Lakefront Learning Laboratory - Pontchartrain Conservancy

Lakefront Learning Laboratory

L.A.M.P.S. : Lakefront Algae and MicroPlastics Scientists

Training Modules Website

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Welcome to the Lakefront Learning Laboratory, this webpage contains informational videos on sample collection and analysis for studying Water Quality in the Pontchartrain Basin. Bring in your water samples and lets shine a light on pollution to discover what's going on at your favorite places. Participants in this program are encouraged to sample at locations that are important to them, and bring attention to it!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are providing our training videos for our Community Scientists. You can also use these videos to refresh or touch up on laboratory procedures as needed.

This website has three (3) sections describing each of the laboratory procedures to complete for the analysis of each sample: salinity, chlorophyll (algae), and microplastics.

It is a requirement to enroll in our program to participate. Please ensure you have completed a waiver and enrollment form prior to collecting any water for analysis.  If you are unsure of completing these forms, please send an email to: waterquality@scienceforourcoast.org.

Table of Contents

Workshop Video

Sample Collection


Equipment


  • 2 x Field Sample (1000 mL Bottle)
  • Protective Gloves
  • Sample Collector (Crab Grabber Tongs, etc)
  • Ice Chest

Collection with Tongs (Crab Grabbers)

Collection with Modified Grabber

 

Sample Collection can be conducted anywhere you feel is important for the study of microplastics, salinity and algae. But we do ask you to never sample in a location that you feel is unsafe.  If you have questions or concerns about sampling in potentially unsafe locations, please send an email to waterquality@scienceforourcoast.org for safe sampling tips.

The locations where our Community engages with nature, specifically water, is what we are trying to learn about. To collect a sample in this environment you will need a way to reach the water, it is preferred that you where protective gloves for sampling (vinyl or latex) so as to not contaminate the sample and to keep yourself safe. Please be certain to discard these materials appropriately after use.

Crab Grabbers are very helpful for getting extra reach and maintaining a solid footing, but you can also construct or modify equipment to quickly and safely collect water from a distance. But our main priority is that our scientists remain safe; We would much rather lose a bottle than lose you! For tips and tricks on building your own sampling devices, write to waterquality@scienceforourcoast.org.

Sample Analysis

Filtering a Sample


Equipment


  • Field Sample (1000 mL bottle)
  • Beaker (1000 mL)
  • Grid-Lined Filter Paper
  • Buchner Funnel
  • Magnetically Sealed Amber Cup

 

The Buchner Filter is an amber colored container with a hand pump, as well as a small amber cup attached. This will be used for filtering the water out of your sample.

Using a wide mouthed 1000 mL beaker, pour a portion (<200 mL) of one of your samples into the beaker, and make a note of that volume. Each time the amber cup is filled the volume should be noted.

Place Grid-Lined Filter Paper atop the Buchner Filter followed by the cup, it will magnetically seal to the flask.

Use the pump to draw water from the cup and through the filter.

Remove filter paper, place on petri dish and analyze under the microscope.

Microplastics Identification


Equipment


  • Microscope
  • Petri Dish
  • Grid-Lined Filter Paper (filtered)
  • Plastic Forceps

Once Filtering has been completed, use plastic forceps to transfer the Grid-Lined Filter Paper from the Buchner Filter to a Petri Dish (you will likely have more than one).

Through the microscope you will be looking for the most prominent forms of MicroPlastics:

  • Strands - Colorful and hair like fibers often from Rope
  • Films - Thin plate or sheet like remains of Grocery bags
  • Fragments - small irregularly shaped, often from cups or ice chests
  • Microbeads - spheroid particles found in make-ups and cleaners

Using the Grid to keep track, count the number found of each type of Microplastic. Record the value on the lab sheet to add to the database at the end of analysis.

Meter Analysis

Salinity


Equipment

  • Hanna Instruments 9813-5 Salinity Meter
  • Distilled Water
  • Storage Solution
  • 1000 mL Field Sample
  • 1000 mL Beaker


Using your second Field Sample, pour the contents into the 1000 mL Beaker. Because multiple tests will be preformed we ask that you do not perform analysis within the field bottle.

For measuring Salinity set the HI 9813-5 meter to detect the appropriate value.

  • Immerse the tip of the probe into the sample to be tested.
  • Tap the probe lightly on the bottom of the beaker to remove any air bubbles which may be trapped inside the tip.
  • Select the appropriate measurement range (EC).
  • Wait for a couple of minutes for the temperature sensor to reach thermal equilibrium.
  • The display then shows the measurement (mS) automatically compensated for temperature.

Fluorometer


Equipment


  • FluoroQuik Thermal Fluorometer
  • Cuvette
  • Soft Cloth
  • Pipette
  • 1000 mL Field Sample
  • 1000 mL Beaker

 

Using a pipette, you will fill a clean cuvette with a portion of fresh distilled water. Place this cuvette into the FlouroQuik Fluorometer and select 'Blank' to clear the meter.

Upon blanking the meter place one cuvette containing water from your field sample into the cuvette and press 'Measure'. Record these results on your lab sheet.