The Coastal Ecology and Biogeochemistry laboratory is dedicated to understanding how human activities alter the ecology and elemental cycling of ecosystems on a variety of scales (e.g., local – nutrient loading; regional/global – climate change, ocean acidification). Our biogeochemical capabilities include a membrane inlet mass spectrometer system (MIMS) with specially designed inlet system attached to a Balzers quadrupole MS and a Shimadzu GC-2014 (with high sensitivity detectors (thermal conductivity: CO2, flame ionization detector: CH4, and electron capture: N2O)), and a SEAL –Nutrient Autoanalyzer. We also have a Unisense microprofiler which allows fine scale (micron level) measurements of various dissolved gases, pH, etc. Field equipment includes an automatic ISCO water sampler, HOBO temperature loggers, sediment coring devices, and chambers for wetland gas measurements.
In addition, we recently underwent a renovation to include space for an environmental molecular laboratory so we can relate our biogeochemical flux data with the microbial community present and active. The new space also includes a state-of-the-art walk-in environmental chamber with temperature and humidity control allowing us to recreate conditions found in the natural environment.
The Coastal Ecology and Biogeochemistry laboratory supports research on a range of systems from watersheds to the continental shelf. For example, we are study greenhouse gas emissions from local wetlands and estuaries, the impact of climate change on nitrogen cycling in the coastal ocean, and the role of land use change and salt marshes in altering silica fluxes to marine waters.