Cauldron bubble…

Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble…

These vials are filled with loosely homogenized brittle stars from the Beaufort Sea. Brittle stars have carbonate (CaCO3) material in their tiny brittle legs, so pipetting small amounts of a weak acid, as I’m doing here, converts the carbonate material to CO2 gas, hence the bubbles! Removing carbonates is an important step in preparing animal samples for stable isotope analysis because carbonates contain a lot of carbon that is isotopically “heavy” (contains many 13C molecules). These heavy molecules can skew my results because I want to know the isotopic signature of muscle tissue.

#SCIENCE #iđź’™isotopes