Bruce H. Vaughn

Bruce H. Vaughn CV

Stable Isotope Lab Manager

  • Senior Professional Scientist


  • MSc: University of Colorado, 1994

Contact Information

(Office) 303 492-7985
(Fax) 303 492-6388
UCB 450 University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309
(Lab) 303 492-5495
(Other) 303 249-2698


Isotopic analysis in global change, paleoclimate, glacier hydrology, atmospheric trace gases, and instrument development. Google Scholar:

Research Interests


    Bruce manages the INSTAAR Stable Isotope lab and uses stable isotopes to study biogeochemical processes that control environmental change on human timescales.  The lab collaborates with the NOAA Global Monitoring Division and measures stable isotopes of bi-weekly atmospheric trace gas samples from over 50 sites, adding to a 20+ year global data base. The lab also creates extremely high-resolution paleoclimate records from stable isotopes of deep ice cores from Greenland and West Antarctica.  With a fleet of 8 mass spectrometers and a growing number of laser-based spectroscopy instruments, the lab continues to pioneer new methods and techniques using stable isotopes for a variety of applications.

    Jim White and Bruce Vaughn began the Stable Isotope Lab at INSTAAR in 1989 with 2 mass spectrometers, focusing on ice cores and developing methods for measuring isotopes in atmospheric CO2. The lab has now grown to include multiple instruments and multiple projects. Bruce manages the lab with its current staff of six, plus graduate students, and collaborates with many researchers on many different projects. Prior to INSTAAR, Bruce was with the Water Resources Division of the USGS, Project office Glaciology. His passion for Earth science has always included an important role for field work. Sites over the years have included Greenland, Antarctica, Ecuador, Alaska, the Central Pacific islands, Grand Canyon, and the North Cascades.

    More recently, as a participant in the NSF-funded AirWaterGas project, Bruce has helped bring Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) methods to the project, including the Picarro Mobile Methane Analyzer Investigator, capable of making vehicle-based methane concentration measurements along with carbon isotopic characterization.  The 13C signature can help distinguish between methane sources, including landfills, feed lots, wetlands or natural gas.  He is currently developing a method to use CRDS to measure methane and methane isotopes in ground water in situ from a mobile platform.

List of publications can be found on Google Scholar

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