Welcome to the Pratt Lab blog! Dr. Kerri Pratt is an assistant professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Earth & Environmental Sciences and faculty associate of the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. We study atmospheric trace gases, particles, snow, and clouds and their interactions with the biosphere (forests) and cryosphere (snow and sea ice). Our interdisciplinary research has relevance to climate change, air quality, and human health. As an analytical chemistry lab, we primarily use novel mass spectrometry techniques during our field research. We invite you to follow our adventures in (and outside!) the lab!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Arctic aerosol growth paper published!

Congratulations to Pratt Lab post-doc Katie Kolesar, former undergraduate student Jillian Cellini, and post-doc Peter Peterson! Their paper details the first investigation of the occurrence and driving forces of aerosol growth events at Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska and the finding of the importance of the Prudhoe Bay oilfields in this process. Check out "Effect of Prudhoe Bay emissions on atmospheric aerosol growth events observed in Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska", published in Atmospheric Environment

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pratt Lab Participates in FEMMES Capstone Outreach Event

On Saturday, November 12th, members of the Pratt Lab volunteered for the capstone outreach event organized by FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and the Sciences), which invites middle school girls to the University of Michigan for a day of fun activities related to math, science, and engineering. The goal of this event is to engage girls from underrepresented groups in participating in STEM fields through hands-on demos and interactive presentations linked to actual research by a variety of groups on campus.
Pratt Lab Volunteers - L to R: Siyuan, Matt, Ryan, Stephen, and Katie (not pictured- Peter)
Our group hosted a series of fun- and somewhat messy- activities focused on climate change with links to atmospheric chemistry. Of course, it can sometimes be challenging to make our research relatable to a bunch of twelve-year-olds, so creativity and simplicity is key! We discussed ocean acidification through pop and lime, and greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide using acetic acid (vinegar), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and latex reaction vessels (balloons)! Overall, everyone had a great time and is looking forward to the next event in the spring!
Ryan making clouds under the watchful eye of Rachel

Peter enthusiastically awaits the next group of students for demos!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Prof. Pratt named 2016 National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program Early-Career Fellow!

Prof. Kerri Pratt was recently chosen as a 2016 National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program Early-Career Fellow! Prof. Pratt was 1 of 10 fellows chosen from across the country. The Gulf Research Program was established from legal settlements associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Arctic ClO paper published!

Congratulations to Pratt Lab post-doc Siyuan Wang and former Purdue Univ. graduate student Kyle Custard! Their collaborative paper details the first measurement of atmospheric ClO using chemical ionization mass spectrometry and is titled "Constraints on Arctic atmospheric chlorine production through measurements and simulations of Cl2 and ClO", published in Environmental Science & Technology! Check out the paper!

Friday, September 23, 2016

End of Prudhoe Bay Field Campaign!

After five weeks in the Arctic, our field campaign came to a close this week! After the end of sampling, the next major task was to pack up all of our equipment to send back to Michigan. It's a long journey home, so it is important to make sure everything is secure!
Luckily the crate we designed had a ramp attached, so it was easy to just roll the instrument back in through the door of the AMF3.  

The A-ATOFMS and the rest of the equipment all packed in the hangar waiting for pickup.
It's an ~2 hour drive from the AMF3 back to Deadhorse on pretty rough roads, so we had to get a truck to pick up the equipment at the site instead of loading it into the back of our trucks. 
Lifting the A-ATOFMS into the truck. I always get nervous when the instrument isn't on the ground, but thankfully we had the help of the wonderful AMF3 techs during this process and it went very smooth. Thanks guys!
With the equipment all packed up and headed back to Ann Arbor, we made sure to take some time and get a few tourist pictures at all of the landmarks we could find.
Sign marking the end of the Dalton Highway in Deadhorse, AK.
That's all for this study! A big thanks to all of the help we received from the DOE AMF3 techs and Sandia National Labs throughout this study - we wouldn't have been able to complete it without you all!

Bonus picture: One last sunset over the oil fields.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Welcome Maria and Emily!

Welcome Maria Morales and Emily Mordan! Maria is a new Chemistry master's student from Guayaquil, Ecuador with a scholarship from the Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Ecuador. Maria will be completing her Master's research thesis in the Pratt Lab! Emily is a new Chemistry PhD student who recently graduated from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois and is completing a fall research rotation in the Pratt Lab.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Chemistry of lake spray aerosol paper published!

Congratulations to graduate student Nate May! Nate is the second author of this paper titled "Lake spray aerosol: A chemical signature from individual ambient particles" published in Environmental Science & Technology. Nate led the 2014 field study on the shore of Lake Michigan and subsequent laboratory aerosol generation work for this project. Check out the paper!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Life in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

Only two weeks left to go in Prudhoe Bay! The study has been going well so far, so I figured it would be a good time to show off how I've been living for the past few weeks. DOE ARM was kind enough to find us lodging at the Nikaitchuq Operations Center run by Eni Petroleum, where everyone has been very welcoming!

View of the camp entrance, located only a few miles from the Arctic Ocean!
The camp was built in 2015 after the previous one burnt down (thankfully no one was injured), so everything is very new!
They saved the sign from the original camp, which now hangs over the cafeteria (you can still see some of the charred wood on the right).
 We each get our own rooms, which comes complete with a bathroom, sink, dressers, and a TV. 
It's a bit cozy, but I lived with three guys in a smaller room during undergrad so I think I'll survive.
It's hard to get work done without a desk, so most of my time is either spent out at the AMF3 or in the cafeteria, which has doubled as my office.
Best part about the cafeteria, ice cream every day!
We get three great meals a day, but if we get hungry between meals or after hours they have a 24/7 snack room that is free to use!
Free food!
The camp also has its own gym (for some reason I don't have a picture of it...), sauna, and game room, so there is plenty to do here when you have some downtime.  It's been a great three weeks, so hopefully it continues for the rest of the study! 

Bonus picture:
AMF3 launches balloons twice a day to obtain a vertical profile of the atmosphere, and on this day I took over as balloon launcher! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lake spray aerosol generation paper published!

Congratulations to graduate student Nate May and undergraduate student Alexa Watson! Nate's first-author paper titled "Lake spray aerosol generation: a method for producing representative particles from freshwater wave breaking" was published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. Check it out!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Unexpected Visitors to AMF3

While working out at the AMF3 site in Prudhoe Bay, we've had some unexpected visitors to the site. Our first week here we were in for some excitement, as a polar bear stopped by to check out our research!
This shows how close the bear was to the AMF3.
After the long swim to land, all the bear wanted to do was sleep! (Photo credit: David Oaks)
The polar bear watches the nearby drilling activities. (Photo credit: David Oaks)
We also had a pair of caribou hang out around the site for a few days. These two weren't afraid of our truck at all, and just stayed close by while we took some photos.
These two were buddies and were seen together for most of the week.
Finally, driving back to the site earlier this week we found a Red Fox. 
This guy is certainly a photogenic fox!
After snapping a few pictures, it decided it wanted to play and chased our truck most of the way back to camp!
We sped up after this and the fox kept up with the truck for a good distance!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

D-RISE Highlighted by University of Michigan!

University of Michigan Diversity, Equity & Inclusion news just highlighted the summer D-RISE program, which former Pratt lab and Cass Tech high school students Rashad, Jackelyn, and Desmond have participated in! The Pratt lab is one of four labs on campus participating in the program.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Field Campaign at Oliktok Point, Alaska!

During August and September, we will conducting a field campaign, funded by NOAA and DOE and in collaboration with DOE ARM and Prof. Rebecca Sheesley's group at Baylor University. We're at Oliktok Point, AK to investigate the emissions from the oil and gas extraction activities within Prudhoe Bay, the third largest oilfield in North America. We will be using the A-ATOFMS, MOUDI, and supporting sizing instrumentation to investigate individual particle chemical composition, morphology, and concentrations!

I (Matt Gunsch) arrived to Prudhoe Tuesday morning after staying over in Anchorage Sunday night and in Deadhorse Monday night.
Slightly different hotel accommodations in Anchorage (left) and Deadhorse (right)
After a two hour drive from Deadhorse to our site at Oliktok Point, we got to work moving our equipment into the ARM AMF3 facilities located on the Oliktok Long Range Radar Site run by the US Air Force. 

Luckily the A-ATOFMS had a much shorter distance to move compared to last year in Barrow, so it was a quick and (mostly) stress free move! Thank you to everyone who helped!
Perfect fit!
The A-ATOFMS is now resting comfortably in its temporary home! Let's hope for a great field campaign!
I swear it still looks this clean after setup... 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Arctic sea salt aerosol paper published!

Congratulations to graduate students Nate May and Stephen McNamara!  Nate's first-author paper titled "Multiyear study of the dependence of sea salt aerosol on wind speed and sea ice conditions in the coastal Arctic" was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres as part of The Arctic:An AGU Joint Special Collection.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Research Rotation in the Field

What better (and more exciting) way to begin a graduate career in analytical chemistry than to participate in a summer field campaign in Northern Michigan? Luckily, that's exactly what I (Megan, an incoming chemistry graduate student at the U of M) had the opportunity to do.  
  This is me on my first field campaign (and first research rotation)!
All first-year U of M graduate students are given the opportunity to rotate among research labs before choosing the lab in which they will conduct their graduate research. I was awarded a summer internship from the Department of Chemistry to rotate in Prof. Kerri Pratt's lab this summer,  and by doing so I was able to operate the lab's Ambient Ion Monitor- Ion Chromatography System (AIM-IC) throughout the PROPHET-AMOS 2016 field campaign. This campaign took place in the forests of the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) during the month of July, and I am very grateful to have been awarded a Marian P. and David M. Gates UMBS graduate student fellowship that covered my lodging and research fees! During this time, atmospheric research groups from across the country parked their mobile research trailers around the PROPHET research tower (depicted below) and collected atmospheric measurements relating to photochemistry, emissions, and transport of oxidants. 
The PROPHET research tower. I'm standing at
the top of the tower in the previous picture. It was
a very scary (but beautiful) climb!
The sampling inlet of the AIM-IC.  The AIM-IC
collects ambient air and provides hourly measurements
of inorganic, water-soluble fine particulate
 matter and associated precursor gases.
When I wasn't admiring the natural beauty of the University of Michigan Biological Station (depicted below), I was busy using the AIM-IC to collect inorganic particulate and gas measurements (also depicted below). Thank you to Nate May (Pratt Lab), Milos Markovic, and Greg Wentworth (Univ. of Toronto) for all of your advice for successfully deploying the new AIM-IC inlet box for the first time! The data that I collected during the month of July will hopefully contribute to the understanding of the nitrogen budget below the forest canopy in Northern Michigan.  
 Douglas Lake from the shore of the University of Michigan Biological Station. 
 Me again, collecting AIM-IC data inside the U of M research trailer. 

I recently moved to Michigan from North Carolina, so this research rotation was the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of my new home while also participating in exciting analytical work. I look forward to my future research rotations, but I doubt they will be able to top this! 

One final view of Lake Michigan before heading back to Ann Arbor!

UMBS Field Work!

From June 28 - August 3, the Pratt Lab participated in a large, collaborative field study at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS).The field campaign, Program for Research on Oxidants:  PHotochemistry, Emissions, and Transport – Atmospheric Measurements of Oxidants in Summer (PROPHET-AMOS), took place during the month of July and involved 21 institutions from across the country and Europe. Pratt lab students Megan Connor and I (Ryan Cook) maintained and sampled with a variety of aerosol instrumentation, including the aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ATOFMS) and the Ambient Ion Monitor- Ion chromatograph (AIM-IC). This study also marks the first deployment of the University of Michigan mobile laboratory that I helped Prof. Andrew Ault design during my rotation in his lab.
Entrance to UMBS where we stayed during the field campaign.
Inside of mobile laboratory during the field study.
At the PROPHET site with the tower in the background!
We learned a lot about how to conduct a field study and the science behind atmospheric chemistry in a forested environment! We also met many interesting atmospheric scientists from around the world!
PROPHET-AMOS Group photo at the beginning of the campaign!
Though we stayed busy, we did find time to have some fun! On one of the last days of the campaign, we took a trip to Charlevoix with members from Purdue Univ. and Indiana Univ..
Charlevoix welcome sign mural 
View of the harbor across the street from where we ate breakfast
Wildlife
View of Lake Michigan
Once back at camp, it was nice to sit by the lake with an awesome view of the sky....
View of Douglas Lake from UMBS camp
...But you aren't alone!



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rashad is famous!


Summer high school student Rashad met University of Michigan President Mark Schissel!

Adventures in northern Michigan

Who ever said that field studies are all work and no play? While last week was quite busy up at UMBS with our aircraft campaign and field study on the ground, Pratt lab members took an evening off to get dinner (and gelato!) with our collaborators from Purdue.
After dinner, we even had time to explore the lakeside town of Petosky, MI!
From left to right: Rachel (me!), Prof. Kerri Pratt, Ryan (Pratt lab), Nate (Shepson lab), Rebecca (Shepson lab), Prof. Paul Shepson, Sarah (Shepson lab), Jody (awesome Shepson group supporter!), Megan (Pratt lab)

Friday, July 15, 2016

A view from above (aircraft sampling in northern Michigan!!!)

After some hard work and a lot of help from our collaborators at Purdue (thank you Brian!), the aircraft installation was completed, and our instruments were ready for flights this week. I've been enjoying scenic northern Michigan from the ground and the sky above UMBS while conducting some exciting experiments to study the chemistry over the Great Lakes, the forest canopy, and even within clouds!

Dr. Paul Shepson (our pilot for the campaign - Thank you!!) and I on our first flight!
From this vantage point, we have the best view of the PROPHET and AmeriFlux towers that are part of the AMOS study at UMBS
Flying low over Lake Michigan also provided some nice views, at the price of a very bumpy flight!

When Sarah, a student from Purdue, was flying, I got some great photos of ALAR passing right over the field site
Collecting cloud water is a challenging task that involves sticking a plastic tube out the top of the plane, so I had lots of practice on the ground beforehand!
Right here, we're flying under the clouds we're about to sample. It can take over an hour to collect several milliliters of cloud water, so patience and a steady stomach are a must for the long, bumpy flight!