What you need to do
We are looking for samples from most large rivers close to the ocean. If you live or are traveling to a river you think would be of interest to us, please contact Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink.
We will send you a sampling kit with the sampling instructions. All you have to do is to go out, take a sample of your river and mail it back to us. We will then get to work in our laboratories and write you an email with the results when we are done.
Please be patient, the analytical work takes time.
A little bit a water goes a long way
Our analytical machines (ion chromotographs and mass spectrometers) are so sensitive that we only need a few milliliters of water to measure anions (negatively charged species such as chloride, sulfate and nitrate) and major cations (positively charged species such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium) in a river water sample.
We need a little bit more water (20 milliliters) to measure elements that are very rare in water, such as strontium, rubidium, barium, rhenium and uranium. Some of these elements are particularly interesting to us, because they exist in different "flavors" (called "isotopes").
In order to "taste" these flavors we need even more water. For instance, the element strontium comes in four different flavors (the experts call them Sr-84, Sr-86, Sr-87, and Sr-88, for the number of elementary building blocks in their atomic cores). To measure the abundance of these flavors of strontium in a typcial river we need not quite a full bottle of water, about 50-100 milliliters.
You see, we can do a lot with one bottle of properly filtered river water. But we can only do it with your help...