Christoph Aeppli, PhD

Senior Research Scientist
Marine Chemist
Phone: +1 (207) 315-2567, ext. 317
Fax: +1 (207) 315-2329

For media inquiries, please contact


M.S. (Diploma) in Chemistry. University Berne/Switzerland (2002)

Ph.D. (Dr.Sc. ETH Zurich); Environmental Chemistry. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich/Switzerland (2008)

Research Interests

I am an Environmental Chemist and interested to understand microbial and abiotic processes that determine the Fate of Organic Compounds in Coastal and Open Ocean Environments. Specifically, I focus on two areas:

(1) Fate of Oil in the Environment. Oil consists of thousands of compounds with a large range of physical properties, biodegradability, and toxicity. I study how abiotic and microbial processes change the composition of oil in the environment. Thereby I focus on oil spills (2010 Deepwater Horizon, 1989 Exxon Valdez) as well as on natural oil seeps

(2) Industrial and Naturally Produced Halogenated Compounds. Many chlorinated and brominated compounds are high-volume industrial compounds, such as solvents, pesticides, and flame retardants. In recent decades, it has been realized that micro- and macro-algae as well as fungi can also produce similar compounds in large quantities. I study the formation and microbial degradation of industrial and natural halogenated compounds.

To address my research questions, I use comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography(GCxGC) as well as compound-specific Stable Isotopes (carbon and halogen).

Select Publications

See my profile on Google Scholar, ORCID or Scopus (links below) or my CV for a complete list of publications.

Oil spill research:

  • Bagby S. C., Reddy C. M., Aeppli C., Fisher, G. B., Valentine, D. L. (2017) Persistence and biodegradation of oil at the ocean floor following Deepwater Horizon, PNAS 114 (1), E9-E18
  • Aeppli C., Nelson R. K., Radovic J. R., Carmichael C. A., Valentine D. L., Reddy C. M. (2014). Recalcitrance and degradation of petroleum biomarkers upon abiotic and biotic natural weathering of Deepwater Horizon oil. Environ. Sci. Technol, (48) 6726–6734
  • Gros J., Reddy C. M., Aeppli C., Nelson R. K., Carmichael C. A., Arey J. S. (2014) Resolving Biodegradation Patterns of Persistent Saturated Hydrocarbons in Weathered Oil Samples from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. Environ. Sci. Technol.,(48) 1628-1637
  • Aeppli C., Reddy C. M., Nelson R. K., Kellermann Y. M., and Valentine D. L. (2013) Recurrence of oil sheens from the Deepwater Horizon disaster site as fingerprinted by synthetic hydrocarbon drilling fluids. Environ. Sci. Technol. (47) 8211–8219
  • Aeppli C., Carmichael C. A., Nelson R. K., Lemkau K. L., Graham W. M., Redmond M. C., Valentine D. L., and Reddy C. M. (2012) Oil weathering after the Deepwater Horizon disaster led to the formation of oxygenated residues. Environ. Sci. Technol. (46) 8799-8807

Formation and degradation of halogenated compounds:

  • Aeppli C., Bastviken D., Andersson P., Gustafsson Ö. (2013) Chlorine isotope effects and composition of naturally produced organochlorines from chloroperoxidases, flavin-dependent halogenases, and in forest soil. Environ. Sci. Technol. (47) 6864–6871
  • Aeppli C., Holmstrand H., Andersson P., Gustafsson Ö. (2010) Direct compound-specific stable chlorine isotope analysis of organic compounds with quadrupole GC/MS using standard isotope bracketing. Anal. Chem. (82) 420–426
  • Aeppli C., Hofstetter T. B., Amaral H. I. F., Kipfer R., Schwarzenbach R. P., Berg M. (2010) Quantifying in situ transformation rates of chlorinated ethenes by combining compound-specific stable isotope analysis, groundwater dating, and carbon isotope mass balances. Environ. Sci. Technol. (44) 3705-3711

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