From the field to the vial

The project that I’m doing this summer is actually a continuation of work I’ve done since last September, and it builds off of fieldwork that a Ph.D. student in my lab completed in the summers of 2015 and 2016. Here’s the rundown of everything that’s happened so far:

A sediment core, a bit over half a meter long, was taken from the bottom of Little Sugarloaf Lake in southwest Greenland.






Many plant samples were collected from offshore, alongside a handful of aquatic plants and plankton growing in the lake.










The plants and sediment core were shipped from Greenland to our lab on the Evanston campus, frozen, and stored.










Since September, I’ve freeze-dried and solvent-extracted the plants, developed a method for filtering and chemically separating the extracted compounds, and prepared the extracts for analysis. 









Step by step, I’ve been working to prepare the samples for analysis (via gas chromatography/mass spectrometryGC-MSand isotope ratio mass spectrometryIRMS). Only after those measurements are complete will I be able to reach any conclusions about Little Sugarloaf Lake’s paleoenvironment.