Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

Brad E. Rosenheim, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Isabel C. Romero, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David F. Naar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Misael Díaz-Asencio, Ph.D.


Cuba, mass spectrometry, method development, pollutants, GC-MS/MS


A method for gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) in selected reaction monitoring (SRM) mode has been optimized to quantify 250 compounds of a variety of compound classes such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), oxidized PAHs, organochlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, biomarkers (hopanes, steranes, tri-aromatic steroids, and fecal sterols), aliphatic hydrocarbons, and plastic additives. This method was validated based on available QA/QC standards using several environmental samples, both sediment and biota, and standard reference materials. This contaminant-focused method can be used as a forensic geochemistry tool to evaluate oil contamination and other contaminant histories in future research studies. When applied to sediment cores, this method can be used to construct a history of contamination events ranging from oil spills to non-point sources such as agricultural runoff. The method was tested in offshore sediments from Cuba for a preliminary assessment of the contamination history in the area. The third chapter of this thesis outlines the steps taken thus far and presents preliminary data results for Cuba that can be added to in future studies. The optimization of the method was achieved by maximizing usage of time windows and the power of SRM mode on the GC-MS/MS. The application of this method to Cuban sediment cores reveals distinct changes in contamination inputs that are related to land-use changes over time.