Ecohydrology Research Group

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
What the facility does

Biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry, and geomicrobiology.

Areas of expertise

The Ecohydrology Laboratories provide advanced instrumentation and experimental systems to determine the size, morphology, mineralogy and chemistry of soils, sediments, colloids, and aerosols,  the chemical composition of aqueous samples (major and minor elements, nutrients, metalloids, redox, speciation), rates of biogeochemical processes under controlled environmental conditions, and  the structure and abundance of microbial communities. In addition, cultures of model organisms (algae, bacteria) and specialized field equipment (samplers, sensors) are available.

Research services

Fee-based analytical services

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Management and business related services
  • Policy and governance
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
Specialized labEquipmentFunction
Environmental Particle Analysis LaboratoryMicro-X-ray fluorescence analytical microscope (µ-XRF)
  • HORIBA XGT-7000V
  • Provides elemental mapping and quantification of solid (and sometimes liquid) samples
  • Detection range: sodium (Na) to uranium (U)
 X-ray diffractometer (XRD)
  • PANalytical Empyrean Series 2
  • Determines crystal structure and phases
  • Reflection and transmission analysis
  • Able to handle specialty samples (flat, thin-layer slurry, flow-through, air-sensitive)
 Table-top electron microscope with EDS system
  • Hitachi TableTop SEM (scanning electron microscope) TM3000
  • Bruker QUANTAX 70 Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometer (EDS) provides qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis of all solid materials
  • Magnification: 15-30,000 x
  • Detection range: boron (5) to americium (95)
Aqueous Analysis LaboratoryICP-OES: Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry
  • Thermo Scientific  iCAP 6300 with auto sampler
  • Analysis and quantification of major and minor cations and trace elements
  • Analyzes up to 66 different elements with sub-ppb detection limits
 Capillary ion chromatograph system
  • Dionex ICS-5000 with auto sampler
  • State-of-the-art 4-µm capillary column with high pressure capability
  • Analysis of anions and organic acids (proteins, nucleotides, and amino acids)
 Flow injection analysis (FIA) spectrophotometer
  • Lachat QuikChem 8500 with auto sampler
  • Automated spectrophotometric, colorimetric assays for alkalinity, soluble silicate, soluble Fe, total P, ortho P, total Kjeldhal N, sulfide, and amino acids
 HPLC coupled to atomic fluorescence (HPLC-UV-HG-AFS)
  • Agilent HPLC used in conjunction with the Millennium Excalibur
  • Provides speciation information in addition to total analysis
  • Selenium species: selenocystine, selenomethionine, selenite and selenite
 Organic C, Total N Analyzer
  • Shimadzu TOC-LCPH/CPN with auto injector
  • Measures organic C (TOC), TC, IC, and total N with concentrations from 4 µg/L to 30,000 mg/L
  • State-of-the-art 680°C combustion catalytic oxidation method
  • Analysis of samples ranging from ultra-pure water to sea water or highly contaminated samples
Biogeochemical Kinetics LaboratoryBatch reactors, flow-through reactors, chemostats, and soil column systemsCustom-built experimental systems designed to measure rates of biogeochemical reactions, fluxes and pathways.
 Soil CO2 flux analyzer

LI-8100 Automated Soil Flux System

interfaced with the LI-8150 Multiplexer, allowing users to monitor up to 16 chambers simultaneously.

 Micro-respiration systemMicroResp™ is a microplate-based respiration system that enables the user to analyze up to 96 soil, sediment or water samples on a single, compact plate.
 Micro- and mini-electrodes 
GeomicrobiologyAlgae culturing 
 Aerobic/Anaerobic bacterial culturing 
 Molecular testing (PCR, electrophoresis, DGGE, gel imaging) 
 Bright field epifluorescence microscopy 
AdditionalA variety of environmentally controlled chambers, including a walk-in unit