Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Samples Repository- Facilities

The USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center's Samples Repository is co-located on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Quissett Campus at 384 Woods Hole Road in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

The K.O. Emery Geotechnical Wing serves as the primary storage location for all geological, biological, and geochemical samples collected through USGS research, or in the permanent custody of the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center (Buczkowski, 2018). Local storage facilities within the Geotechnical Wing consist of walk-in refrigerated and frozen cold rooms, ambient (dry) temperature storage, as well as an analysis and sampling facility. These temperature-controlled and closely monitored facilities have been partially built into a hillside to maximize insulation and efficiency. Both rooms are equipped with rolling storage racks which maximize available space for sediment and subsample storage, and allow for future expansion as collections grow.

The Samples Repository was officially formed in 2002 to formally catalog and organize these geologic, geochemical, and biological collections, and establish protocols for their preservation and access. 

The refrigerated cold room measures 774.5 square feet, and maintains a storage temperature of +4º Celsius (+39º Fahrenheit). Our freezer, measuring 420 square feet, maintains a storage temperature of –20º Celsius (-4º Fahrenheit). These temperature-controlled and closely monitored facilities have been partially built into a hillside to maximize insulation and efficiency, and are designed to exclude the ambient environment, as fluctuations in air temperature and humidity can degrade the viability of the samples for geological, geochemical, and biological research, and promote organic growth on and in the samples. Both rooms are equipped with rolling storage racks which maximize available space for sediment and subsample storage, and allow for future expansion as collections grow. Core racks and mobile storage carts are also available.

The adjoining sample preparation and processing area in the Geotechnical Wing provides storage space as well as layout and examination space for subsampling, splitting and photography.

Sample preparation and processing area

Sample preparation and processing area in the K.O. Emery Geotechnical Wing at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole, MA

Organization

Available storage in the Samples Repository is divided into four categories, and each has been assigned an abbreviated code to identify the specific facility and location; our refrigerated space in the K.O. Emery Geotechnical Wing is designated RE01;  frozen storage in the Geotechnical Wing is designated FR01; short-term dry storage available in the sample preparation and processing area is designated LAB; and long-term dry storage of samples is at the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center’s Marine Operations Facility, referred to locally as well as designated here as MOF.

Specific storage within each space in the Geotechnical Wing (RE01, FR01, and LAB) has been further broken down to specify the precise location of sample collections, and to facilitate retrieval.  Discreet shelving units on the rolling storage racks, as well as stationary shelves, core racks, and mobile storage carts have been assigned section numbers.

Sections 01-44 in RE01, 01-26 in FR01, and 01-08 in LAB are shelving units, and each shelf is also numbered, starting at one on the top shelf and continuing downward.

These three components (storage locationsection numberand shelf number [where available]) are combined into a single storage identification number which is assigned to each inventoried sample in the Samples Repository.  As an example, samples stored in our refrigerated space, in section 02, on the third shelf from the top would be given the location identifier RE01.02.03.

Samples Repository storage layout schematic

 Schematic view of storage locations RE01, FR01, and LAB in the K.O. Emery Geotechnical Wing with available sections and their assigned section numbers illustrated.

Sample Processing

The Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center’s Samples Repository provides space and services for processing and sampling of materials and collections.

Cores can be split in-house using a custom-made sediment core splitter, which utilizes two Bosch1 oscillating tools with flush cut blade attachments mounted to a sliding carriage that moves over a stationary sediment core. Cores are cradled on a V-channel, and the oscillating tools can be adjusted to fit a variety of core liner diameters. Rock samples can be cut and trimmed using a Dewalt1 D24000 1.5-Horsepower 10-inch wet tile saw.

Sample photography uses a Nikon1 D90 SLR camera mounted to the ceiling directly above the layout table in the sample preparation area. This camera is connected to a designated computer workstation and can be controlled using Nikon1 software Camera Control Pro 2. Photographs are directly downloaded to this workstation, and can be edited, spliced together and incorporated into the open source data visualization software suite CoreWall, which combines core photographs, descriptions, and derived analytical data.

Contacts

Brian Buczkowski

Physical Scientist
Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Phone: 508-457-2361