Soil and Biometeorology Teaching Lab
The APBI Teaching Lab is located in room 102A at the H.R. MacMillan Building and is home to several courses offered by the Applied Biology Program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. In 1967, the H.R. MacMillan building opened as home to the Faculties of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry as well as the H.R. MacMillan Library. Since then, at least 11,000 students have passed through the MCML 102A Lab from Faculties of Land and Food Systems, Forestry, Science (Physical Geography, Botany, Earth and Ocean Science), and Applied Science. In 2018, the MCML 102A lab underwent a full-scale renovation that ensured a safe and inspiring lab space for approximately 450 undergraduate and graduate students per year from a wide variety of programs, including: Applied Biology, Soil Sciences, Global Resource Systems, Forestry, Physical Geography, and Atmospheric Sciences, that at present time use this lab.
The APBI Teaching Lab currently hosts lab component of the following courses:
- APBI 200 – Introduction to Soil Science
- APBI 244 – Introduction to Biometeorology
- APBI 403 – Soil Sampling, Analyses, and Data Interpretation
It is also home to many other events and activities associated with the Applied Biology Program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.
Lab Features and Capacity
The APBI Teaching Lab can accommodate a maximum of 30 students and contains 6 movable lab tables that can comfortably accommodate 10 - 12 students, bench space around the west and south perimeter of the room, 4 sinks, 1 fume hood, and a projector with speakers.
Equipment and Tools
The APBI Teaching Lab is also home to equipment such as distillation system, pH meters, EC meter, water baths, ovens, incubators, muffle furnaces, spectrophotometer, centrifuge, vacuum pumps, heat and stir plates, microscopes, TDR moisture sensors, carbon dioxide sensors, soil sieves, balances, penetrometer, soil augers, soil grinders, soil push probes, bulk density samplers, proctor soil compaction kit, UMS Hyprop, hydrometers, Munsell Colour Books, shovels, trowels, buckets, radiometer, psychrometers, Edumeters etc. Some items can be loaned out or booked temporarily by contacting the APBI Teaching Lab Technician at Lewis.Fausak@ubc.ca. Additional resources such as the use of elemental analyzer (EA), and inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES), Fourier-transformed infrared spectrometer (FTIR), -80°C freezers, and freeze-dryers can also be arranged through the APBI Teaching Lab Technician.
The APBI Teaching Lab uses an online inventory system (called Quartzy) to keep track of chemicals, supplies and other resources available. Users can sign up for an account on Quartzy.com to gain access to the database and check whether specific chemicals/supplies are available, then further inquire whether they can be provided by the APBI Teaching Lab. We strongly encourage the sharing of chemicals/supplies/resources to reduce hazardous and non-environmentally friendly waste production and lowering the cost of analysis. Furthermore, users can use the order module in the database to request reagent/supply ordering, or select items in the inventory to re-order, as long as a valid speed chart is provided. Some of instruments and equipment can be reserved, please fill out this online form to request equipment. If you cannot find some equipment, contact the APBI Technician or consult the FNH Teaching Lab.
Safety is of utmost importance in a laboratory environment and it is no different in the APBI Teaching Lab. Each user who will work independently in the APBI Teaching Lab will be required to take:
- UBC Mandatory training offered by UBC Safety and Risk Services
- Chemical Safety training offered by UBC Safety and Risk Services
- A Site Specific training for the APBI Teaching lab
Standard Operating Procedures
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been posted near the instrument for guidance but training to use each instrument is available and can be scheduled with the APBI Teaching Lab Technician at Lewis.Fausak@ubc.ca. Some of the experimental procedures, sample calculations, statistical analysis or equipment SOPs have been prepared as demonstrations in videos. Students and researchers are highly encouraged to review the use of instruments and experimental protocols using these demonstrative videos and documents:
- Autoclave Operation
- Beckman Model J2-21M/E Superspeed Refrigerated Centrifuge
- Fumehood Operation
- Hach HQ430d Electrical Conductivity Meter
- Nikon Compound Microscope
- Operating Balances and Scales
- Tecan Spark 10M Multimode Microplate Reader
- Thermo Scientific Type F6010 Muffle Furnace
- Thermofisher Spectronic 200 Spectrophotometer
- Vacuum Filtration System
- Gas Vial Evacuation
- VWR MSI Scientific Benchtop Centrifuge
- Water Distillation Unit
- Quality Control and Quality Assurance - Soil, Plant, and Water
- Field Sampling
- Soil Sample Preparation
Soil Physical Properties
- Aeration Porosity (In development)
- Atterberg Limits
- Soil Bulk Density
- Soil Texture
- Soil Temperature (Thermometers)
- Gravimetric Water Content
- Proctor Compaction Test
- Soil Compaction - Excavation Method
- Soil Compaction - Penetrometer Resistance
- Soil Aggregate Stability (Wet, Dry, Slaking)
- Soil Water Retention Curve - Ceramic Pressure Plates
- Soil Water Retention - Hanging Water Column
- Standard Proctor Compaction Test
- Time Domain Reflectometry
Soil Chemical Properties
- Cation Exchange Capacity
- Extractable Cations
- Dilute Acid Extractable Polysaccharides (DAEP)
- Permanganate Oxidizable Carbon (POXC)
- Total and Plant Available Nitrogen
- Total and Plant Available Phosphorus
- Total Elemental Determinations
- Trace Elements
- Soil Salinity
- Soil pH
Soil Biological Properties
Soil Science Outreach Kits and Information
We are pleased to offer several soil science outreach kits, that could be used in K-12 settings or various outreach events for the general public. For more information and additional lesson plans please visit the Soil 4 Youth website.
- Protecting Our Soil - This kit provides a demonstration on how different levels of soil cover can prevent soil erosion (suitable for all ages).
- What is Soil Texture? - This kit provides 5 different soil types of a varying textures and a guided flowchart that will help you determine soil texture just like it is done in the field (suitable for all ages).
- Soil Order Quiz Cards - A trivia game that tests your knowledge of 10 Canadian soil orders (suitable for those familiar with soil classification).
- Mini Monoliths - This kit allows students to learn about how soil horizons (within the profile) are formed; highlighting that in the upper horizons there is more organic matter compared to the lower horizons (suitable for all ages).:
- Insect Collection and Life Cycles - This kit will feature several different insect life cycles, showing how some species start their lives in the soil and change dramatically over time (suitable for all ages).
- Local Plant Identification Guide - This kit can be used as a general guide to identifying plants by learning to recognize certain characteristics about inflorescence, leaves and bark.
- Soil Game - Horizons From a Hat - This game can be played to aid students in familiarizing themselves with the various major soil horizon layers and their associated suffixes described by the Canadian soil horizon classification system.
If you have any ideas that you think would make for a great outreach kit, or don't see one that fits your needs, please contact Lewis.Fausak@ubc.ca.