Environmental Research Lab

The Environmental Research Laboratory (ERL), formerly known as Central Environmental Lab (CEL) established in 1970, is maintained by the Biology Department for faculty and student research. The ERL has also been used by faculty and graduate students from other universities throughout the southeast, as well as several state and federal agencies such as NOAA and the EPA. The equipment is maintained by the ERL manager and is ready for use by faculty and students with advance notice. The ERL not only provides analytical services but lectures and laboratory demonstrations are available through the ERL manager, useful for various classes in the Biology, Geological Sciences, and Human Environmental Science Departments.

For Sample Submission:  Please fill out and return a Sample Analysis Request Form to ERL manager and allow ample time for scheduling.

Analytical Equipment

Equipment in the ERL includes high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), TOC/TN analyzer, pH/ion selective meters, analytical balances, muffle furnace, drying ovens, UV/Vis spectrophotometers, turbidimeter, autoclaves, Kjeldahl nitrogen digestion unit/block digester, mechanical shaking tables, incubators, freezers, vented hoods, tissue homogenizers, hot plates, water baths, centrifuges, and its own deionized water system.

Major instrumentation includes:


Two SmartChem Nutrient Analyzers

Analyzes nitrate, nitrite, ammonia , ortho-phosphate, kjedahl nitrogen and phosphate, chloride and other EPA protocols

Shimadzu TOC-TN

Shimadzu TOC/TN Analyzer

Measures amount of carbon: inorganic and organic, as well as total nitrogen from the same injection

ICS with Autosampler

Ion Chromatography System

Analyzes ions in solution via column chromatography and suppressed or non-suppressed conductivity detection. Measurement of water-soluble ammonium and potassium from soil samples is part of the suite of analysis offered using this instrument.


Shimadzu HPLC

High Pressure Liquid Chromatography Separation, detection and quantification of components in a solution

Other Analytical Services

Water (surface water – fresh or saline, precipitation, porewater and groundwater), soil, sediment, plant and animal tissues can be analyzed for a number of components including various forms of nitrogen, phosphorus, organic carbon, fluoride, chloride, and chlorophyll a.

Training, Education and Outreach

Students are taught research methodology, laboratory safety, and the use and care of the equipment needed for their research. Students are required to take ECU's Environmental Health and Safety online Chemical Hygiene/Lab Safety Training and provide the ERL manager with a copy of the EH&S results e-mail. In addition to the online training, the ERL manager will review the ERL specific lab safety requirements and responsibilities with ERL users and a signed Student Laboratory Safety and Responsibility Agreement is required from each student and the manager.


Sample analysis costs are based on consumables use, a nominal maintenance fee and tech labor. Rates varied if student labor is provided, for example. Prices are subject to change yearly as consumable costs change. Please contact lab manager for pricing. A Sample Analysis Request Form must be filled out by the PI allowing for sufficient time to schedule the analyses.

Contact Information:


Lab Manager: Suelen Tullio
Email: tullios16@ecu.edu
Office: S101
Lab: S106
Phone: 328-1691
Office: 328-6287

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