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Facilities, labs and vessels


Manitoba Isotope Research Facility (MIRF)  

MIRF has one of four Secondary-Ion Mass Spectrometers (SIMS) in Canada, a diverse Stable Isotope Lab (EA, TC/EA, Gas Bench, GC-C) along with several satellite Geochemistry Labs, a Biogeochemistry Lab, and an Argon-Argon Lab. MIRF offers hands-on opportunities for students and visiting scientists, and provides a wide array of analytical services for industry, academic, and government organizations world-wide.

Learn more about MIRF


  • Research vessel William Kennedy

    R/V William Kennedy

    Converted from an offshore crab fishing vessel, the Research Vessel (R/V) William Kennedy has been retrofitted to handle extreme Arctic weather and ice conditions. The ship’s shallow draft, measuring just 12 feet, allows for critical research to be done in much shallower and near shore waters than traditional Arctic research vessels. The ship, which measures 66 feet in length, is equipped with both an interior drylab and wetlab and can accommodate up to 14 people beyond the crew. The William Kennedy is operated through an agreement between the Arctic Research Foundation and UM.

  • CCGS Amundsen vessel

    CCGS Amundsen

    The Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Amundsen is Canada’s premiere research icebreaker. Since 2002, CEOS has been a committed partner with the Université Laval and Amundsen Science to ensure the ship is fitted with scientific equipment. CEOS is responsible for a substantial amount of equipment that is utilized by the CCGS Amundsen field programs. The pool of equipment is focused around atmospheric and meteorological instrumentation, sea ice sampling, oceanography and contaminants. CEOS operates a ship based cleanroom, PILMS (portable in-situ laboratory for mercury speciation) that was constructed in 2007 to enhance our analytical capabilities while on board the CCGS Amundsen.

  • Skipping boat

    Small vessels

    CEOS operates a fleet of small vessels including: ice strengthened air boats, amphibious vehicles, jet boats and other small crafts that can go into shallow estuaries, river systems, lakes and ponds. The air boats, nicknamed ‘skippy boats’, are vessels with a hull length up to 5.8 meters. The bottom of the skippy boat is reinforced for ice travel and they can operate in temperatures down to -30 Celsius. They allow passengers to safely travel over calm waters and sea ice providing access to areas that would be otherwise too dangerous to study. The amphibious vehicles are capable of traveling on land and through water. They allow researchers to access regions at the margin of terrestrial and freshwater landscapes.


Research taking sample in Ultra Clean Trace Elements Lab

Feiyue Wang working in the Ultra Clean Trace Element Laboratory (UCTEL)

  • Ultra Clean Trace Elements Laboratory (UCTEL) 

    The Ultra Clean Trace Elements Laboratory (UCTEL) is designed for the study of environmental chemistry and biogeochemistry of contaminants, especially in the Arctic marine environment. Research is carried out at both the molecular scale to probe the fundamental chemical mechanisms, and the regional to global scales to address the interplay between chemical contamination and climate change. Major research activities include biogeochemistry of mercury and other trace elements, Arctic marine cryospheric chemistry; and the interplay between chemical contamination and climate change.

  • Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) Lab

    The CERC Lab is a biogeochemistry laboratory designed to study certain parameters on climate change in Polar Regions. The CERC lab has the ability for many different isotopic analyses including δ13C and δ15N, for gas, aqueous, and solid samples as well as water analyses for δ18O and δD. In addition, the lab can do structure analysis of ice using an X-ray Computer Tomography.

  • Organics Extraction Laboratory

    The Organics Extraction Laboratory is a multiple fume hood laboratory designed for the extraction and separation of organic contaminants from water, air, sediments and biological material.

  • Cold Labs

    CEOS operates a multi-compartment cold lab, with the ability to have temperatures ranging from +10 to -30 degrees Celsius. This series of cold labs allow researchers to do temperature-controlled experiments and incubations. It also allows researchers to work with snow and ice samples while retaining their natural properties. Ice cores can be brought in from field campaigns and their microstructure analyzed.

  • Petroleum Environmental Research Laboratory (PETRL) 

    PETRL is a laboratory designed for analysis of petroleum products and their chemical composition.

  • Arctic Biogeochemical Optics Lab (ABOL)

    The Arctic Biogeochemical Optics Lab, water samples are filtered for primary productivity. The lab can analyze C13 isotopes for algae productivity.

  • Water Quality Lab

    The Water Quality Lab is used for a wide range of activities including the preparation of equipment and consumables such as acid washing and preparing filter papers for field work. The lab contains a salinometer, pH and conductivity meters.

  • Experimental Electronics Lab

    In the Experimental Electronics Lab, scientists build water and ice chambers to test the physical properties of sea ice under specific conditions. Scientists also build and assemble electrical circuits to be used in their projects.

  • Sediment Lab

    The sediment lab is used to prepare sediment samples including sediment cores, grab surface samples, and sediment trap samples for analyses. The lab is equipped with a scale and drying oven which supports both sediment prep and total suspended solids analyses. The lab is also equipped with two fume hoods and muffle furnace that are used to clean and prepare glassware and filters for sample collection. The lab is often used to prepare for field work.

  • Met Lab

    The Met Lab is used to prep, test, calibrate and repair equipment and systems used to support studies into the surface climate; this includes greenhouse gas dynamics and carbon dioxide exchange studies.

  • Calibration Lab

    In the Calibration lab, scientists set up, test, and calibrate equipment such as scatterometers (which measure the amount of energy the Earth's surface reflects) and radiometers (which measure the power of infrared radiation). It is also the lab where technical troubleshooting of instrumentation takes place.

Contact us

Centre for Earth Observation Science
535 Wallace Building
125 Dysart Rd.
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada