Facilities

Main Lab

The lab includes approximately 2,200 sq. ft. of shared modern space located in Research Building XV in the VT Corporate Research Center on the southern part of campus. The location for visiting or shipping is:

VT Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences
1880 Pratt Drive, Room 1004
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-0441

The lab has been set up to facilitate research on the transport, diversity patterns, and functional roles of microorganisms in natural systems, particularly with regard to water quality and nutrient cycling. Routine equipment for both culture-based and molecular approaches in microbial ecology includes clean benches, incubators, nutrient analysis, RNA and DNA extraction, conventional and quantitative PCR, electrophoresis and gel imaging. We also enjoy collaborative access to other labs on campus that are outfitted for soil respiration, gas fluxes, and enzyme activity. We have a Linux desktop computer in the lab that is capable of analyzing next generation sequencing data for microbial diversity and community structure from hundreds of samples.


Virginia Tech StREAM Lab

We regularly conduct work at the VT Stream Research Education and Management (StREAM) Lab, an outdoor research laboratory located on Stroubles Creek, just downstream of the Virginia Tech campus. An extensive array of real-time spatio-temporal monitors at this site permit students and researchers to investigate complex, systems-level interactions within a relatively small, manageable watershed. The StREAM Lab has three sampling bridges with water-quality datasondes collecting continuously, a groundwater well array, stage transducers, a full weather station, and a wireless system for routing all sensor data to a server that provides live updates every hour via the web. Water quality is continually monitored for dissolved oxygen, pH, water temperature, specific conductivity, and turbidity. At the most upstream bridge, a stilling basin and pressure transducer monitor water level, a SonTek Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) monitors velocity profiles, and a StreamPro (ADCP) raft can be used to obtaining flow measurements during storm events. A 20’ weather station tower measures wind, temperature, barometric pressure, rain, and evapotranspiration (solar radiation, soil moisture, and soil heat flux).

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

We collaborate with the on-campus Genomics Research Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute for library preparation and sequencing needs. Capacity at the GRL includes the MiSeq and HiSeq platforms by Illumina (San Diego, CA, USA). Researchers at the GRL include expertise needes to assist with genomic, metagenomic, and transcriptomic sequencing and analysis.

VT Advanced Research Computing

For larger computational needs we maintain accounts and collaboration with theAdvanced Research Computing facility on campus. ARC maintains five different high performance computing clusters designed for a range of applications including parallelization, high memory needs, intensive graphical processing, and archival storage. Systems are free to use for all VT personnel and ARC researchers are available to assist with complex projects.

Greenhouses

Virginia Tech’s main greenhouse range is located on campus, just west of McComas Hall and east of the Horticulture Gardens. Eight departments and programs utilize the greenhouses’ 51,000 square feet of space for teaching, research, and extension activities. Ten wings of glass houses are joined by a central corridor, and eight self-contained fiberglass, polyethylene or polycarbonate houses supplement the main range. The Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences has guaranteed space assignments within this range.