Since 1996, nearly 800 researchers have come to IsoCamp at the University of Utah to be trained in the fundamental environmental and biological theory underlying isotope fractionation processes and a broad spectrum of ecological and environmental applications. After 24 years at the University of Utah, IsoCamp will move to the University of New Mexico in June 2020.
The first IsoCamp was in 1996 at the University of Utah. Through collaborations already years in the making, the need for a specialized course in stable isotopes and their application in environmental and ecological studies became apparent. The first class was small, but enthusiastic. Each class has brought together faculty from different universities and representing multiple disciplines.
The idea behind IsoCamp is to bring students and researchers together from around the world, teaching them about stable isotopes in biogeochemistry and ecology, and developing careers in this next generation through lectures, training sessions, and laboratory experiences. In 2013, a companion course, Isotopes in Spatial Ecology and Biogeochemistry (aka SPATIAL), was introduced. SPATIAL extends on the fundamentals covered in the IsoCamp course to develop theory and techniques for applying isotope and biogeochemical tracer data to spatial problems at a range of scales.
After 24 years at the University of Utah, IsoCamp will move to the Center for Stable Isotopes at the University of New Mexico in June 2020. The overall structure of the course and instructors will largely remain the same. Both the lecture and lab components of the course will be taught in PAIS, a new interdisciplinary science building.
UNM Center for Stable Isotopes (CSI)
The University of New Mexico Center for Stable Isotopes, or CSI, is the facility where students gain hands-on laboratory experience. CSI operates and maintains 8 Thermo Scientific and Picarro isotope ratio mass spectrometers (IRMS) and associated analytical equipment. These IRMS are fitted with different preparatory and separation devices that allow measurement of the stable isotope composition of a wide-ranging variety of organic and inorganic substrates commonly analyzed by the biological, geological, and anthropological communities.