Environmental Analysis Lab (MSL 236)

Jay Racela, Technical Assistant

The Center for Environmental Studies’ Environmental Analysis Lab–under the guidance of Prof. David Dethier and Technical Assistant Jay Racela–continued the process of gathering and analyzing meteorological, hydrological and biogeochemical data from Hopkins Memorial Forest and from the Class of 1966 Environmental Center.    In September we installed a Davis Instruments remote weather station adjacent to the ’66 Environmental Center that allows us to monitor the natural resource inputs (i.e. solar, water) to the building on a daily basis as the Center and its occupants work to attain Living Building status. Additionally, with crucial help from Jason Mativi (Bronfman Science Center) we installed two sonar sensors to help monitor water levels and flow from the ponds at the Environmental Center.

Jay 2016

Beginning during summer 2015 through spring 2016, we had as many as four senior thesis students in the lab. Caroline Atwood ’16, Mary Ignatiadis ’16, Abigail Kelly ’16 (all from Geosciences) and Stephen Mayfield ’16 (Chemistry), used our meteorological and hydrological data (weather and water) and analyzed their research samples using the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS), Ion Chromatograph (IC), Flash Elemental Analyzer (EA), and the Coulter Counter. During the summer of 2015 Sophie Kitchen ’17 and Christine Pash’18 worked as the CES ENVI-lab Research Assistants to continue hydrogeochemical research at Hopkins Memorial Forest (HMF) and to complete an independent research project that optimized a method to extract and analyze phosphate using the Accelerated Solvent Extractor (ASE) and a spectrophotometer respectively. During the spring of 2016, the lab hosted 29 ES102 students with the help of Sarah Ladouceur ’18 and Allison Wong ’18.


Sarah and Allison assisted class members in learning how to analyze the local environment in-depth using Geoscience, Biology and Chemistry skills taught by Prof. Alex Apotsos and Jay Racela. We also hosted the following in 2015-16: CH364 students were taught how to analyze samples with the AAS and IC, CH255 students for sample analyses by AAS, IC and EA, GEOS 405 for lab exercises plus sample analyses by IC, AAS, and EA, a one day visit by GEOS 303 for rock etching, and BIO 302 lab for Flash EA. Linda Shin ’17 and Matthew Goss ’17 also used the lab and the ASE for the ongoing PCB research project (under the Thoman and Richardson labs) during the past summer.