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Biogeochemistry Laboratory

   The laboratory is in the Faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology (Illick Hall, rooms 211-214 and room 219) and supports research on the biogeochemistry of a variety of systems, but particular attention is focused on forests and surface waters.  The laboratory has the potential to perform a wide range of soil, vegetation and water chemistry analyses commonly associated with elemental cycling research.  Equipment includes chemical instrumentation for quantifying different analyte concentrations, drying ovens, incubators, balances, a muffle furnace, a filtering apparatus, vacuum hoods, sampling devices, a water purification system, PC's and printers.
    A Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatographic (IC) is available for quantification of anions in water or soil samples.  The IC is computer-controlled using Dionex's PeakNet software.  Additionally, the IC has the potential to be fitted with a cation column in order to measure cation concentrations.  However, cation concentrations are presently measured using a Perkin-Elmer DIV 3300 inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometer, located in the Jahn Chemistry Building, maintained by the Analytical and Technical Services at SUNY - ESF.  A Bran+Luebbe Autoanalyzer 3 is dedicated to ammonium (indophenol blue method) and total nitrogen (persulfate digestion method) analyses.  This instrument is also computer-controlled.   It has the potential to perform total phosphorus and many other chemical methods with the use of two multitest manifolds.  Dissolved organic carbon is measured using a Tekmar Phoenix 8000 Carbon Analyzer, which can also quantify dissolved inorganic carbon and total carbon.  This instrument is also computer-controlled.  Other laboratory instruments include:  a Hewlett Packard 5890 Series II Gas Chromatograph for doing trace gas analyses, a Corning Ion Analyzer 250 (pH) and a Virtis Advantage freeze drier
    Solid samples (soil and vegetation), excluding liquid extractions, may be  analyzed for total percent sulfur content, performed on the LECO Sulfur Determinator.   Total percent carbon, hydrogen’  nitrogen and sulfur for solid samples can be measured using the Thermo Electron Corporation, EA1112 elemental analyzer.  Ammonium and nitrate are extracted from solid samples with potassium chloride, and then analyzed using the Bran+Luebbe Autoanalyzer 3.  Phosphate extractable sulfate is quantified using the Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatograph.  Total Alkalinity is measured by acid titration.
    Patrick J. McHale (Instructional Support Specialist) is the laboratory manager, responsible for equipment operation and maintenance, laboratory safety and supervision of laboratory personnel.  Laboratory staff also include: David Lyons (Research Support Specialist) and Joyce Green (Research Support Specialist).
    The laboratory is supervised by Myron J. Mitchell (Professor and Director of Council on Hydrologic Systems Science).  For further information on the laboratory and interest in collaboration with biogeochemical research, contact Patrick J. McHale at (315) 470-6738 or Myron J. Mitchell at (315) 470-6765.


Send mail to cliptak@esf.edu with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 04/25/06