Today's launch of a new Stable Isotope Facility Laboratory at The University of Western Australia opens new avenues of research, such as improved water management, understanding of climate change and the formation of gold deposits, and the identification of illegal ivory and corals.
The stable isotope facility is housed in the UWA-based Western Australian Biogeochemistry Centre, and is one of only a handful of laboratories in Australia which provides a research service for academics, industry and government interested in stable isotope chemistry. The WABC is a key collaborator in the John de Laeter Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry in partnership with Curtin University of Technology, Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO.
WABC Director, Dr Pauline Grierson, said the new laboratory offered considerable potential for collaborations in hydrology, ecology and geology, as well as with mining companies and water management agencies.
The bigger and fully refurbished laboratory was urgently needed owing to the recent success of the WABC in attracting funding from the Australian Research Council for new instrumentation, which in turn has been driven by increasing demand for isotope analyses. The Centre is critical to the research needs of a diverse and multi-disciplinary group including animal biologists, plant ecologists, ecohydrologists, medical researchers, and forensic, palaeoclimate and marine scientists.
An initiative that will gather much of its data from the Centre and its new laboratory was also launched at UWA today. The Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Initiative is a collaborative research initiative within the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences that brings together research focussed on microbially-mediated processes from the Soil Biology, Ecosystems Research, and Hydro-Environmental Systems groups.