Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Lab equipment making research possible in the Phillippines

Dr John Herbohn (University of the Sunshine Coast) stands outside the 
ACIAR-CFES Lab at Visayas State University 

The Analytical Laboratory
A modern, well-equipped analytical laboratory has been established within the College of Forestry and Environmental Sciences at Visayas State University (VSU).  It’s part of an ACIAR project aimed at Improving Watershed Rehabilitation Outcomes in the Philippines.  Lab operations are jointly overseen by Dr Angela S. Almendas-Ferraren (Department of Soil Science, VSU) and Dr Bob Congdon (James Cook University) and are
a vital aspect of the project. A full-time assistant has been employed and the lab has the capacity to analyze all soil, plant and water samples collected by research staff and graduate students working on the project. The lab is also available for use by other research students, filling a gap in analytical capacity at VSU. 

Equipment in the lab includes an atomic absorption spectrophotometer; SpectraMax Plus384 Microplate Reader, block digesters, water deionizer, drying ovens and two permeameters. The laboratory is capable of undertaking analyses of pH and total organic carbon, N, P, Ca Mg and K of soil and water samples and can also measure the water infiltration capacity of soils. Available P, exchangeable Al and Na, cation exchange capacity and soil texture will soon be included in the analyses.

Laboratory permeameter fabricated by VSU engineer

Eijkelkamp 09.02

Capacity of 34 core soil samples

For soil Infiltration determination
Field equipment
In addition to the laboratory this project has invested significantly in important field equipment that is not available elsewhere in the Philippines.  The field equipment includes a plant canopy analyser to measure leaf area index, a portable leaf scanner and three laser hypsometers. The Project also has equipment for field monitoring including 20 soil moisture probes, lysimeters and two meteorological stations.  Also, the project has a range of other essential field equipment including soil augers, light meters, self-recording data loggers for temperature and relative humidity measurement, tree increment borers, bark thickness gauge, digital calipers, diameter tapes, compasses and three GPS receivers.  A LICOR portable infrared gas analyser with a LED light source and fluorescence attachment for measuring plant parameters is also available. 

Improving Watershed Rehabilitation Outcomes in the Philippines Using a Systems Approach. ACIAR ASEM 2010/050

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