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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 for microstructure and chemistry 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 to help you conduct a robust analysis of your scientific questions. Our lab maintains much of the equipment to conduct these investigations in-house and works with partner laboratories for additional services. 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. 

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Clean Room

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.

Micromill Sampling

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. 

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