Photo: David CarterDavid O. Carter, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Director & Associate Professor, Forensic Sciences
Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Phone: (808) 739-8352


FS 487 Internship, FS625/L Trace Evidence, FS 790 Graduate Seminar, FS 799 Directed Studies


Dr. David O. Carter, Associate Professor of Forensic Science and Director of the Chaminade University Forensic Sciences Program, earned his B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Idaho in 1999. He earned his M.Sc. in Forensic Archaeology from Bournemouth University in 2001 and his Ph.D. from James Cook University in 2005. Dr. Carter was Assistant Professor and Associate Professor of Forensic Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 2006 until 2012. Dr. Carter has been interested in death investigation since 1999 and has been attending crime scenes since 2000. Since that time he has consulted with several investigative agencies around the world.

Current projects in the Laboratory of Forensic Taphonomy focus on the microbial communities associated with corpse decomposition and the estimation of postmortem interval. Dr. Carter is interested in the process of decomposition along with the structure and function of the postmortem human microbiome. Research indicates that several Gammaproteobacteria, Bacilli, and Clostridia are important players in corpse decomposition and Dr. Carter’s Laboratory of Forensic Taphonomy is investigating their efficacy for estimating postmortem interval. Dr. Carter has been awarded several research grants and served as grant reviewer for the National Institute of Justice, the National Science Foundation, and a number of private endowments.

Academic Degrees

Ph.D., James Cook University
M.S., Bournemouth University
B.S., University of Idaho

Selected Publications

Damann F.E., Tanittaisong A., Carter D.O. (2012) Carcass enrichment of the University of Tennessee Anthropology Research Facility: a reapplication of the saturation hypothesis. Forensic Science International 222, 4-10.

Lowis T., Leslie K., Barksdale L.E., Carter D.O. (2012) Determining the sensitivity and reliability of Hemascein. Journal of Forensic Identification 62, 204-214.

Fujikawa A., Barksdale L., Higley L.G., Carter D.O. (2011) Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae) and their ability to alter the morphology and presumptive chemistry of bloodstain patterns. Journal of Forensic Sciences 56, 1315-1318.

Spicka A., Johnson R., Bushing J., Higley L., Carter D.O. (2011) Carcass mass can regulate rate of decomposition and release of ninhydrin-reactive nitrogen into gravesoil. Forensic Science International 209, 80-85.

Striman B., Fujikawa A., Barksdale L., Carter D.O. (2011) Alteration of expirated bloodstain patterns by Calliphora vicina and Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae) through ingestion and deposition of artifacts. Journal of Forensic Sciences 56, S123-S127.

Carter D.O., Tibbett M., Yellowlees D. (2010) Moisture can be the dominant environmental parameter governing cadaver decomposition in soil. Forensic Science International 200, 60-66.

Van Belle L., Carter D.O., Forbes S.L. (2009) Measurement of ninhydrin-reactive nitrogen influx into gravesoil during aboveground and belowground carcass (Sus domesticus) decomposition. Forensic Science International 193, 37-41.

Fujikawa A., Barksdale L., Carter D.O. (2009) Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae) and their ability to alter the morphology and presumptive chemistry of bloodstain patterns. Journal of Forensic Identification 59, 502-512.

Carter D.O., Filippi J., Higley L.G., Huntington T.E., Okoye M.I., Scriven M., Bliemeister J. (2009) Using ninhydrin to reconstruct a disturbed outdoor death scene. Journal of Forensic Identification 59, 190-195.

Benninger L.A., Carter D.O., Forbes S.L. (2008) The biochemical alteration of soil beneath a decomposing carcass. Forensic Science International 180, 70-75.

Service to the Profession

  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences (Member, Pathology/Biology)
  • American Society for Microbiology (Member)
  • International Association for Identification (Associate Member)
  • International Society for Microbial Ecology