GVSU's Annis Water Resources Institute has established a buoy-based observatory in Muskegon Lake in 2010 with funding form the US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (http://glri.us/), and is currently operating it with joint support from NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/)and the University of Michigan-Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research (http://ciler.snre.umich.edu/).  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 will measure over 13 parameters including temperature, oxygen, nutrients, light, pH, conductivity, algal pigments, bacterial pigments, and current speed and direction. Air sensors will measure 8 parameters including temperature, wind, humidity, and precipitation. Information is shared through live data display, web and regional observing networks for monitoring, research and educational outreach, and support the restoration of this coastal Great Lakes environment.

Observatory data will provide many hands-on research opportunities for researchers and students to 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.

This web site provides access to the meteorological and water data for research and education activities and is intended to be used by universities, colleges, K-12th grade schools, and the general public. 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, etc. The general public can use the data for recreational use (boating, sailing, wind surfing, fishing), or for a general understanding of this local water resource, or just to observe some local weather data.

Page last modified May 5, 2015