Rebecca Sutton's picture

Rebecca  Sutton, PhD

Senior Scientist
Clean Water Program
Bay Regional Monitoring Program
510-746-7388

 Follow Rebecca on Twitter @beckysuttonphd

Dr. Rebecca Sutton joined SFEI-ASC in 2013 as a Senior Scientist for the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco (Bay RMP). Dr. Sutton leads the RMP's Emerging Contaminants Workgroup and a team of scientists investigating contaminants of emerging concern and microplastic in the San Francisco Bay and other regions of California. She also manages SFEI-ASC’s Green Chemistry focus area, providing information to inform policies designed to prevent pollution through reduced use of toxic chemicals. Dr. Sutton has been appointed to California’s Green Ribbon Science Panel to aid in the implementation of the state’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations.

Dr. Sutton received her B.S. in Environmental Resource Science from the University of California, Davis and her Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation explored molecular-scale interactions affecting contaminant fate and transport as well as soil carbon storage to mitigate climate change. Prior to joining SFEI-ASC, Dr. Sutton was a senior scientist with research and advocacy non-profit Environmental Working Group, where she conducted research on chemicals of concern in air, water, soil, consumer goods, and people.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Contaminant Data Download and Display (CD3) (Project)

Contaminant Data Display and Download Tool or CD3  is an innovative visualization tool for accessing water quality data for the San Francisco Bay-Delta and northern montane regions. It is the primary tool for accessing and downloading the San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program’s (RMP) long-term dataset and other project data stored in SFEI's Regional Data Center (RDC).

Photograph courtesy CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulation

Local coverage of RMP findings on flea control pesticide fipronil (News)

A report from ABC7's Dan Ashley on May 17, 2017 highlighted key findings from a recent RMP study on the pesticide fipronil. The study identified spot-on flea control products as likely to be an important source of this contaminant to the Bay.

Image from KQED

Hunting for Plastic in California’s Protected Ocean Waters (News)

Rebecca Sutton, Meg Sedlack, and Diana Lin of SFEI, in partnership with Carolynn Box of 5 Gyres, conducted ocean water sampling associated with an ambitious project. The project is focused on determining the characteristics and fate of microplastics in the Bay and adjacent ocean waters.

KQED reporter Lindsey Hoshaw published a story covering the team's activities along the California coast. After determinng that the SF Bay has greater than expected microplastic pollution, the science team, as reported by Hoshaw's story, is conducting further ground-breaking research: 

 

Coastal Cleanup Day Information in East Bay Express (News)

Just in time for California Coastal Cleanup Day, an insert in today’s East Bay Express provides readers with ways to help protect San Francisco Bay. The East Bay Municipal Utility District invites Bay residents to volunteer for creek and Bay cleanups on Saturday, and take everyday steps for the health of the environment, like fixing leaky pipes and flushing only the 3 P’s – not wipes or medications.

RMP Annual Meeting 2016 (Event)

The RMP Annual Meeting is held every year in the early fall. The meeting is an opportunity for RMP stakeholders to discuss current RMP projects and highlight interesting new research. 

New Microplastic Pollution Study to Launch in San Francisco Bay and Adjacent Ocean Waters (News)

A two-year investigation on microplastic and nanoplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay and the surrounding ocean will launch this month, led by two research centers, the San Francisco Estuary Institute and the 5 Gyres Institute.

RMP Keys to Success Highlighted in Two Manuscripts (News)

RMP Keys to Success Highlighted in Two Manuscripts

Microplastic Pollution (Project)

The RMP has conducted initial studies of microplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay. Findings from a screening-level RMP study of microplastic pollution in our Bay show widespread contamination at levels greater than other U.S. water bodies with high levels of urban development, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Wildlife consume microplastic particles; ingestion can lead to physical harm, and can expose aquatic organisms to pollutants like PCBs that the plastics have absorbed from the surrounding environment.

Microplastic Pollution in San Francisco Bay and Adjacent Marine Sanctuaries (Project)

Plastic pollution is gaining global recognition as a threat to the resilience and productivity of ocean ecosystems. However, we are only just beginning to understand the scope and impacts of microplastic particles (less than 5 mm) on coastal and ocean resources, including fish, and the Bay Area is no exception.

Photograph courtesy CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulation

The Dirt on Flea Control: New RMP Study featured in Estuary News (News)

It’s hard to go to the big box pet store and not stumble over the flea control displays. Most pet owners have dabbed or squirted Frontline or Advantage between their cat’s shoulder bones or onto the back of their dog’s neck, but who would guess this same chemical would make its way off our pet’s fur, down the drain, through wastewater treatment, and into the Bay? For more on this new RMP study, read the full story by Ariel Rubissow Okamoto in Estuary News.