The workshop offers the tools and equipment to build custom-designed sensors for environmental monitoring and research. Using Arduino technology, the workshop facilitates the creation and development of data logging instruments and their deployment in the environment. Materials and tools available include:
- Soldering irons
- Hand and power tools
- 3D printer
- Arduino hardware
- Printed circuit boards and breadboards for designing custom circuitry
- Sensory components including meteorological sensors, and air, water, and soil quality sensors
- Communications components, eg Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G
Geospatial equipment: a recent significant investment has been made towards upgrading laboratory geospatial equipment. This equipment is used alongside global field campaigns to provide accurate location and survey data in a wide range of situations / environments and can be used for both teaching and research:
- Trimble R8s GNSS receivers.
- A high accuracy dGPS system comprising a tripod mounted base station and rover unit, suitable for global deployment
- Trimble Geo7x handheld dGPS unit
- This GPS received real time correction data based on access to the Trimble VRS subscription service.
- Trimble Catalyst portable GPS units
- An external antenna powered by an on-demand subscription based smartphone app to give decimeter accuracy.
- Geoslam Zeb REVO portable terrestrial lidar
- A portable laser scanner, capable of producing accurate 3D point clouds of features within minutes.
- Garmin Etrex30x portable GPS units.
- Handheld waterproof GPS units.
- Trimble M3 total station
- Used to determine coordinates of unknown points based on offset angles and distances from known locations.
Field kit: the lab has a wide range of field equipment available for use to support and promote safe field research and teaching activities. This includes:
- Site access equipment
- Chest waders and wellington boots
- Buoyancy aids and gas lifejackets
- Helmets, high visibility jackets
- Survey equipment
- Compasses, clinometers
- Tape measures, laser levels, Abney levels
- Automatic levels (dumpy levels)
- Sampling, Monitoring and Photography equipment
- Soil and sediment corers (Russian, gouge)
- Increment tree borers
- Spades, trowels
- Soil shear vane
- Mini disk infiltrometers
- Bulk density rings
- Soil moisture sensors
- Munsell soil colour charts
- Sports cameras (GoPro)
- AudioMoth acoustic sensors
- Camera traps and hemispherical photography equipment
- Drones (DJI Mavic Mini, DJI Spark, DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Phantom 4 Pro)
- Field water quality probes (pH, Dissolved Oxygen, Electrician Conductivity, Redox potential, Nitrate concentration, temperature)
- Portable Kestrel weather stations, wind vanes and anemometers
The analytical chemistry lab contains a suite of instruments for measuring the chemical components of soil, sediments, and water, as detailed below. The laboratory has a complement of sample preparation equipment; including sample ovens, muffle furnace, vacuum desiccation chambers, analytical balances, fume cupboards, centrifuges, ultra-high quality deionized water, ultrasonic and heated water baths.
Thermo Aquion (Ion Chromatography): Used for analysis of common Anions (Fluoride; Chloride; Nitrite; Nitrate; Bromide; Phosphate; Sulfate) and Cations (Lithium; Sodium; Ammonium; Potassium; Magnesium; Calcium) in river water, wastewater and other aqueous samples.
Shimadzu TOC/N (including solid sample unit): The TOC-L provides precise and accurate measurements of Carbon (TC, IC, TOC, NPOC) and Nitrogen (TN) in aqueous samples and suspensions via combustion and chemiluminescence. The lab also has a solid sample combustion unit, allowing Carbon (total and inorganic) measurements in solid samples.
Niton XL5 (X-Ray Fluorescence): The XRF is capable of rapid, non-destructive analysis of concentrations of inorganic elements (Magnesium - Uranium) in a wide variety of samples (soils, sediment, metal, rock, dust). The unit is portable and can be used in the field or laboratory.
Thermo Genesys 50 (Spectrophotometer): The Genesys 50 is a scanning dual-beam UV-VIS (190 – 1100nm) spectrophotometer capable of 0.2 nm increment absorption / transmission measurements. Integrated touchscreen provides rapid data screening and wavelength detection.
Malvern Mastersizer 2000 (Particle Size Analysis): The Mastersizer 2000 uses laser diffraction to measure suspended particle sizes from 0.02 µm to 2000 µm.
The lab has a wide range of instruments that can be borrowed to measure meteorological conditions. These include low cost portable weather stations to permanently deployed research grade units (see below for roof deployed units). There is also the opportunity to design and build a meteorological instrument to particular specifications in the workshop, including a variety of components to measure and log.
- Data loggers
- Rain gauges (standard and tipping bucket)
- Wind vane
- The Strand Roof
The lab also has a permanently deployed calibration weather station on the college roof. This experiment includes comparing the measurements made between four weather stations of differing quality, to measure accuracy and precision of each. Deployed equipment, in descending value:
- Young anemometer and wind vane, tipping bucket etc. Campbell scientific datalogger.
- Vaisala WXT530 (rainfall, wind speed and direction, air pressure, temperature and humidity)
- Netatmo smart weather station (rainfall, wind speed and direction, air pressure, temperature and humidity)
- Low cost Arduino based weather station (rainfall, wind speed and direction, air pressure, temperature and humidity)
The lab is equipped with a dedicated microscopy area equipped with multiple stereomicroscopes, compound and cross polarized light microscopes. These are used in a wide range of ecological (macroinvebrate), microplastic and pollen research.
- Leica MZ9.5 Stereomicroscope
- Leica DM LB2 high power microscope
- Leica DM-EP Polarizing Microscope System
- Multiple stereomicroscopes
- WinRhizo system, used for measurement of root system area and structure
- CID CI-203 and conveyor for leaf area measurements
For ecological field study in aquatic environments, the lab has a large supply of nets and tools for the safe collection and identification of invertebrates.
The lab has a dedicated growth room with recently upgraded LED growth lights.