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Environmental Isotope Laboratory

Isotope lab a leader in environmental research

UW's Environmental Isotope Laboratory, in the Department of Earth Sciences, is one of the largest in the world and develops and applies technology for research primarily in earth sciences and biology....read moreSoluble compounds in groundwater, such as nitrate, sulfate, chloride and dissolved inorganic carbon, are imprinted with an isotopic composition (or fingerprint) related to the sources and processes that affect them in groundwater. Researchers involved in isotope studies include Dr. Ramon Aravena, Dr. Tom Edwards, Dr. Shaun Frape, Dr. Michael Power and Dr. Sherry Schiff. Impact of agriculture, nutrients on freshwater ecosystems studied Eutrophication, the pollution of surface waters by excess nutrients, is a pervasive threat to freshwater and coastal ecosystems worldwide. In Canada alone, it negatively affects the environment, human health and the economy. Dr. William Taylor, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Limnology, works to improve the understanding of this pollution and pathogens in surface waters used for drinking. He studies the phosphorus cycle and grazers of bacteria to understand how human activity affects freshwater ecosystems and water quality. Dr. Taylor is applying new methods to determine phosphorus dynamics in the surface waters of lakes as a function of lake characteristics and human impacts. In addition to local lakes and rivers, he has researched lake and wetland systems in East Africa.