Marine Chemistry Facilities

student and professor working in the marine chemistry lab

Our marine chemistry facility supports chemical analyses for teaching and research. Equipment includes analytical balances, non-refrigerated and refrigerated centrifuges, single wavelength and scanning spectrophotometers, a plate reader, pH meters, temperature/salinity/conductivity/pH/ dissolved oxygen meters, a dissolved oxygen titration system, stir plates and vortex mixers, drying ovens, a sonicating water bath, block heaters, an ultralow freezer, ANSI Type 1 and Type 2 purified water, a discrete analyzer, and an elemental analyzer. 

SPMC maintains a database of water quality information (dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, and pH) collected weekly since 1973. The measurements were expanded in the early 1990's to include chlorophyll a, phaeopigments, orthophosphate, and nitrate + nitrite. Those interested in accessing that information can contact the SPMC Chemistry Technician Horng-Yuh Lee.

If you are interested in using marine chemistry facilities for classwork or independent research or wish to schedule a training session, contact Kathy Van Alstyne (SPMC Supervisor of Marine Chemistry Services). If you are planning work that will require extensive use of facilties or equipment, please contact Dr. Van Alstyne during the proposal development phase to determine how your needs can best be supported. The SPMC Chemistry Assistant is available to help train students, faculty, and staff on the use of minor equipment and assist with WWU classes being held at SPMC.

Molecular Ecology and Environmental Genomics Lab

The Molecular Ecology and Environmental Genomics labs are equipped to support molecular techniques, including including DNA extractions and PCR, for teaching and research. A sample preparation lab houses a Veriti Thermal Cycler, a PCR workstation (laminar flow hood with HEPA filter and UV light), a Qubit 2.0 flurometer, a mini dry bath, BioClave 16 autoclave, vortexer, mini centrifuge, microplate shaker, Ambion magnetic stand-96, Eppendorf refrigerated microcentrifuge (5430R) with 2-ml tube and 96-well plate rotors, a horizontal gel electrophoresis system and power supply, an Enduro GDS Touch gel documentation system, and a dedicated suite of Gilson micropipets. Type 1 (nanopure) water is available. A second lab, dedicated to post-PCR processing of samples, houses an Illumina MiSeq genome sequencer, Bioanalyzer 2100, StepOnePlus real-time PCR system, vortexer, mini centrifuge, a dedicated suite of Gilson micropipets, and an iMac with Geneious software. Sequence data generated on the MiSeq can be processed through Illumina’s Base Space genomics cloud computing system, or Western users may access SPMC’s dedicated space within the computing cluster housed in the Computer Science department.

While SPMC staff maintain facilities and provide general suport, we are not equipped to provide individual training, and all consumables are user supplied. Those interested in using these labs should contact Dr. Shawn Arellano.

Ocean Acidification Lab

Experimental containers are held inside a walk in environmental room

A state-of-the-art ocean acidification system permits study of the impact of ocean warming and acidification on marine organisms. The unique design of the system allows users to maintain CO2 in seawater through air-sea gas exchange, mimicking nature and eliminating stress associated with techniques that require active water flow or direct bubbling with enriched CO2 gas (for details see Love et al. 2017).

Available equipment includes Powerex oilless rotary compressor, Twin Towers Inc. carbon dioxide scrubbers, Li-COR Li-820 CO2 sensor, Apollo SciTech Model AS-C3 total dissolved inorganic carbon analyzer, Agilent 8453A UV-VIS diode array spectrophotometer, an open cell potentiometric titrator, and a Beckman Z2 Coulter Counter for cell counting. There are also several temperature/light-controlled incubators and a walk-in cold room. Those wishing to use the OA facilities should contact Gene McKeen.

Seawater System

A dual-line seawater system provides up to 250 gal of seawater per minute. The water is monitored continuously for temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and total dissolved gases. Nutrient samples are also taken twice per week for analysis.

The indoor sea table area contains 18 upper-lower sea table sets and 5 aquarium racks. An outdoor areas plumbed for seawater is used for experiments that require ambient light or larger volumes with tanks ranging up to 5600 liters.