GVSU's Annis Water Resources Institute was awarded a 3-year grant from the US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program to establish a buoy-based observatory in Muskegon Lake. The buoy system will typically be 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. Teachers at all grade levels can use the current and historical data in active learning projects related to Grade Level Content Expectations and Michigan Merit Curriculum for Science such as those 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 October 1, 2012