The below labs are a subset of INSTAAR Labs that are resources for CWEST researchers. 

Colorado Snow Lab (CSL), INSTAAR

mountain iconThe Colorado Snow Lab is the facility used by the Mountain Hydrology Group at INSTAAR. Equipment includes a spectrometer, ground penetrating radar, spectral snowpack profiler, hemispherical camera, snow depth sensors, and near infrared photography.

Contact: Noah Molotch, Lab Director- 
LinkMountain Hydrology Group INSTAAR webpage


Diatom Lab, INSTAAR

diatom iconThe Diatom Lab has three research grade microscopes equipped with digital imaging cameras and software to facilitate diatom identification and documentation of voucher material. The INSTAAR Diatom Collection is based on a locality database containg several thousand microslides and archive material from Arctic, Antarctic, and alpine freshwaters. INSTAAR also hosts major online floras, Diatoms of the United States and Antarctic Freshwater Diatoms databases, with Dr. Sarah Spaulding as the project lead.

Contact: Dr. Sarah Spaulding, Lab Director - 
LinksDiatom Lab INSTAAR webpage
Diatom Lab Tour educational webpage


Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) Characterization Lab, INSTAAR

Dissolved Organic Matter iconThe DOM Characterization Lab is equipped with a Shimadzu 5000 total organic carbon analyzer, an Agilent ultraviolet spectrophotometer, two spectrafluorometers – a Fluoromax-3 and a Fluoromax-4, numerous resin columns with which to perform resin chromotagraphy, and an Ultrafilter to conduct size-excluding filtration. The lab holds periodic trainings on DOM analyses and the use of the Parallel Factor Analysis (PARAFAC) computer model coupled with the Cory-McKnight MATLAB model for the analysis of DOM fluorescence characteristics.  The Cory-McKnight model was developed by former INSTAAR graduate student, Dr. Rose Cory, and CWEST Director, Dr. Diane McKnight and is now widely used by DOM researchers. A training is currently scheduled for late summer or Fall 2016, please contact Chris Florian for more information.

ContactDr. Diane McKnight, Lab Director - 
Links: DOM Lab INSTAAR webpage
DOM Lab CWEST Lab Tour educational webpage 
DOM Lab anyalytical services and costs


Arikaree Environmental Lab, INSTAAR

mountain iconThe Arikaree Environmental Lab is the environmental chemistry lab for the Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research site.  The lab can analyze water, snow, soil, and air samples for major solutes and nutrients.  Equipment includes an ion chromatograph, atomic absorption spectrometer, total organic carbon analyzer, spectrophotometric flow injection analyzer, and isotopic liquid water analyzer among other instruments. 

Contact:  Brent Bednarek, Lab Manager;     
LinkArikaree Environmental Lab INSTAAR webpage 
Arikaree Environmental Lab analytical services


Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) Lab, INSTAAR

ICP icon INSTAAR’s ICP-MS lab houses a Thermo Finnigan Element2 sector field inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometer.  It analyzes trace and minor elements mainly in the calcium carbonate of foraminifera shells to reconstruct past climates.  On occasion, the lab also analyzes trace and minor elements in natural waters as well. 

ContactDr. Tom Marchitto, Lab Director - 
Link: ICP-MS Trace Element Lab INSTAAR webpage


Phycology Lab, INSTAAR

phycology iconThe phycology lab is equipped with two research grade microscopes, a spectrophotometer and a FlowCam that facilitates the counting and identification of algae.

Contact: Dr. Diane McKnight, Lab Director -
LinkPhycology Lab CWEST Lab Tour educational webpage


Stable Isotope Laboratory (SIL), INSTAAR

Isotope iconEstablished in 1989, INSTAAR’s Stable Isotope Lab analyzes carbon, hydrogen and oxygen isotopes in water, air, and organic material samples coming from all over the world. Utilizing 7 mass spectrometers and a growing number of laser-based spectroscopy instruments, the lab continues to pioneer new methods and techniques using stable isotopes for a variety of applications.  A cornerstone of their research is in collaboration with the NOAA Global Monitoring Division, analyzing isotopes in thousands of atmospheric air samples every year, creating one of the largest and most precise databases of isotopes in atmospheric greenhouse gases today.  The lab also has a long history of generating paleoclimate records of stable isotopes in polar ice cores. Using methods we have developed to produce ultra-high resolution isotope records, we’ve analyzed over 5 km of ice cores, and continue to analyze ice from both Greenland and Antarctica.  We actively engage student research projects and collaborate across multiple disciplines.

Contact: Bruce Vaughn, Lab Managing Director -
LinksStable Isotope Lab INSTAAR webpage