GC-MS Course

We are in discussions about when we will next teach this course. It could be 2021 or 2022.

See below for information about the course in 2018.


August 12-18, 2018 at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado

Please contact the Science Director at sd@rmbl.org for more information.


INSTRUCTORS: ROBERT RAGUSO (Cornell University) and DIANE CAMPBELL (Univ. of California, Irvine)

Course Description:  Biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are major drivers of terrestrial ecology across many scales and influence the spectrum of mutualistic to antagonistic interactions. Until recently, it has been difficult to incorporate VOC analysis into field ecological research, especially in remote settings where such interactions are best studied.

We are offering a beginner’s course in the analysis of VOCs using coupled gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

Participants will learn the basics of how to collect, separate, identify and quantify plant VOCs from local plants at RMBL, using complementary methods widely accepted among chemical ecologists. In addition, participants will apply these basics to a short project, during which the instructors will work with them to optimize GC-MS and GC-FID methods for their focal species, target compounds or questions.

Learning outcomes include familiarity and competence with methods and first principles, practice applying core approaches in short projects, the potential to produce  pilot / proof of concept data for research projects, and (ultimately) the opportunity for participants to add VOC analysis to their research programs, at RMBL and beyond.

  • Course Fee:  $1000
  • Class Size:  12 participants
  • Rate Sheet
  • Registration closes July 30, 2018 or when the class is full.  A $500 nonrefundable deposit is required to hold a spot in the class.
  • Limited funds are available for graduate students or scientists who need fee waivers.  Contact the Science Director for more information.  sd@rmbl.org
  • Travel Information
  • Lodging Information (for all non-RMBL scientists with an approved 2018 research plan)
    • You may register to reside in Gothic. As part of your online registration you may choose three different housing options (including station fees) in Gothic
      • $304.50 for Housing in a Premium cabin (Comfortable, Heat, Hot Water, Good Insulation). This cost includes station fees.
      • $273 for Housing in a High-end cabin (Comfortable, Heat, Cold Water, Some Insulation)
      • $246 for Housing in a Mid-rate cabin (Limited Heat, Limited Water, Limited Insulation).
    • If you desire more comfort and would like to be Off-Site and stay in a hotel or bed & breakfast, please arrange your own housing, but please also register online. The cost is $126 to cover station fees over the duration of the course.
  • Participants with cars are required to have a parking permit ($36 over the duration of the course) and they park in the designated RMBL parking lots ONLY described on this Parking Plan Map. Please stay on trails! Here is more information on Parking
  • What to Bring to Gothic
  • Gothic Town Map
  • Course Schedule
  • Welcome Handout


  • The course fee includes lunches. You may register for breakfasts and dinners, starting with dinner on Sunday, August 12, 2018 at 6pm and ending with breakfast on Saturday, August 18, at 7 am. The total cost is $139.50.
    • The Community Center Dining Hall serves buffet-style meals
    • Breakfast at 7:00 am – 7:30 am, Lunch at Noon – 12:30 pm, Dinner at 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm.
    • Food will be served during the first 30 minutes of a meal. Participants are welcome to stay longer after the food is served

RMBL has an open wireless internet system available throughout the campus, although some dead zones exist. Excellent wireless access is available in the Community Center. There is no cell phone service in Gothic. Outhouses are used for toilet facilities.