Inside the CIEE Lab

The lab at CIEE Research Station Bonaire features a wide assortment of scientific equipment for use in student research projects and classwork. In the lab our students study marine science on the micro scale to complement the macro scale observations they make in the field. By dissecting lionfish or zooming in 300xs to see plankton under a microscope students learn a lot of things that they cannot see otherwise!

One important skill students learn in the lab is how to find and measure nutrients in seawater and freshwater. For fast results we can use one of our La Motte water quality kits, which measure levels of nitrogen, salinity, and pH on a color-coded comparison chart. If the students want to have a really accurate measurement of the nutrients that are floating around in the water sample, they can choose our fluorometer or spectrophotometer. A fluorometer is a compact instrument used for measuring fluorescence, absorbance, and turbidity, while the spectrophotometer measures dissolved nutrients using the absorbance of light. The spectrophotometer in our lab can be used for DNA analysis also! How interesting is that! Our lab also features the basic equipment needed to do research on DNA samples.

Currently, we have several laboratory experiments underway in the CIEE lab. First, we have an ongoing groundwater quality experiment, which utilizes the La Motte kits to estimate water nutrient levels in samples taken throughout the island of Bonaire. Secondly, our lionfish eDNA experiment explores the duration of lionfish eDNA in water samples. Finally, a sedimentation experiment is focused on responses in upside-down jelly (cassiopea) pulsation rates due to increased water turbidity.

Although the CIEE Research Station lab is located on an island and not at a university, safety is still our first priority! Working with chemicals in our lab means you need at least gloves, a lab coat and closed-toed shoes. We also have always a staff member sitting in the lab to guarantee the best and most useful help there is!

I hope you enjoyed this topic!!

Our very own Dutch lab intern, Martijn Koot

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