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Biological Sciences

Environmental Microbiology and Biogeochemistry: Nutrient and Trace-Gas Cycling

Our fully equipped laboratories are staffed by full-time technicians who facilitate microbiological research as well as sampling from and fieldwork in a range of natural environments across the globe.

Specific facilities include large purpose-built category-2 microbiology labs and a wet lab. One of the environmental microbiology labs has a molecular microbial ecology suite while the other has specialist analytical equipment. Most researchers tend to work between both laboratories. Our facilities include:

  • A range of facilities for microbial cultivation (safety cabinets, temperature- and light-controlled growth rooms, facilities for cultivating extremophiles, numerous static and shaking incubators, an anaerobic cabinet and gassing manifolds)
  • Four Gas Chromatographs (GCs)with diverse detectors (MS, FID, FPD, ECD) for hydrocarbon, lipid, polysaccharide and trace gas analysis
  • Purpose-built equipment for cryogenic enrichment of trace gases
  • Fast Isoprene Sensor with chemiluminescence detector
  • Freeze driers
  • Water activity machines
  • Seal Analytical AA3 continuous flow auto-analyser for inorganic nutrients
  • Dionex anion and cation exchange chromatography
  • Shimadzu TOC-Vcsh total organic carbon analyser with TNM-1 unit
  • Infrared video equipment for chemotaxis assays and behavioural studies

We also conduct fieldwork in a wide range of locations and habitats (both terrestrial and aquatic. Fieldwork equipment includes:

  • two departmental fieldwork vehicles with full off-road 4×4 capability
  • two departmental boats (7m and 3m RIB with petrol and electric engines)
  • Van Veen grab samplers
  • In-situ fluorescence detectors (diving PAM and Moldaenke FluoroProbe)
  • field analytical equipment (light, pH, temperature and conductivity meters and automated data loggers)
  • underwater video camera
  • full face mask with communications equipment
  • GPS units
  • field generators

In-field logistical support is provided by trained technical staff with full first-aid training and is facilitated by close links with various local and national agencies. We also have access to many other departmental facilities.