The USGS Water Mission Area Laboratories in Boulder are located at 3215 Marine St. Boulder, CO 80303. If any of the labs listed below appeal to you and your reserach, reach out the lab contact or email c-west@colorado.edu and the prgram manager will contect you with the USGS lab. 

USGS

USGS WATER  MISSION AREA LABORATORIES, BOULDER, CO

 

Analytical Trace Elements Chemistry Lab (E185)

This project provides specialized analytical services to USGS projects for the analysis of non-typical or non-routine samples.  They develop methodologies using state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques for the determination of inorganic constituents in environmental samples.  They specialize in the analysis of trace elements (including mercury) and rare earth elements.

Analytical capabilities:

  1. Trace elements – ICP-MS (Nexion 300Q and DRC II) and Microwave Digester (Ethos EZ)
  2. Mercury - Mercury (Tekran 2600 and DMA80)
  1. Major elements - ICP-OES (Optima 5300)
  2. Other capabilities – Major anions (IC), alkalinity (autotitration), DOC, and UV-Vis

Contact: David Roth (daroth@usgs.gov) and Terry Plowman and Brett Uhle 
 

 

Biogeochemical Cycles in Aquatic Systems (E114)

This project studies biogeochemical cycling of elements through aquatic systems, including interactions with the terrestrial environment and the atmosphere. Recent work has focused on measuring greenhouse gas emissions from rivers and lakes in Alaska, as well as the Mississippi River.

Analytical capabilities:

  1. Gas chromatography for CH4
  2. Licor CO2 analyzer for dissolved CO2 and total dissolved inorganic carbon

Field capabilities:

  1. In-situ measurement of dissolved CO2 and CH4 concentrations, and greenhouse gas fluxes across water-atmosphere and terrestrial-atmosphere interfaces
  2. In-situ measurement of water quality parameters; pH, specific conductivity, turbidity, oxygen, and fluorescent dissolved organic matter

Contacts: Rob Striegl and Mark Dornblaser (mmdornbl@usgs.gov)

 

Geochemical Modeling of Acid Waters / Redox Chemistry Lab (E110)

This project integrates field work, analytical work, laboratory studies, and modeling applications into the interpretation of water-rock interactions with an emphasis on trace elements and redox species in natural waters. The primary study sites are Yellowstone and mining sites

Analytical Capabilities:

  1. Inorganic Redox Species - arsenic (HGAAS), chromium (CE+GFAAS), iron (UV/VIS), and sulfur (IC, ISE) redox species
  2. Trace metals (ICP-OES and GFAAS)
  3. Major cations (ICP-OES)
  4. Major anions (IC) and alkalinity (autotitration)

Contacts: Blaine McCleskey (rbmccles@usgs.gov) and Kirk Nordstrom

 

 

Aqueous Chemical Contaminants and Hydrological/Ecological Interactions (E106)

This interdisciplinary team specializes in understanding the chemistry, biological effects, and infrastructure/technology impacts of wastewater reclamation and reuse processes. The project integrates analytical work, field work, on-site mobile laboratories, and modeling applications to interpret the complex hydrological and ecological interactions resulting from waste discharged or spilled into natural waters. Current studies include water quality analyses and on-site fish-exposure experiments to investigate biological impacts arising from mixtures of anthropogenic waste contaminants detected in surface water and groundwater sites across the United States (Hawaii, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia).  

Analytical capabilities:

  1. Molecular markers of domestic and industrial wastewater impacts on natural water (GC/MS-MS)
  2. Anthropogenic organic chemicals of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, nonylphenol surfactants, and pesticides (GC/MS-MS)
  3. Endogenous and synthetic hormones, sterols, and other endocrine disrupting compounds (GC/MS-MS)
  4. Total organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon characterization (UV/Vis)
  5. Anhydrosugars as source-specific wildfire biomarkers (GC/MS-MS)
  6. Transcriptomics and endocrine disruption bioassays (Microarray Analyses, Histology)

Contacts: Larry Barber  (lbbarber@usgs.gov), Steffanie Keefe  (shkeefe@usgs.gov),  Alan Vajda  (alan.vajda@ucdenver.edu), and Jeramy Jasmann  (jjasmann@usgs.gov)

 

 

Bacteria – Contaminant Interactions (E120)

This project specializes in understanding the movement of pathogens along the continuum of surface water to groundwater environments. In the lab, they often perform experiments using static or flow through columns to monitor transport experimentally.

Analytical capabilities:

  1. A flow cytometer which is used for counting, size sorting and discrimination of taxa or functional processes using fluorescent probes. 
  2. A Q-PCR instrument for quantification of genes 
  3. A Zeta Pals instrument to identify surface charge and size of colloids
  4. A microscope

Contacts: Ron Harvey (rwharvey@usgs.gov) and Jen Underwood (jcunder@usgs.gov)

 

 

Biogechemistry of Carbon and Nitrogen in Aquatic Environments (E124)

This project focuses on carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry in aquatic environments to understand redox reactions across a groundwater-surface water continuum, microbial processes, contaminant transport and impact on ecosystem processes. They conduct field experiments using natural-gradient tracer tests and laboratory sediment/water microcosm studies to quantify microbial processes.

Analytical capabilities:

  1. Major anions and cations using ion chromatography
  2. Dissolved gases (N2O, CH4, N2, O2, Ar) using gas chromatography
  3. Sediment carbon and nitrogen content using a CHN analyzer
  4. Low-level nitrate and nitrite using chemiluminescent detection (NOA)

Contacts:  Dick Smith (rlsmith@usgs.gov) and Deb Repert (darepert@usgs.gov)

 

Biogeochemistry and Mineralogy of Redox-Active Environmental Systems (E-134)

This project specializes in abiotic and microbial redox chemistry of natural water-rock systems, with a particular focus on iron, arsenic, antimony, and uranium transformation in mining-impacted environments. This work is at the interface between aqueous geochemistry, microbiology, and mineralogy, to understand fundamental processes controlling low-temperature ore deposit formation, biogeochemical effects of mining, and engineered remediation solutions.

Analytical capabilities:

Mineralogical characterization and quantification: X-ray diffraction (XRD), wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence (WD-XRF), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), USGS RockJock software for quantitative XRD analysis

Experimental support: anaerobic chamber with CO2 control, microbial culturing, chemostat, batch and column capabilities

Contacts:  Kate Campbell (kcampbell@usgs.gov) and Tyler Kane

 

 

Effects of Landscape Disturbance on Water Quality (E142)

This project develops novel field and laboratory techniques to evaluate the role that landscape disturbances, such as wildfire, have on water quality and watershed processes. This research laboratory is used to prepare field instruments for deployment and to process and study environmental samples. 

Analytical capabilities:

  1. Water sample processing and filtration
  2. Sample agitator and shaker
  3. Microscope
  4. Spectrophotometer
  5. Centrifuge

Contacts:  Sheila Murphy (sfmurphy@usgs.gov) and Bob Stallard

 

 

Organic Carbon Migration in Aquatic Environments Lab (E150)

This organic geochemistry project specializes in the isolation and characterization of natural organic matter in surface water environments, and investigates interactions between natural organic matter and trace metal contaminants (e.g. mercury). Projects include both field campaigns and fundamental lab studies, and utilize external facilities to make state-of-the-art measurements (e.g., X-ray absorption spectroscopy, ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry). Current multi-year projects include managed wetlands in the Florida Everglades and a hydroelectric system on the Snake River, Idaho.

Analytical capabilities:

  1. Dissolved organic carbon quantification
  2. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) fractionation and isolation by low pressure liquid chromatography (XAD)
  3. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) characterization by UV-vis absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy​
  4. Laboratory Redox Manipulation by Electrochemistry

Contacts:  Brett Poulin (bpoulin@usgs.gov) and Sara Breitmeyer (sbreitmeyer@usgs.gov)