Training in high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) opens up many potential career opportunities, including in environmental research. In fact, you may not realize it, but HPLC is playing an important role in society’s efforts to better understand and combat climate change.
If you’re looking to help address significant environmental issues, then your HPLC training can be put to great use. Here’s a look at just some of the ways HPLC is being used to fight climate change and find solutions to environmental problems.
1. You Can Use HPLC Training to Look for Signs of Global Warning in Mountain Lakes
One way that scientists use HPLC to research climate change is by analyzing water samples from alpine lakes. Alpine lakes are considered sensitive ecosystems that are particularly prone to climate change. For example, an increase in temperature could lead to a growth in algae, which in turn can lead to a decrease in water quality. Melting glaciers and moving tree lines, both of which are caused by climate change, can also lead to changes in the makeup of mountain lakes.
With HPLC, scientists can analyze alpine lakes for indications of whether climate change is having an effect. For example, researchers analyzed samples from lakes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains to see how algae could point out the effects of climate change. By using HPLC, they were able to find that measuring a type of algae called epilithon provided an effective way of measuring the impact of climate change on shallow alpine lakes in the Rockies.
2. With HPLC, Scientists Can Track the Health of the Oceans in the Face of Climate Change
Your HPLC training can also be used to research the impact of climate change on the oceans, especially in regards to phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are tiny plants found throughout the oceans, and they form the basis of the aquatic food chain. Individually they are too small to be seen without a microscope, but when they group together in large numbers they can create spectacular coloured patches on the ocean surface. Not only do phytoplankton sustain the entire aquatic ecosystem, but they help produce an estimated 50-85% of the world’s oxygen.
Unfortunately, as ocean waters warm thanks to climate change, they contain less oxygen, which makes them less hospitable for phytoplankton. As a result, phytoplankton levels have been declining rapidly over the past half-century. One way scientists are tracking the decline of phytoplankton is with HPLC. In fact, NASA itself uses HPLC to analyze phytoplankton in the world’s oceans as a way of better understanding the impact of climate change.
3. Your HPLC Training Can Also Be Used to Find Solutions to Climate Change
While HPLC certification can be put to great use understanding the effects climate change is having on our planet, it can also go one step further and help us find solutions. For example, HPLC has been playing a major role in helping researchers try to discover alternative and renewable energy sources that can lead to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Yeast, for instance, is commonly used to produce bioethanol, and scientists have used HPLC to analyze the usefulness of different strains of yeast for bioethanol. HPLC has also been used to research the possibility of creating a clean hydrogen fuel and even making fuel from recycled plastics.
Are you looking to pursue a new career?
Contact AAPS College to learn how to obtain your HPLC certificate.