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New tool beefs up environmental research lab

Posted: May 30th, 2013

IN LIVING COLOR – Lake Superior State University Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) student employee Brandon Yanni sets up the lab's newest acquisition, a discrete analyzer, for a sample run. The instrument measures subtle colors in samples to figure out chemical concentrations with accuracies in the range of parts per billion. The analyzer joins an array of instruments that promote undergraduate senior research, introduce fundamental analytical techniques to students, and support research partnerships between faculty, students, and the community. Yanni is a sophomore in chemistry from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. (LSSU/John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.


SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State University Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) has recently acquired a new instrument that is already being put to work on a variety of studies being conducted at LSSU involving monitoring local, regional, and national water quality.

The instrument, a discrete analyzer, allows for rapid automated colorimetric analysis, a technique that measures subtle colors in samples to figure out chemical concentrations. LSSU's discrete analyzer is a valuable addition to the hands-on experience that LSSU offers to its students, and performs numerous analytical methods that can detect total nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations with accuracies in the range of parts per billion.

Housed in LSSU's EAL, the discrete analyzer will promote undergraduate senior research, introduce fundamental analytical techniques to students, and support research partnerships between faculty, students, and the community. The lab also does contract work for public and private clients.

The LSSU EAL offers paid internships for students looking to work in a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory. Students analyze real-world samples using standard methods and are involved in all aspects of the environmental analysis process, from field sample collection to reporting data to clients. The lab is employing eight student technicians and conducting about 12 student-faculty research projects this summer.

The discrete analyzer is being incorporated into current research being preformed at LSSU that includes ongoing environmental monitoring conducted by professor Derek Wright of the Ashmun Creek and Munuscong watersheds.

EAL Laboratory Manager Benjamin Southwell — along with Wayne State University and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi — will also be using the discrete analyzer as part of a National Institutes of Health/National Science Foundation grant to characterize waters at risk for harmful cyanobacteria blooms.

Run a Web search on "LSSU EAL" to learn more about lab's research projects and analytical services. Details about LSSU's chemistry program can be found by running a running a search for "LSSU chemistry."



-LSSU-

CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315; Ben Southwell, Environmental Analysis Laboratory, e-mail, 635-2076.


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