Environmental Health

Microbial Biogeochemistry Laboratory

About the Laboratory

Microbiologists at the Microbial Biogeochemistry Laboratory develop and apply innovative methods to measure key microbial processes. These methods are used to better understand how major biogeochemical cycles (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and iron) interact with and control the speciation and fate of metals like mercury and selenium which can impact the health of humans and other organisms.

USGS scientist collecting samples of aquatic species from the Pike River, Wis., for later analysis of mercury contamination.

Microbial Biogeochemistry Laboratory — Menlo Park, California. USGS scientist collecting samples of aquatic species from the Pike River, Wis., for later analysis of mercury contamination.

(Public domain.)

Key Analytical Capabilities

  • Measurement of microbial reaction rates using isotopic tracer methods
  • Mercury speciation in a range of matrices
  • Nutrients and Trace metals
  • Chemical speciation and quantification of major biogeochemical cycle constituents associated with carbon, sulfur, iron and nitrogen

 

Key Instrumentation

  • Quadrupole Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS)
  • Ion, liquid and gas chromatography
  • Total mercury analyzer
  • Methylmercury analyzer
  • Nutrient analyzer
  • Total carbon analyzer (with 13C isotopes)
  • Radioactive tracer laboratory and capabilities

 

Contacts

Mark Marvin-DiPasquale, PhD

Research Microbiologist
USGS Water Mission Area, Earth Systems Processes Division
Phone: 650-329-4442

Michael Focazio, PhD

Environmental Health Program Coordinator
Ecosystems
Phone: 703-648-6808

Geoffrey Plumlee, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist
Office of the Director
Phone: 703-648-6403