K9 Water Searches: Scent and Scent Transport Considerations
Article first published online: 11 APR 2011
© 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Volume 56, Issue 4, pages 907–912, July 2011
How to Cite
Osterkamp, T. (2011), K9 Water Searches: Scent and Scent Transport Considerations. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 56: 907–912. doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01773.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 11 APR 2011
- Received 16 April 2010; and in revised form 17 July 2010; accepted 31 July 2010.
- forensic science;
- canine scent detection;
- canine water search;
- underwater decomposition;
- water searches
Abstract: Increased use of water search dogs for detecting submerged bodies has created the need for a better understanding of scent emanating from the bodies and how it transits the water to the dog’s nose. A review of recent literature identifies likely scent sources, potential scent transport processes, and research needs. Scent sources include gases in bubbles or dissolved in the water, liquids as buoyant plumes and droplets or dissolved in the water, and solids consisting of buoyant particulates with secretions, bacteria, and body fluids. Potential transport processes through the water include buoyancy, entrainment, and turbulence. Transport processes from the water surface into the air include volatilization and evaporation enhanced by bubble bursting, breaking waves, splashing, and wind spray. Implications for the use of water search dogs are examined. Observations of submerged, decomposing bodies are needed to quantify the physical and chemical characteristics of the scent and scent transport processes.