Mercury Research Laboratory

Field Capabilities

With over 30 years of experience in all types of terrain, the MRL Team can assist you in collecting samples almost anywhere.  Need some runoff from a steep mountain slope or cliff? Surface sediments and overlying water at the bottom of an 80-meter-deep lake? Interstitial waters from an Alaskan peat bog? Zooplankton from the Great Lakes? We’ve been there, done that, and we’ll help you do the same.

The USGS MRL has a comprehensive inventory of field equipment for collecting trace-metal clean samples.  Many of these items are commercially available, but others are custom built for specific applications. We can help you source these items for your own inventory or provide the equipment for short-term sampling campaigns.  Below is a partial list of commonly used items. 

 

Water

Teflon Tubing (1 to 100 m) for collecting water at depth

Peristaltic Pumps (battery Powered) for collecting water at depth

In-line Filter Cartridges (reusable or single use) for separating particulates in the field

Filter Chambers for separating particulates from whole-water grab samples

Vacuum Pumps for drawing down filter chambers

Go-Flo Bottles for triggered capture of whole-water at great depths

Pore-water Sippers for collection of interstitial water in high-porosity substrate

Rain Collectors for automated sampling with precipitation events

DH-81 for depth & flow-weighted sampling in wadable streams

ISCO Samplers for automated sampling with time

High-Capacity Well Pump for large volume collection

 

Sediments/Soils

Coring Device for sediment depth profiles

Ekman Dredge for surface sediment grabs

Sediment Traps for time-integrated collection of settling material in lakes

 

Biota/Vegetation

Plankton Nets for collecting waterborne invertebrates

Screens & Tweezers for sieving and picking biota

Ceramic Knives for cutting vegetation or filleting fish without contamination

Liquid Nitrogen Dewar for flash freezing microbial DNA samples

 

Sample Containers

Teflon or Glass Bottles (reusable) from 30 ml to 6 L capacity

PETG Bottles (single use) from 60 ml to 6 L capacity

Poly Jars (single use) for sediment and biota

LDPE Bags (single use) for vegetation

Teflon Bags (reusable) for air sampling or water incubations.

Teflon or Glass Vials (reusable) for water, sediments and biota

Teflon or Poly Petri Dishes (reusable or single use) for particulate mercury and SPM filters

 

Insitu Measurements

Flow-thru Cell for conductivity, pH, DO, and temperature

Multi-Probe Sonde for major water quality parameters

C3 Submersible Fluorometer for Turbidity, Chlorophyll and CDOM

HOBO Loggers for automatic depth and temperature readings

Pan Balances (battery operated) for determining mass

Light Meters for photodecomposition experiments

Tekran® 2505 Mercury Vapor Primary Calibration Unit

Tekran® 1130 Oxidized Mercury Speciation Module for air

DGM Flow-Through Cell for Dissolved Gaseous Mercury Measurements

 

Field Experiments

Purging Equipment for maintaining anoxia

Quartz Reaction Vessels (small and large) for photochemical processes

Gold Traps for capturing gaseous Hg

Incubation Core Barrels for methylation in sediments

Syringes for injecting isotopic Hg spikes into cores

 

Miscellaneous Gear

Coolers, Tubs, Icepacks for shipping samples and gear

Metered Kevlar Rope for measuring water column depth

Waders, Boots, Survival Jackets for personal protection

Life Vests, Safety Vests, Safety Glasses for personal protection

Gloves for personal and sample protection

Power Tools, Hand Tools for construction and repair of field equipment

 

Don’t see what you are looking for? Reach out to mercury@usgs.gov -- we just might have it tucked away.

 

Instructions for Sample Collection

 

How to collect a water sample for mercury analysis 

 

Standard Filtration Procedure for water samples