Services Provided

Services Provided

Following are examples of the various sampling, analytical and technically oriented services that the Lake Superior Research Institute can provide.

Chemical Analysis of Environmental Samples

Metal analyses (i.e., mercury, copper, cadmium, zinc, magnesium, chromium, arsenic, lead, manganese, iron, nickel, selenium, and silver).
Inorganic chemical analyses (i.e., ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, chloride, and sulfate).
Measurements of acid volatile sulfides (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM), total and dissolved organic carbon, and grain size for sediment samples.
Fluorescence measurements of chlorophyll a concentrations in water and soil samples.
Sample preparation designed to address quality assurance/quality control standards.
Laboratory instruments available for analyses include: flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer, graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometer, mercury analyzer, gas chromatograph, high pressure liquid chromatograph, ultraviolet spectrophotometer, organic carbon analyzer, analytical balances.
Analyses of major classes of organic compounds in cooperation with Pace Analytical.

Continuing Environmental Education

Provide educational workshops utilizing various Data Processing and GIS technologies.
Train elementary and secondary educational teachers in the development and implementation of a watershed curriculum for the classroom.
Teach secondary educational students on how to use field equipment and analyze collected data.
Identify field equipment and supplies needed to provide environmental educational programs and make these resources available.
Train college students in the areas of water quality, field biology, ecology, taxonomy, environmental toxicology, environmental microbiology, and analytical chemistry through laboratory and field experiences.
Provide training requirements for staff and students participating in navigational activities onboard research vessel (i.e., field health and safety training, first aid, boat handling and seamanship, use of vessel sampling equipment).

Data Management, Data Processing, and Data Distribution Services

Extensive inventory of packaged and customized software packages for various data storage, processing, and analytical needs.
Large inventory of hardware including several computer workstations, a high storage dedicated server, plotters, and full web site capability.
Experienced, qualified personnel to provide full data processing, database design and management, programming, application design, data distribution, and internet services.

Field Sampling

Large (58-foot) vessel, the R/V L. L. Smith, Jr., available for trawling and sediment sampling on portions of Lake Superior.
Vessel equipped with dredges, sediment core samplers, plankton nets, trawls, radar, and GPS.
Three small research boats (16-18 feet) equipped with 20-25 horsepower motors for sampling water, sediment, plankton, fish, and benthic invertebrates within harbors and inland lakes.
Full-sized, crew-cab, pick-up truck, and mini vans.
Staff trained in data collection of air quality monitoring devices.

Geographic Information Systems/Predictive Modeling

GIS compliant database application describing the composition of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and benthic invertebrate communities in the Great Lakes.
Spatial analyses of population distribution data.
Use of statistical software packages (i.e., Systat®, SigmaStat®) for analyses and data reduction of environmental research endpoints.

Quality Assurance/Quality Control Program

Adherence to a LSRI general QA plan addressing the objectives of precision, bias, representativeness, completeness, accuracy, sensitivity, and comparability to ensure the generation of quality scientific data for all research projects.
Use of internal quality control checks for field and laboratory activities (i.e., replicates, spikes, procedural/reagent blanks, calibration standards, certified standard reference materials, control charts, establishment of instrument and method detection limits).
Comprehensive standard operating procedures for all aspects of field and laboratory activities (i.e., personnel, record keeping, quality assurance, animal care/test systems, neurobehavioral toxicology, aquatic toxicology, ecological modeling, field studies, general lab maintenance, test substances, sample analysis and processing).
Annual training workshops on "Good Laboratory Practices" (GLP) principles.
Development of chain-of-custody and data forms to ensure proper documentation of samples and measurements.
Several customized data processing steps and procedures have been designed to insure the accuracy and integrity of all LSRI data populating the various databases. These include controlling checks on all data entry forms, and several processing, outlier, and data integrity checks on all data before distribution.

Taxonomy and Collection of Biological Samples

Identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates and general environmental monitoring from all types of freshwater habitats.
Identification of zooplankton organisms (cladocerans, copepods, rotifers).
Collection of quantitative and qualitative samples of aquatic macroinvertebrates and zooplankton.
Design expertise in macroinvertebrate and zooplankton sampling regimes, statistical analyses, and data interpretation.
Use of digitizing equipment with photographic capabilities for measuring macroinvertebrates and zooplankton along with archiving sample images.
Identification and collection of plants, both invasive and native.

Toxicity Testing

Capability of performing 10- to 28-day solid phase sediment toxicity tests using the Sediment Testing Intermittent Renewal (STIR) System and 3-8 replicates with a maximum of 50 treatments.
Culturing of aquatic benthic organisms (Hyalella azteca, Chironomus dilutus (formerly tentans), and Lumbriculus variegatus) for use in solid phase sediment toxicity tests.
Experimental design capability for conducting solid phase sediment toxicity tests with ultraviolet lighting.
Expertise in conducting 28-day bioaccumulation sediment toxicity tests.
Proficiency in performing 7-day static renewal sediment elutriate tests with Ceriodaphnia dubia, Daphnia magna, and Pimephales promelas (all organisms cultured in LSRI's facilities).
Experience in conducting 7-day solid phase sediment toxicity tests with larval Pimephales promelas.
Capability of conducting 10- to 28-day solid phase soil toxicity tests with Eisenia fetida.
Capability of  flow-through or static renewal water-only acute and chronic toxicity tests with the following additional test species: Lepomis macrochirus, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Selenastrum capicornutum, and Lemna minor.