The FaBRECC, which is a shared facility between Dr. Melissa Lafrenière and Dr. Neal Scott, provides equipment for laboratory measurements of key organic and inorganic constituents in aqueous samples, the analysis of key nutrients (C, N, P) in soil and vegetation samples, and the measurement of important greenhouse gases.

The overall goal of much of the research is to increase our understanding of the impacts of climate and land-use change, permafrost disturbances, and other human-induced disturbances on terrestrial and fluvial biogeochemical cycles and net greenhouse gas emissions.  Changes in these critical cycles provide an important lens to observe human impacts on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Research in the lab is supported by a Millipore water system producing 18 Mohm, < 5 ppb TOC water, and a Miele dishwasher system. Analytical equipment dedicated to low-level chemical analyses includes:

  • New* Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon (TOC-L) analyzer with high sensitivity catalyst and a Total Nitrogen module
  • New* Thermo Scientific Dionex 5000 liquid ion chromatograph equipped for the analysis of anions and cations from a single sample, and electrochemical detection for simple sugars (NSERC Research Tools and Instruments grand led by M. Lafrenière and S. Lamoureux)
  • Horiba Aqualog benchtop fluorometer for DOM, to simultaneously measure absorbance spectra and fluorescence Excitation-Emission Matrices
  • Laminar flow hood provides a clean air (Class 100) bench space for sample preparation and processing

Other equipment is dedicated to measuring higher concentrations of various anions and cations in water and soil extracts, determination of carbon and nitrogen in soils and sediments and plant material, and measurement of greenhouse gas production from soils. These include:

  • Astoria Pacific Astoria2 automated colorimetric system equipped with an auto-diluter
  • New* LECO Model 858 carbon/nitrogen/oxygen analyzer
  • New* Scion 456GC Greenhouse Gas Analyzer for simultaneous determination of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide concentrations in air

Assorted gas pumps and flow controllers are available to prepare custom mixes of gases for analytical standards and soil incubations.

The facility is also supported by various small pieces of laboratory equipment: pH meters, conductivity meters, pipettes, ovens, furnaces, incubators, shakers, soil grinders, and balances. Field research is supported by a wide range of soil, air, and stream water sampling and monitoring equipment (see www.capebountyresearch.com).

We also have access to a Los Gatos Research water stable isotope analyser, which is an instrument obtained through an NSERC Research Tools and Instrument grant led by Dr. Kent Novakowski in Civil Engineering, with Drs. Lamoureux and Lafrenière as co-applicants.  We also collaborate with colleagues in Chemistry and Geology on a range of other analyses to supplement our own capacity.