Research Techniques

SXRF (Synchrotron Based X-Ray Flourescence)

We are actively involved in the development and application of synchrotron-based analytical techniques to study metal biogeochemistry and metal-aps smaller.jpgplankton interactions. In particular, we are using SXRF microscopy to quantify the elemental composition (Si, S, P, Ca, Mn, Fe, Ni, Zn) in individual plankton cells. This work has been performed in close collaboration with physicists at Stony Brook University, the National Synchrotron Light Source (Brookhaven National Laboratory), and the Advanced Photon Source (Argonne National Laboratory). We have analyzed samples collected from diverse aquatic systems, ranging from the Great Lakes to the equatorial Pacific and Southern Oceans.

ICP-MS (Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry)

Our research using ICP-MS represents a more traditional means of trace metal analysis. With the ICP-MS we are able to focus on bulk plankton samples and are able to quantify all trace elements of interest (Al, Cd, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, P, S, Zn). Often ICP-MS analysis is coupled with SXRF microscopy, further enhancing our understanding of trace metal biogeochemistry in a system.

Phytoplankton Cultures

We maintain several different species of diatoms, dinoflagellates, and cyanobacteria in culture. These cultures are used for various small and large scale experiments involving silicon and iron limitation, 55Fe labeling, and method development for future research.