The UVM Environmental Stable Isotope Laboratory was established with EPSCoR funds in 1991. It has since then been expanded with funds from UVM and NSF. The facility is housed in the Department of Geology and has become a central and essential tool for several ongoing and planned interdisciplinary research programs at the University of Vermont.

Facilities and Instrumentation

The laboratory is presently equipped with a VG/Fisons SIRA series II stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer is able to analyze stable isotopes of C, O, N, and S. Two gas extraction lines are used for the preparation of the gas samples needed for the isotopic analysis of carbonates (CO2), organic materials (CO2, N2), natural waters (CO2), and sulfates and sulfides (SO2). A CE NC 2500 elemental analyzer has recently been interfaced to the mass spectrometer allowing for online analysis of C and N isotopes in organic materials.

The VG SIRA II isotope ratio mass spectrometer with PRO-VAC Services
20-Port Manifold and CE NC2500 elemental analyzer

Sample preparation line

Research Applications

The use of natural abundance isotopes as tracers in environmental, biological, and ecological research has evolved rapidly during the last few years. In particular, the development of stable isotope mass spectrometry has revolutionized the ability to pose and answer previously unapproachable questions of how interactions between biological and geological processes define the Earth's environment. As a consequence, isotope analysis is becoming a standard tool for geologists, biologists, ecologists and all scientists studying elemental or material cycles in the environment as well as global climate and environmental change.

Current laboratory activities focus on (but are not limited to) the analysis of: The laboratory is used both as a teaching and research facility allowing students and researchers to make use of this modern analytical tool in their studies.

A graduate student preparing water samples for d18O analysis

The facility operates on a cost-recovery basis, assessing fees to cover supplies and use of equipment. The facility is also available for contract work.

The UVM Environmental Stable Isotope facility is directed by Dr. Andrea Lini, Associate Professor and Chair for the Department of Geology. If you are interested in the use of the stable isotope laboratory for your research, Dr. Lini can be reached by calling (802)-656-0245 or by e-mail.

Address Correspondance to:
Dr. Andrea Lini
Department of Geology, Delehanty Hall, Room 319
Trinity Campus, 180 Colchester Avenue
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405-1758

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