Some recent lab fun with water chemistry

In the depths of Michigan winter, it’s easy to get sluggish and demotivated – even with grant-writing season (three down, three to go!) spurring you on. Having awesome labmates who are excited about science definitely helps. Over the past few weeks, my undergraduate researcher Sonya has learned two new techniques: pyrite extraction (CRS) and UV-VIS. She’s gotten some exciting results – as we’d hoped, there was indeed some pyrite in the wetland soils! All my regular (non-histosol) soils had zilch, zip, absolutely zero pyrite, and I was worried these environments would be too oxic for pyrite. But we found some!

I’m also extremely pumped because it looks like Sonya will be staying on in our lab for a while, which means that we can work together on doing longer-term studies of variations in nutrients in SE Michigan wetlands, as well as expanding the range of her work from a few protected wetlands to those out “in the wild” – meaning, wetlands that could have more anthropogenic influence.  It’s great working with someone so enthusiastic and excited about her research!

Sonya with her successful titration of chromium-reducible sulfides in wetland soil waters!

No one else in lab has done UV-VIS work for a while – it’s exciting to have some water chemistry going on again! Sonya is starting with Fe and P analyses, and exploring other ions from there. 

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