Welcome to the Muskegon Lake Buoy web site!  From this site, you have at your fingertips current conditions and historic data from the Muskegon Lake buoy going back to 2011.  The primary purpose of the buoy system is to help understand and manage this valuable water resource in the Muskegon area.  However, data is openly accessible for everyone no matter what your interest:boating, fishing, wind surfing, paddle boarding, developing a lesson plan, working on a student project, doing lake research, or you just want to know weather conditions in the area.

The buoy system is typically deployed on the lake from April to November, and some sensors may be in the lake year round. Water sensors measure over 13 parameters including temperature, oxygen, nutrients, light, pH, conductivity, algal pigments, bacterial pigments, and current speed and direction. Air sensors measure 8 parameters including temperature, wind, humidity, and precipitation. When the buoy system is deployed, data is shared through live data display, and web and regional observing networks for all to use.

Observatory data is available for researchers, community organizations, teachers, and students to learn about and assess the lake ecosystem. Research areas for this intensive data set are extensive and include:

  • Monitoring water quality.
  • Monitoring food web structure.
  • Quantifying the significance of episodic storm events to the lake.
  • Tracking algal blooms including harmful algal blooms.
  • Influence of changing regional climate to water and carbon balance of the lake.
  • Examination of the relationship of river discharge to in-lake fish recruitment success.
  • Tracking water circulation patterns and sediments movements.

We encourage teachers at all grade levels to use the current and historical data in active learning projects related to learning of STEM, particularly learning objectives dealing with local water ecosystems, microbes, chemistry, photosynthesis, hydrology, etc.

Project Team

GVSU's Annis Water Resources Institute established the buoy-based observatory in Muskegon Lake in 2010.  The project is managed by the Biddanda Lab under the direction of Bopi Biddanda, Ph.D. (principal investigator).  Funding was initially provided from a grant from the US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and is currently operated with joint support from NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/) and the University of Michigan-Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (https://ciglr.seas.umich.edu/).  

Project supporters

Buoy system showing surface buoy and surface markers for subsurface buoy and anchorsbsurface

Students about the WG Jackson visiting the buoy

Page last modified June 6, 2017