Gulf Ecology Division
Bld. 47/49 - Marine Ecology Laboratory
Buildings 47 and 49 (Marine Ecology Laboratory) are joined facilities that house the majority of GED's ecosystems effects research and GED's warehouse. The 8500 square foot building has 23 rooms of laboratory research space and research support areas such as a sterile transfer room, a radioisotope laboratory, a darkroom, a staging area for research cruises, and two sterilization rooms.
Research in this laboratory building focuses on characterizing and understanding environmental problems as they relate to nutrient enrichment of coastal waters and wetlands and the biochemical responses of higher organisms to anthropogenic stressors.
- Developing nutrient load-response models for estuarine and coastal waters including the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico
- Investigating the potential of microbial metagenomic approaches for ecosystem monitoring
- Developing protein expression profiling as a means to screen chemicals for pathway specific toxicity using small fish species.
A Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometer is used for measurements of N2/Ar and
O2/Ar for determining sediment denitrification and oxygen flux rates.
The building contains laboratories for determining
the concentrations of nutrients in water and
sediment samples. Instrumentation available includes
an automated nutrient analyzer, a CHN
analyzer, and a Total Organic Carbon analyzer.
The Biogeochemistry lab is equipped for wet chemical analysis of sediments. Molecular biological research focused on determining the ecological condition of near coastal waters is conducted in this laboratory. Here genomic techniques used in microbial ecology such as gene cloning and polymerase chain reaction are routinely performed.
Using real-time PCR, shown above,
DNA amplification can be monitored in real-time
through the use of fluorescent reporter molecules
whose signal increases in direct proportion
to the amount of the specific amplicon
produced during the reaction. This technique
can be used to estimate the copies
of specific microbial genes in an environmental sample.
A Bio-Rad time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF-MS) utilizes SELDI and MALDI (Surface Enhanced and Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization) technology to measure proteins and peptides in biological samples in the Proteomics lab.
The Beckman Biomek 2000 Workstation facilitates liquid handling procedures to ensure quality control in high-throughput processing of biological samples applied to SELDI ProteinChips. Addition of an energy absorbing molecule to biological samples applied to SELDI ProteinChips enables protein and peptide ionization for mass spectrometry analysis.