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Research & Labs

Our Specialized Research Laboratories

This 400 sq. ft facility housed on the second floor of DeLoach Hall (RM 215) is intended for faculty and graduate student research. The room houses a Leica M165C research-grade binocular microscope and a Leica DM2700P with attachable Leica DFC 450 camera as well as a Leica DMEP research-grade stereo microscopes. The room also hosts a fume hood for zircon grain separation and sample preparation, a magnetic separator, and a sink and cabinets for storage. Drs. Haproff and Blake supervise the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory. Dr. LaMaskin (Adjunct faculty) provides additional graduate student support for this laboratory.

The COAST Lab is housed at CMS (RM 1301) and is supervised by Dr. Bresnahan. The laboratory includes 520 sq. ft. of research space dedicated to developing and deploying novel technologies for monitoring coastal change. Research includes mechanical and electrical design; fieldwork and data collection, and physical and biogeochemical data analysis. The lab has a stereolithography, resin-based 3D printer for rapid design of field-deployable parts, electronics soldering and rework stations, temperature-controlled waterbath for thermal control and experimentation, an industry-standard carbon dioxide analyzer, a commercial conductivity, temperature, and density (CTD) sensor, a wide range of hand/power tools, and Mac/Windows-based workstations.

Dr. Phil Bresnahan is the coordinator for the Coastal UAS Observatory which is housed at CMS/MARBIONC. The Observatory enables rapid collection of topographic and bathymetric data to quantify, map, monitor, and model complex coastal ecosystem and human-environmental dynamics. Two commercial uncrewed aerial systems, a DJI Matrice 300 RTK and a Freefly Alta X, are used in conjunction with four state-of-the-art remote-sensing platforms to collect data, and a custom-built Dell PC is used to process and visualize data using a suite of geospatial software (ArcGIS, CloudStation, POSPac, Global Mapper, ENVI, and ParseEdge). A MicaSense RedEdge Dual MX ten-band multispectral sensor and a YellowScan Mapper LiDAR scanning system are used in conjunction with a DJI Matrice 300 RTK through skyport adapters. LiteWave Technologies Edge 2-in-1 topo-bathy scanning LiDAR system and a ITRES uCASI 1920 Hyperspectral Sensor are used in tandem with the Freefly Alta X through factory assembled adapters. A Trimble R12i TSC7 Rover Kit for GNSS surveying, a Xylem YSI EXO2 for in-situ water quality monitoring, and a handheld radiometer are also housed in the Coastal UAS Observatory.

This facility is housed at CMS (RM 1312) and is supervised by Dr. Nooner. The laboratory includes 520 sq. ft. of research space dedicated to utilizing geophysical tools and techniques to carry out research in areas with active crustal deformation in both terrestrial and marine settings. A wide range of research is undertaken including instrument development, fieldwork and data collection, and numerical modeling.

Major equipment includes Mac workstations and PC laptops with Matlab, COMSOL finite element software, ArcGIS, Adobe Illustrator, LabView, Gamit/GLOBK, SAC, and Antelope Trillium compact Broadband Seismometer, Paroscientific absolute pressure gauges (for seafloor geodesy), Solinst water level recorders and air pressure recorders, Deadweight tester (for pressure gauge calibration), Ground Penetrating Radar, GPS antennas and receivers, Starfish towed sidescan sonar, Soldering workstation, and a drill press.
Dr. Ralph Mead is the principal investigator of EOGL located at CMS in approximately 500 sq. Ft. space. There is one six-foot fume hood with several benches for wet chemistry. The lab is well equipped for sample preparation with a four-place analytical balance, automated SPE extraction using a Thermo Autotrace, roto-vap, desiccators, Labconco lyophilizer, several freezers, Turbovap evaporator, various glassware and other supplies.  Research in the lab is focused on the cycling of natural organic matter in the coastal zone and understanding the occurrence and fate of anthropogenically derived compounds in the environment.
This facility is housed at CMS (RM 1305) and is supervised by Dr. Lynn Leonard. The laboratory includes 520 sq. ft of research space dedicated to estuarine and marine sedimentology research. This lab is equipped with Sontek, Nortek, and RDI current meters and profilers, assorted data loggers, petite ponar grab samplers, box corers and water level and water quality sensors, and all peripheral sediment prep analysis equipment (ovens, furnace, balance, etc). A separate, 220 sq. ft space hosts a Beckman-Coulter LS 200 Particle Sizer (RM , which is a multi-use instrument housed at CMS and used by geosciences, marine biology, biology, chemistry, environmental science and physics. Additionally, the Ocean Observing Program and buoys have two large labs in the technical wing of CMS (rms) and 3 staff to support this large program (ROVs, buoys, multicorer, CTDs, side scan sonar, imaging, etc.).
Approximately 770 sq.ft. in the Academic Support Building (RM 107) on the east side of campus contains a variety of electrical equipment, work tables, and limited sample storage space for the Geologic Materials Laboratory. The laboratory is located in a secure workroom in the rear of the building. It has a keyed access and is supervised by Dr. David Blake. There is also a lighted, 200 sq. ft. storage building located immediately across from the Geologic Materials Lab on the rear side of the Academic Support Building. The laboratory equipment includes a(n) 18" Covington slab saw, 10" Felker and Highland Park trim saws, 8" Hillquist trim saw, Buehler Isomet 4" low speed trim saw, Redlands 16" horizontal lapping unit, Buehler Ecomet I polisher/grinder, Hillquist cut-off saw and grinder, 6-Ton hydraulic rock splitter, Sepor Jaw Crusher, Spec 8510 alumino-ceramic puck shatterbox, BICO UA V-belt driven pulverizer, BICO VD chipmunk jaw crusher, Highland Park Vi-Bro-Lap, Fisher Scientific ultrasonic cleaner, Buehler vacuum impregnation container and Reliance vacuum pump, Gast Roc-R vacuum pump and air compressor, Speedaire 1 HP 3 Gallon air compressor, Fischer Scientific General Purpose drying oven, Thermolyne Extra-Capacity hotplate, and a variety of collateral tools and supplies. Supporting supplies are housed on benches or in a variety of cabinets that includes one flammable and one acid cabinet. In addition, one fume hood located in the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory in DeLoach Hall is used to facilitate hydrofluoric acid work required to stain rock samples for modal analysis.

Directed by Dr. Peng Gao, is housed on the first floor of DeLoach Hall (RM 104). The lab has four identical servers with AMD EPYC 77029 64 – Core Processor, 256 GB RAM, and 4 TB hard disk, two desktops with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-12700 and 32 GB RAM, and one desktop with 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-12700 and 64 RAM.

The lab is supervised by Dr. Yalei You. The major equipment in the lab is the high-powered computer with 60 CPUs (capable of processing 1TB data in a day). We collect, archive, and analyze observations from 10+ satellites on a daily basis. These data are used to (1) improve the satellite precipitation estimation to better monitor the high-impact weather systems (e.g, Hurricanes, and Mesoscale Convective System), and (2) study the precipitation trend in the satellite era (~1980 to current).
The purpose of LACR is to facilitate research in applied climatology of island and coastal environments, continuing the strong tradition of marine and coastal research at UNCW.  Facilities and equipment include computer and software resources, meteorological instruments, GPS and mapping equipment, climate data for the southeastern United States and the Caribbean, and a library of North American surface weather charts.
This facility includes 520 sq. ft. of space dedicated to studying the impacts of earth and ocean processes on the seafloor through time. The lab is located at CMS (RM 1309) and is supervised by Dr. Shannon Klotsko. The major instruments operated by the lab or shared with the EOS department are an Edgetech 512i Chirp subbottom profiler, an Edgetech 4200 sidescan sonar, an Edgetech 424 Chirp subbottom profiler, an Ocean Instruments 3500 vibracore, and a backpack vibracore. The lab has workbenches, tools, glassware, a microscope, sieves, and other items for sediment analysis or required for field campaigns. The lab also has multiple high-powered computers for data processing and analysis.
This facility includes 520 sq. ft. of space is dedicated to the study of the fate and transport of naturally occurring organic matter in aquatic systems. The laboratory is housed at CMS (RM 2302) and is supervised by Dr. Ai Ning Loh. The lab is fully equipped for the extraction, purification and detection of solvent-extractable organic molecules, and for the analysis of dissolved and particulate C, N and P. In addition, the lab also includes equipment for sample collection (field pumps, vacuum pumps, peristaltic pumps, filter manifolds, benthic chambers) and sample preparation (balances, furnace, oven, shaker table, centrifuge, sonicator). Small field equipment such as a light meter, YSI, HOBO sensors, box corer, GPS, depth sounder and tools are also available. The lab has several -20°C freezers, one deep freezer (-80°C) and one temperature-controlled incubator.

Located in the Center for Marine Science, this facility is equipped with a Bruker GC-MS/MS and Sciex LC-MS/MS (4000). The GC-MS/MS has both electron and chemical ionization sources (both modes) and the capability for liquid and headspace injections using the static headspace analyzer. The LC-MS/MS has a 400 bar pump with solvent degasser, thermostated column compartment and autoinjector. The atmospheric pressure ionization source can be operated in both positive and negative modes under ESI and APCI conditions.  Additional computer workstations are available for data analysis. Dr. Ralph Mead is the coordinator of the facility.

The Paleoenvironmental Change Laboratory (520 sq. ft) is supervised by Dr. Chad Lane and housed at CMS (RM 1308). The lab includes two large fume hoods, binocular scopes, desktop centrifuges, a rotary evaporator, refrigeration, ovens, furnaces, and an assortment of glassware and other supplies for fossil pollen, charcoal, stable isotope, microfossil, biomarker and a variety of other geochemical analyses. Research in this laboratory focuses on broad spectrum paleoecological and paleoclimate reconstructions using sediments and soils from terrestrial lakes and ponds as well as coastal lagoons and bays.
This facility (676 sq. ft.) is located on the second floor of DeLoach Hall (RM 222/224A). The lab is equipped with eleven Olympus BH-2 petrographic microscopes, ten Leica Dm EP petrographic microscopes, three Olympus BX 50 petrographic microscopes, one Olympus BX-60 (1.25x, 2.5x, 5x, 10x, 60x capabilities) research microscope, an AMScope MU1000-HS digital camera and laptop computer, a Hillquist Grinder and Cutoff Saw for thin section making, several tons of global rock and mineral hand samples in the Petrology Collection, and corresponding thin sections. Thin section production can be completed in DeLoach Hall 224A as well as in the Geologic Materials Laboratory.
The RSRL, directed by Dr. Eman Ghoneim, is housed on the first floor of DeLoach Hall (RM 115B). This area houses 3 graduate students and serves as a research facility for specialized training of contracted students from private industries. This research lab is equipped with 6 workstations with ESRI site license capabilities (ArcGIS-Arc 10.2), ENVI (5.1) and a B&W laser printer. Yvonne Marsan, the departmental lab technician, helps maintain the equipment in this space.
This facility includes 520 sq. ft. of space dedicated to short- (storms, tsunamis, earthquakes) and long-term (glacial isotatic adjustment) changes in relative sea level. The laboratory is housed at CMS (RM 1310) and is supervised by Dr. Andrea Hawkes. The lab includes 3 research-grade (two Leica and one Olympus) binocular microscopes, one with high-resolution HD digital imaging capabilities. The lab also includes microfossil, sediment analysis, and dating sample preparation equipment (sieves, slides, chemicals, beakers, wet and dry splitters, etc) and small field equipment such as a laser total station, YSI, HOBO pressure sensors, Ekman grab sampler, Castaway CTD, samples bags and vials, GPS and depth sounders, and tools. Additionally, the lab has an internal cold storage facility (150 sq. ft) in room 1343 to store sediment samples and cores (archive and working halves); this room is on back-up generator power. Large field equipment is stored in an exterior dry storage unit behind CMS and includes russian, gouge and vibracores, rods, vibrating motor, generators, hoses, tripods, core sleeves and caps.

Dr. Shannon Klotsko supervises the Sediment Analysis Core Facility housed at CMS. This is a shared use facility with two particle size analyzers—a Beckman Coulter LS 13 320 Laser Diffraction Particle Size Analyzer and a a Camsizer XT Particle Grain Analyzer. For more information, please see

The laboratory is a 720 sq. ft. room located on the second floor of DeLoach Hall (RMS 217/218). The lab is equipped for grain size and compositional analyses, wet chemistry, and water filtration. Specific analytical equipment includes glassware, drying ovens, top- loading and analytical balances, muffle furnaces, distilled water, sieves, sieve shakers, centrifuge, acid hoods, hydrometers, magnetic stirrers, hotplates, vacuum pumps and filtration apparatus.

This facility, directed by Dr. Joanne Halls, is housed in Sartarelli Hall and is equipped with several computers having an ESRI site license for undergraduate and graduate student research, ENVI, IDRISI Selva, MATLAB, and ModFlow software.  The Spatial Analysis Lab also has a server (giserver) with storage space for GIS and remote sensing courses and student projects. EOS also maintains a campus enterprise Esri ArgGIS Online platform for data sharing and web development. Yvonne Marsan, the departmental lab technician, helps maintain the equipment in this space. All undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in GIS and remote sensing courses are granted 24-hour access to this facility.
Dr. Chad Lane is the coordinator for the UNCW isotope ratio mass spectrometry (UNC-WIRMS) facility located at CMS.  The UNC-WIRMS facility is a core facility available for use to all departments at UNCW, and a focal point for collaboration outside of UNCW. The facility houses two identical, 10-cup Thermo Scientific DELTA V Plus stable isotope mass spectrometers.  One of the mass spectrometers is interfaced with a Thermo Scientific 1310 Gas Chromatograph and a GC IsoLink via a ConFlo IV.  This instrumentation allows for the stable carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen isotope measurement of individual compounds. Also interfaced with this DELTA V Plus mass spectrometer is a Thermo Flash HT plus elemental analyzer capable of oxidative and pyrolytic conversion of solids and liquids to gas primarily for oxygen and hydrogen isotope analyses of bulk solids and liquids. The second Thermo Scientific DELTA V Plus stable isotope mass spectrometer is interfaced with a Costech 4010 elemental analyzer, a Thermo EA Isolink CN, and a Thermo-Finnigan Gasbench II.  These instruments allow for bulk carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotope analyses of solids as well as light stable isotope analyses of gasses and carbonates.  The SIL also includes a Thermo Scientific 1310 gas chromatograph equipped with a single quadrupole mass spectrometer for compound identification and a flame ionization detector for compound quantification.  Support laboratories for the SIL include two high precision microbalances, uninterruptable power supply, sinks, and workbenches.  All power to the lab is on the building back-up generator, which activates within seconds after a general power outage.  There is a ~300 sq. ft. support laboratory adjacent the SIL that serves as a wet lab and sample preparation area for SIL users.  Day-to-day operations, including user training, maintenance, minor repairs, ordering of supplies and consumables, and instrument QA/QC are the responsibility of the lab technician Dr. Hai Pan.