dixon E.M., Comber S.D.W., and Gardner M.J. (2002) Interlaboratory comparability of copper complexation capacity determination in natural waters. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 4, 116-120.
- Comber S.D.W., Franklin G., Gardner M.J., Watts C.D., Boxall A.B.A. and Howcroft J. (2002) Partitioning of marine antifoulants in the aquatic environment. The Science of the Total Environment, 286, 61-71.
- Van Veen E., Gardner M.J. and Comber S.D.W. (2001) Temporal variation of copper and zinc complexation capacity in the Humber Estuary. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 4, 116-120.
- Conrad A.U.A, Comber, S. and Simkiss K. (2000) New method for the assessment of contaminant uptake routes in the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 65, 1, 16-21.
- Boxall A.B.A, Comber S.D.W., Conrad A.U.A, Howcroft J. and Zaman N. (2000) Inputs, monitoring and fate modelling of antifouling biocides in UK estuaries. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 40, 11, 898-905.
- Franklin, G S, Comber, S, Watts, C D, Munro D, Boxall, A B A, Mackay, D, and Patrick, N, (2000) Environmental Modelling Of Antifoulants, ENSUS 2000, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 4-6 September 2000.
- Dixon E.M., Gardner M.J., and Comber S.D.W. (2000) Copper speciation in UK rivers. Chemical Speciation and Bioavailability, 12, 1, 1-7.
- Rogers H.R., Gardner M.G. and Comber S.D.W. (2000) Solid phase extraction techniques for drinking water abstraction monitoring and investigation of pollution incidents. Journal of Water Supply: Research & Technology – AQUA, 49.2, 103-109.
- Comber S.D.W and Gardner M.G. (2000) A field method for the determination of copper in estuarine waters. International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, 77 (3), 177-183.
- Comber S.D.W and Gardner M.G. (1999) An assessment of trends in European Environmental data for mercury and chlorinated organic compounds in water and biota. Science of the Total Environment, 243/244, 193-201.
- Comber S.D.W., Whitehead P., Gardner M.J. & Evans D. (1999) Development of a liming prediction model for Llyn Brianne. J. IWEM., 13, 4, 275-279.
- Comber S.D.W and Gardner M.G. (1999) Rapid determination of zinc in natural waters. International Journal of Analytical Environmental Chemistry, 73(2), 145-151.
- Comber S.D.W. (1999) The abiotic persistence of atrazine and simazine in water. Pesticide Science, 55, 696-702.
- Rogers H.R. and Comber S.D.W. (1998) Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (SPME) fibre performance in turbid aqueous samples. Chemosphere, 37, 8 1413-1418.
- Gardner M.J. and Comber S.D.W. (1997) Sample filtration as a source of error in the determination of trace metals in marine waters, Analyst, 122, 1029-1032.
- Comber S.D.W. and Watts C D. (1996) Analytical performance testing of an atrazine immunoassay system. Analyst, 121, 1485-1488.
- Comber S.D.W., Gardner M.J., Gunn A.M. & Whalley C. (1996) Kinetics of trace metal sorption to estuarine suspended particulate matter. Chemosphere, 33, 6, 1027-1040.
- Comber S.D.W., Dobbs A.J. and Lewis S. (1996) Guideline values for sediments contaminated with dioxins and furans. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 35, 102-108.
- Comber S.D.W., Gardner M.J. & Gunn A.M. (1996) Measurement of absorbance and fluorescence as potential alternatives to BOD. Environmental Technology, 17, 771-776.
- Comber S.D.W. and Gunn A.M. (1996) Heavy metals entering sewage treatment works from domestic sources. Journal of the Institute of Water and Environmental Management, 10, 137-143.
- Bird P., Comber S.D.W., Gardner M.J. & Ravenscroft J. (1996) Zinc inputs to coastal waters from sacrificial anodes. Science of the Total Environment, 181, 257-264.
- Millward G.E., Kitts H.J., Comber S.D.W., Ebdon L. & Howard A.G. (1996) Methylated arsenic in the southern North Sea. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 43, 1-18.
- Comber S D W, Gunn A M and Whalley C (1995) Comparison of the partitioning of trace metals in the Humber and Mersey estuaries. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 30, 12, 851-860.
- Comber S.D.W. and Gunn A.M. (1995) The release of trace metals from sewage sludge dispersed at sea. Environmental Technology, 16, 419-432.
- Howard A.G., Comber S.D.W., Kifle D., Antai E.E. & Purdie D.A. (1995) Arsenic speciation and seasonal changes in nutrient availability and micro-plankton abundance in Southampton Water, UK. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 40, 435-450.
86. Comber S.D.W. (1993) Determination ofdissolved copper, nickel and cadmium in natural waters by high performanceliquid chromatography. Analyst, 118,505-509.
87. Comber S.D.W. (1992) The development of ion chromatography for metalsanalysis in saline waters. Journal of theInstitute of Water and Environmental Management, 5, 158-162.
88. Apte S.C., Comber S.D.W., Gardner M.J. &Gunn A.M. (1991) Direct determination of chromium in estuarine and coastalwaters by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 6, 169-172.
89. Howard A.G. and Comber S.D.W. (1992)Hydride-trapping techniques for the speciation of arsenic. Mikrochimica Acta, 109, 27-33.
90. Comber S.D.W. (1989) Arsenicspeciation by hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry and itsapplication to study the biological cycling in coastal waters. Analytical Proceedings, 26, 20-22.
91. Howard A.G. and Comber S.D.W. (1989)The discovery of hidden arsenic species in coastal waters. Applied Organometallic Chemistry, 3, 509-514.
92. Howard A.G., Apte S.C., Comber S.D.W.,& Morris A. (1988) Biogeochemical control of the summer distribution andspeciation of arsenic in the Tamar Estuary.Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science, 27, 427-443.
Married with two boys at University. Keen motorcycle trail rider, camper, photographer, fisherman, walker and surfer of very limited ability... actually that also applies to the other past times listed as well.