Earth, Water, Fire and Air, Celebrating Earth Day 2023

Earth Day 2023

The ancient Greeks believed that matter consists of four elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. As Earth Day approaches on Saturday April 22nd, Qubit Systems reflects on how our instruments can be used to study aspects of these four basic elements, and how scientists employ our instruments to better understand and conserve the natural environment.

EARTH: Studying the Soil

Soil erosion and degradation is a major problem resulting from large scale agricultural use of fertilizers and irrigation, as well as non-sustainable forestry. Conserving soil and the soil microflora is fundamental to conservation and global food security. The Q-Box SR1LP Soil Respiration Package ($13,000 US) is designed for short-term measurements of soil respiration and water loss in field conditions.  Measurements of soil temperature and soil moisture plus atmospheric pressure are also conducted. The battery pack included with the package provides approximately 11 hours of field use. Soil samples can also be taken for assessment in the lab when placed in a flow-through chamber.  Learn MORE. As with all our Q-Boxes, the modular design allows for the easy substitution of components. Thus, the SR1LP can be converted into our NF1LP Nitrogen Fixation Package ($13,100) by the addition of H2 and O2 Analyzers, as well as appropriate sample chambers. Learn MORE.

WATER: Instruments for Aquatic Biology

CISME for coral measurements

Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. On World Water Day, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report that constituted a “final warning” concerning severe freshwater scarcity on the one hand, and rising sea level on the other. Qubit Systems provides a broad range of instrumentation for monitoring the aquatic environment and monitoring the biological activity of aquatic organisms. Our Q-Box Aqua systems (from $6,700 US) are used for measuring the metabolic rates of fish and small invertebrates, our OX1LP Dissolved O2 System (from $3,950 US) can monitor photosynthesis or respiration in aquatic micro-organisms, and our unique, diver-deployed  CISME coral metabolism system is used to monitor coral photosynthesis, respiration and (de) calcification in situ. We also provide stand-alone sensors for monitoring and controlling dissolved O2, dissolved CO2, pH, salinity, and water temperature. For details of all our products for Aquatic Biology click HERE.

FIRE: Measuring Photosynthesis and Respiratory O2

Differential Oxygen Analyzer DOX

There’s no fire without oxygen, and Qubit Systems builds the most sensitive differential O2 analyzer available.  Our patented S104 DOX is able to resolve a 1 ppm O2 differential against air, allowing real-time measurements of Photosynthetic Quotient and Respiratory Exchange Ratio (ratio of CO2 consumed/produced to O2 produced/consumed, respectively). We made it possible, for the first time, to monitor the flux of reductant between alternative sources and sinks in respiration and photosynthesis in a flow-through gas exchange system. In combination with Qubit’s CO2 analysis instruments, the DOX has also been used to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic carbon emissions.  Qubit also provides a range of flow-through absolute O2 analyzers with ranges of 0-25% and 0-100% O2 and prices starting at $2530 US. For more information click HERE.

AIR: Environmental Gas Analysis

S158 CO2 Analyzer 0-10%

Our policy at Qubit Systems has always been to provide the best quality equipment at the most affordable prices, and we are proud that many of our gas analyzers are still functioning perfectly after more than 20 years in operation. We provide analyzers to monitor greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide, as well as a range of analysers and sensors to measure hydrogen, oxygen and water vapour. To review all of Qubit Systems’ gas analysers for environmental monitoring click HERE. We also provide gas pumps, mass flow meters, mass flow controllers, multichannel gas mixing systems, and gas control systems. For more information click HERE. Please contact us should you require custom-designed equipment for a particular environmental or biological application. Our staff of PhD level scientists are always happy to discuss potential solutions for your research.

And not forgetting LIGHT

ROX at Spitsbergen

Although not one of classic Greeks essential elements, light is the basis of life on earth: no solar radiation, no heat and no oxygen. It is fitting, therefore, that Qubit as a supplier of biological instruments should offer numerous products related to spectral and hyperspectral measurements. We are proud to collaborate with JB Hyperspectral of Germany in providing the ROX and FLOX instruments for measuring hyperspectral reflective indices and solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence.  The ROX is an automated field spectroscopy device capable of collecting unattended, continuous, long-term hyperspectral measurements. It was developed from a collaboration between Jülich Research Center and the Remote Sensing of Environmental Dynamics Laboratory of the University Milano Bicocca, and is designed for long term measurements of solar radiance, reflected radiance and reflectance. Its robustness and flexibility make the ROX suitable for numerous applications including vegetation monitoring (numerous reflective vegetation indices such as NDVI, PRI etc.), and monitoring water quality, snow and ice. Learn MORE.

FLOX in a field - tower

The FLOX Box is a self-contained dual hyperspectral system for monitoring long and short-term fluctuations in Solar-Induced Chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF). SIF is considered the most direct, non-invasive remote-sensing signal for tracking photosynthetic activity and its dynamics at the leaf, canopy, ecosystem, and global scale. Accurate measurements of SIF are crucial for understanding photosynthesis and its dynamics in the field. SIF may be used to monitor changes in plant and algal responses to environmental factors that may affect growth and yield, including temperature, water and nutrient availability, the effects of herbicides and pesticides, pollution, herbivory, plant pathogens and other abiotic and biotic stresses. The FLOX represents the most advanced system available for SIF measurements in agriculture, forestry and other remote locations. MORE

Make Earth Day Everyday
We have been using the Q-Box AQUA respirometry package for a year and have been impressed with the quality and versatility of the system. The mechanical systems are well designed and easily serviced and the software is intuitive and flexible enough for use in diverse applications. The technicians at Qubit are outstanding; they were able to modify the system to suit our particular needs and they have always been quick to respond when technical support was required. The fact that Qubit ships the system in a protective case was also a big plus for field workDr. Tyson MacCormackBiology Department, Mount Alison University, NB, Canada