Arizona Climate and Ecosystems (ACE) Isotope Laboratory
Who we are:
The Arizona Climate and Ecosystems (ACE) Isotope Laboratory was established and supported by Northern Arizona University (NAU), the National Science Foundation, and others to advance research by NAU scientists and other investigators.
The ACE Isotope Lab supports an interdisciplinary group of researchers in ecosystem science, climate science, and geochronology. Our group has a particular interest in the Arctic, one of the most rapidly changing regions on Earth that has an outsized influence on the whole Earth system.
The lab measures isotopes of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen found in air, water, soils, sediments, and organisms to help answer urgent questions about our changing climate and the impacts on ecosystems and people.
What we measure:
The ACE Isotope Lab features the Mini Carbon Dating System (MICADAS), the latest technology for analyzing radiocarbon (14C). This versatile accelerator mass spectrometer can measure 14C in samples either as graphite (after sample preparation) or more rapidly as CO2 gas (after purification). Gas analysis allows for a smaller sample size and faster throughput, but at lower precision than traditional graphite analysis.
Stable isotope analysis is performed using continuous flow isotope-ratio mass spectrometers, and the lab features the latest advances in laser spectroscopy. Isotope-ratio mass spectrometers provide high-precision isotope analysis on environmental samples, while laser spectroscopy is portable and deployable at field locations.
Research and education:
ACE Isotope Lab investigators intend to facilitate isotope research across the ecosystem and earth science community. Please contact lab scientists or faculty members to discuss your project ideas and isotope needs. We are excited to collaborate in our core research areas and beyond.
The lab provides educational opportunities at all levels of learning, from undergraduate to advanced graduate and postdoctoral research. Learning occurs through experiential hands-on preparation and running of samples for independent projects, through our radiocarbon summer short course, and as incorporated into other formal NAU classes.