When I began my PhD, I spent the first two years mapping stable isotope signatures of nitrate in wastewater effluents in Hong Kong. Unlike concentration (which tells you how much of X is present), stable isotopes can tell you where X is coming from! This is priceless information if you are tracking the excess of a nutrient such as nitrogen in the marine environment. Excess nutrients can be detrimental because, it favors the growth of some organisms, that outcompete others, by respiring rapidly, and deplete oxygen levels. This results in an ocean that is out of breath! Between 2015 and 2017, I worked hard on liaising with government officials to incorporate stable isotope monitoring as a tool coupled with nutrient concentration analysis in Hong Kong's periodic water quality assessments.
life is isotopes
Updated: Oct 17, 2021