The LIFE lab maintains a full service laboratory for analysis of hard part microchemistry across a wide variety of ecological applications. Our services include sample preparation and cutting-edge analysis using thermal ionization and laser-ablation mass spectrometry for trace element and isotopic analysis of otoliths and other hard part samples across numerous taxa.
Trace element and isotopic techniques can be powerful tools to answer questions in many ecological and geochemical systems. These chemical tracers have been used to uncover details of origin, movement and life history in aquatic and terrestrial vertebrates as well was plants, as well as age and provenance studies of geological systems.
Our lab has the expertise and equipment to help you conduct a robust analysis of your scientific questions. We welcome your inquiries and collaboration.
Isotopix Phoenix TIMS
Acquired in 2015, this machine represents the state of the art in isotope ratio spectrometry. It is capable of extremely precise measurements of isotope ratios in numerous isotopic systems.
Otolith Prep Lab
Our otolith prep lab includes two polishing stations for mounting and polishing hard-part samples, as well as well as a low-speed diamond saw for sample sectioning and a high resolution microscope and camera equipped with Image-Pro software for growth and microstrructure analysis.
Clean room facilities are now available on the University of Idaho campus for sample preparation. In addition we partner with the nearby Geoanalytical Lab at Washington State University to provide sample prep in a world-class (HEPA filtered class 1000) clean room.
Laser Ablation Mass Spectrometry
In cooperation with Washington State University Geoanalytical Lab we offer cutting edge trace element and strontium ratio analysis of hard-part samples using Thermo Element2 and Neptune ICP-MS and a New Wave laser ablation system. We have extensive experience in movement and life-history analysis and look forward to working with you to develop methods to answer your scientific questions.
We are equipped with a recently purchased New Wave micromill sampling system for precise spatial sampling. Combined with the Isotopic TIMS system it is possible to take extremely accurate measurements of discrete locations on your samples.
Our team has extensive experience in experimental design, data reduction, method development, and statistical analysis of hard-part microchemistry. We look forward to collaborating with you on whatever your needs might be. We can work with you on everything from helping you to analyze your samples to full service experimental design and analysis. We welcome your questions and are always willing to discuss how we can help you fulfill your analysis goals.