Take lab precision
to out-of-the-way places.


By taking high-precision, lab-quality isotope and concentration measurements in the field, Picarro allows you to answer relevant questions at all scales of biological significance,

From an organism’s metabolism, to a soil’s interactions with the atmosphere and biosphere, Picarro instruments cover it all. With the ability to get immediate results, you can redirect research on the fly to address the most interesting questions.

Research Applications

Animal metabolism

Bats forage primarily during twilight, leaving daylight feeding opportunities to birds. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research measured carbon dioxide production rates using a Picarro carbon isotope analyzer to understand the advantages bats receive by feeding during twilight. Metabolic rate and body temperature in bats were measured during flight at night and during the day. The core body temperatures were within 2°C, but the CO2 production rates were higher by 15% during daytime flights. The authors concluded that daytime bat flights are only profitable when feeding during daytime is high and the risk of predation is low.

Get more from the paper: Trapped in the darkness of the night: thermal and energetic constraints of daylight flight in bats.

Oil spills and the food web

The Deep Horizon oil spill loaded the local marine ecosystem with an enormous quantity of hydrocarbons. These authors from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the University of South Alabama used carbon isotope ratios of plankton measured by a Picarro analyzer to track the microbial consumption of hydrocarbons. Their evidence showed that the plankton food web incorporated carbon from subsurface oil.

Get more from the paper: Oil carbon entered the coastal planktonic food web during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Carbon sources from soil respiration

The CO2 produced by various components in soil is poorly understood and difficult to quantify. These authors from the University of Aberdeen and ISPRA used carbon isotope ratios measured by a Picarro analyzer to distinguish between the heterotrophic and autotrophic contributions to soil CO2 respiration. Working in a Mediterranean forest, they quantified the contribution of respirations from plant roots, litter/humus and soil organic matter and proposed a three end-member mixing model to explain the data.

Get more from the paper: Dual-Chamber Measurements of δ13C of Soil-Respired CO2 Partitioned Using a Field-Based Three End-Member Model.

Carbon flux in microbial metabolic networks in soils

Carbon-13 labeling is an effective way to study the discrete steps in the biochemical pathways in soil microbial communities. Paul Dijkstraa and coworkers labeled specific positions within pyruvate, and applied it to soils along with a variety of other treatments. Using a Picarro isotopic carbon analyzer, the researchers observed the emergence of 13CO2 to understand the dynamics of the metabolic processes in the microbial communities within the soil.

Get more from the paper: Probing carbon flux patterns through soil microbial metabolic networks using parallel position-specific tracer labeling.

Spatial and temporal CO2 gradients above mid-continent biomes

Regional differences in CO2 concentration and production can be studied with a network of monitoring stations sampling from towers. These Penn State researchers and their coworkers gathered data from nine tower sites equipped with Picarro analyzers covering a large area of the central United States. They showed that differences in land use and dominant crop produced regional patterns in the net ecosystem exchange over monthly time periods.

Get more from the paper: Large amplitude spatial and temporal gradients in atmospheric boundary layer CO2 mole fractions detected with a tower-based network in the U.S. upper Midwest.

Related Products

G2201-i – Continuous recirculation and discrete, simultaneous measurement of δ13C-CO2 and δ13C-CH4 fluxes

G2301 – Continuous recirculation and discrete measurement of CO2 and CH4 fluxes

G2131-i – Continuous recirculation and discrete measurement of δ13C-CO2 fluxes

G2132-i – Continuous and discrete measurement of δ13C-CH4 for sourcing and partitioning

G2508 – Measure N2O, CH4, CO2, NH3, and H2O simultaneously for soil flux studies.

G2311-f – Eddy Covariance flux for CO2, CH4 and H2O

Carbon Isotope Analysis Systems