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Kirstie Scott

Kirstie Scott

Research synopsis: Applications of diatom analysis in forensic geoscience: developing a new technique for the comparative assessment of trace environmental evidence.

Contact: 35 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ or email

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Examining diatom traces to determine their potential for use as evidence in forensic investigation.

Current research: This involves examination of the evidential dynamics of diatom traces in a range of environmental contexts to determine their potential for use as evidence in forensic investigation. Diatoms are widely used as indicators for drowning in forensic pathology, however this research will aim to establish diatom analysis as an ecological technique within forensic geoscience. Since diatoms are highly variable due to a range of environmental tolerances, the presence of individual species within an overall assemblage at a given site will provide important circumstantial information for use as trace evidence. A range of experiments examining the transfer and persistence of diatom particulates will contribute important empirical data to direct recommendations for the collection and analysis of evidential material at the scene of a crime.

Wider research: Aquatic and underwater crime scenes, forensic microscopy, crime scene investigation, visual assessment of environmental particulates (algae, pollen, spores), and developments within the field of forensic science.

List of publications
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2015). A reply to: The transferability of diatoms to clothing and the methods appropriate for their collection and analysis in forensic geoscience. A response. Forensic Science International, 247, pp.e26-e27

K.R. Scott, R.M. Morgan, V.J. Jones, N.G. Cameron (2014). The transferability of diatoms to clothing and the methods appropriate for their collection and analysis in forensic geoscience. Forensic Science International, 241, pp. 127-137

doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.05.011

Oral presentations
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2015). The transfer and persistence of diatom particulates on clothing: forensic implications for the analysis of aquatic trace evidence. 7th European Academy of Forensic Sciences conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 6th-11th September.
Scott, K.R., Palenik, C.S., Palenik, S., Morgan, R.M., & Jones, V.J. (2015). Developing the techniques available for the collection and analysis of trace evidence from freshwater crime scene environments. National Institute of Justice Impression Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 25th-27th August.
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2015). The use of optical techniques for the analysis of diatom traces in forensic investigation. Inter/Micro conference, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 8th-12th June.
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2014). The forensic implications of diatom seasonality: directing new techniques for the ecological assessment of trace evidence in forensic geoscience. Proceedings of the‘ Forensic Geoscience: Future Horizons’ Meeting, The Geological Society, London, UK, 3rd December.
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2014). Forensic applications of diatom analysis: a ‘new’ technique for the assessment of environmental trace evidence. UK Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences annual Autumn conference: The changing face and pace of trace evidence, Leicester, UK, 7th-8th November.
Scott, K.R., Jones, V.J., Morgan, R.M.,  & Cameron, N.G. (2014). Forensic implications of diatom seasonality: the transfer and persistence of diatom particulates on clothing. The British Diatom Meeting, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, UK, 24th-26th October.
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2014). The application of diatom analysis in forensic geoscience: developing new techniques for the comparative assessment of trace evidence. 22nd International Symposium of the Australia and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, Adelaide, Australia, 31st-4th August (keynote presentation).
Scott, K.R. (2014). The use of trace diatom analysis in forensic geoscience: development of an independent technique for criminal investigation. UCL Environmental Change Research Centre Physical Geography seminar series, 6th February (Invited lecture).
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2013). Diatoms in forensic geoscience: an investigation into the transfer dynamics and collection techniques of aquatic and terrestrial diatom assemblages from evidential clothing samples. British Diatom Meeting, Lake District, UK, 25th-27th October.
Poster presentations
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Dudley, A., Jones, V.J., Cameron, N.G., & Bull, P.A. (2014). Experimental considerations of the transfer and persistence of diatoms to clothing. 22nd International Symposium of the Australia and New Zealand Forensic Science Society, Adelaide, Australia, 31st-4th August.
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2014). Considering the transferability and collection of diatom traces for the assessment of environmental forensic evidence. 8th International Crime Science Conference, London, UK, 16th July.
Scott, K.R., Morgan, R.M., Jones, V.J., & Cameron, N.G. (2013). An investigation into the transferability and collection of diatom trace evidence: implications for the development of an independent geoforensic analytical technique. Crime Time: Advances in Temporal Forensic Investigations, Huddersfield, UK, 4th-5th November.
Prizes won and other achievements
Awarded the ‘John Carter’ prize for best postgraduate oral presentation at the British Diatom Meeting (October, 2014).
Shortlisted for best poster in the ‘Botany, Entomology, and Wildlife Forensics’ session at the 22nd International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society (ANZFSS) (September, 2014).