Test equipment supplied by Mettler Toledo has been used in the first major survey of aquatic biodiversity and freshwater quality in the Falkland Islands
The project was supported by the Environment, Science and Energy
Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and was led by
project investigators Roger Flower (University College London),
and Philippa Noon (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge).
the FI-BRIL (Falkland Islands: Biodiversity Research in Lakes)
Project, this initial study was designed to define the range of
freshwater bodies present, using water quality characteristics
such as pH, brown water/clear water, water transparency, salinity
These measurements, together with the biological
information, were used to establish reference base-line
The surveys also included selecting two contrasting
Falkland Island lakes for sediment coring and for making
biological collections of invertebrates and diatom algae.
Flower explains the background to the project: "Freshwater
lakes on the Falkland Islands provide a unique biological
resource but these aquatic ecosystems were virtually unexplored.
There is considerable potential for aquatic habitat evaluation
and conservation, however time-space environmental quality
criteria are lacking.
One particularly convenient way of
detecting environmental change trends in remote locations is to
use the historical archive of sub-fossil remains contained in
This can provide information about past changes,
past species biodiversity and about the impact of past drivers of
environmental change in lakes - pollution, land use and
climate." Initial on-site investigations included
determination of water acidity and conductivity.
For this, the
team used a Mettler Toledo pH meter and electrode designed for
low ionic waters and a portable conductivity meter.
said: "The three most basic parameters used to classify
freshwaters are pH to determine acidity, conductivity to measure
the level of saltiness, and alkalinity to check the
Establishing some of this
information in the field was a fundamental part of the study
where we needed to select a good range of sites for one-off
We needed reliable equipment that we could use in
difficult field conditions and the Mettler Toledo equipment
It was robust and sensitive - and it proved very
When I compared one of my field measurements with a lab
pH meter, (which also happened to be made by Mettler Toledo) at
the Agricultural Institute at Port Stanley, the pH values agreed
to less than 0.1pH." While the water acidity and
conductivity tests were carried out in the field, full chemical
analysis was done in the UK.
The sediment cores taken from the
two Falkland Island lakes were also returned to the UK for
detailed high resolution analysis following radioisotope dating.
Commenting on the implications of the work carried out, Dr Flower
said: "This work should contribute significantly towards
meeting some of the biodiversity obligations imposed on the UK
concerning biodiversity of freshwaters in Dependent Territories
(cf the Rio Convention on biological diversity).
It will also
help identify biological status and nature of environmental
change in the lakes.
The results will be published in due course
(including a website) and will also be used for a provisional
Access database for water chemistry and biological data for the
Falkland Island lakes." The equipment used in the water
survey is from a range of analytical instruments produced by
The meters are designed to be portable, robust
and reliable, so that measurements can be carried out in process
plants and production areas - or as in this case in remote
locations like the Falkland Islands - as easily and precisely as
in the laboratory.
A comprehensive range of electrodes is
available for all types of application.