A Closer Look
#106 April 2011 Newsletter

LMC Events - Activities - Presentations - Publications - Awards & Recognition - Grants & Contracts - AWRI In The News

Figure 1. Location of the Muskegon Lake Buoy and GVSU-AWRI shore station.

Figure 2. View of Muskegon Lake Buoy.

AWRI Awarded Funding for a Buoy-Based Observatory in Muskegon Lake

Dr. Bopi Biddanda, of GVSU-AWRI, is the lead Principal Investigator on a 3-year grant he received from the US EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program to establish a buoy-based observatory in Muskegon Lake. Typically, the buoy system will be deployed on the lake during the ice-free season from April to November. However, we are also exploring methods for leaving some sensors within 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. All parameters will be measured every 15 minutes and transmitted hourly to AWRI. Information will be 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 ecosystem.

Observatory-derived data will be used to assess lake condition and provide many hands-on research opportunities for researchers and students. Areas of research for this intensive data set are many and include the following examples:

  • 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
  • Mapping water circulation patterns and sediments movements

We plan to link the Muskegon Lake Observatory to ongoing long-term scientific studies of the lake and the educational programs on board the W.G. Jackson vessel at AWRI. Furthermore, teachers in local schools can use the live and historical data for active learning projects, and the general public may be interested in using the wind and temperature data for sailing and fishing, or just to observe interesting local weather data.

At present, we have deployed some of the components of the buoy system in central Muskegon Lake, and are preparing to attach a multi-sensor string that will span the water column and an acoustic Doppler current profiler that will be located on the lake bottom. We expect to have live data stream from the observatory on-line in late spring/early summer. We envision this “Lake Sentinel” Observatory will serve as a hub for research and education activities and be used by universities, colleges, K-12th grade schools, and the general public. The web site for the buoy project can be found at www.gvsu.edu/wri/buoy.

For additional Information, please contact:

Bopi Biddanda, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor (biddandb@gvsu.edu)

Scott Kendall, Observatory Manager (kendalsc@gvsu.edu)

LMC Events

April 8
Dr. Walter Dodds, Kansas State University, Series Seminar Speaker in the MPR

April 15
AWRI Diversity Potluck was held in the MPR

April 15
Dr. Charles Madenjian, USGS, Special Seminar Speaker in the MPR

April 21 and April 26
Whitehall Public Schools 2nd graders visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities.

April 29
The Healthy Muskegon Steering Committee held a strategy session in the MPR

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Bopi Biddanda participated as a member of the Student Scholarship Day Committee on the Allendale campus on April 13.

Paula Capizzi, AWRI Science Instructor, represented AWRI at an Earth Day event in Holland on April 16.

Scott Kendall participated in the Great Lakes Observing Systems workshop in Chicago on April 1.

Mark Luttenton attended a meeting of the Michigan Botanical Club on April 16.

Jim McNair recently traveled to the Stroud Water Research Center in Philadelphia to work with Denis Newbold on two manuscripts dealing with results of their NSF-funded research project.

Michele Smith and Shirley McIntire, AWRI Science Instructors, participated in the MDEQ/MDNR Earth Day event in Lansing on April 21.

Al Steinman is serving on the search committee for the Associate Director of Research and Technology at MAREC.

Janet Vail attended a GVSU Grants Development meeting and a Groundswell professional development meeting in Grand Rapids on April 8.

Janet Vail attended the EPA Lake Michigan Forum meeting in Sheboygan, WI on April 13 and 14.

Janet Vail attended Student Scholars Day to hear Ryan Hinkley and Eric Howard, two Statistics 319 students, give their presentation on A Statistical Consulting Experience: Analysis of Water Data. Their data were taken from the AWRI research vessels. Janet Vail and Neal Rogness served as mentors for this project.

Jon VanderMolen represented AWRI at the West Michigan EcoExpo at the Grand Rapids Public Library on April 23.

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AWRI was represented at the annual meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society in Petoskey, Michigan on April 6-7. Carl Ruetz, Mark Luttenton, staff and students from the Ruetz lab were in attendance. The following presentations were given by AWRI students and staff:

Allison, J.R., C.R. Ruetz III, E.S. Rutherford, J. Elliott, and J. Nohner. Oral. Factors limiting walleye reproduction in the Muskegon River.

Comben, J.N., C.R. Ruetz III, K.M. Smith, E. Binoniemi-Smith, and W.D. Keiper. Oral. Abundance and habitat use of juvenile lake sturgeon in two Lake Michigan tributaries.

Wieten, A., M.E. Altenritter, C.R. Ruetz III, and K.M. Smith. Oral. Age and growth of lake sturgeon in the Muskegon River system.

Homola, J.J., C.R. Ruetz III, M.J. Breen, and S.L. Kohler. Poster. Apparent seasonal survival of a disease-infected population of mottled sculpin in a Michigan stream.

Koster, A., Y. Bhagat, and C.R. Ruetz III. Poster. Round goby density and diet at pierheads and adjacent drowned river mouth lakes of Lake Michigan.

Several AWRI undergraduate students were part of the annual Student Scholars Day held on the Allendale campus on April 13. Bopi Biddanda, Rick Rediske, Al Steinman, Ryan Thum and Janet Vail attended this event:

Kate Coveney, who worked at AWRI for Bopi Biddanda as a Scientech Intern last summer, presented a poster about her summer research:

Coveney, Kate. Poster. Sink to Source? Effect of Climate Warming on Carbon Balance in Muskegon Lake.

Sara Damm, undergraduate who worked with Carl Ruetz, gave an oral presentation:

Damm, Sara. Oral. Diet analysis of stocked Brown Trout vs. Rainbow Trout within the Muskegon River, MI.

Heather Hayward, undergraduate working with Ryan Thum, presented a poster:

Heather Hayward, Ryan Thum, Kyle Borrowman and Eric Sager. Poster. Uncovering cryptic diversity in the invasive aquatic plant species, Eurasian Watermilfoil, using DNA fingerprinting.

Patricia Phillips, undergraduate working with Ryan Thum, presented a poster:

Patricia Phillips, Dustin Wcisel and Ryan Thum. Poster. Characterization of the Phytoene Desaturase Gene in invasive Watermilfoil Populations that exhibit different sensitivities to the herbicide Fluridone.

John Koches was invited to present a poster titled, “Aerial Land Use Research Experiment (ALURE) as a tool to help manage Phragmites” at Phragmites Invasion in Michigan – A Symposium to Build Capacity for Management, in East Lansing, Michigan on March 29.

Whitney Nelson, graduate student working with Al Steinman, presented to the Biology Department at Calvin College in Grand Rapids on April 1. The title was Changing Trends in Benthic Communities in a Coastal Drowned River Mouth Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Whitney Nelson presented to the Academic and Professional Writing course in the English Department at Calvin College on April 15. The title was English Majors and Scientific Writing.

Al Steinman presented about AWRI to the Scientech Club in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 25.

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Bopi Biddanda recently had an article published in GVSU's Regional Math and Science Center's Interchange:

Biddanda, Bopi. 2011. Isotopes reveal groundwater link to Great Lakes' food web. Interchange, 18:3. http://gvsu.edu/rmsc/interchange/science-and-math-update-299.htm

Kelli Johnson, a recent Masters graduate who worked with Al Steinman, had an article, based on her thesis work, accepted for publication in JNABS:

Johnson, K.A., A.D. Steinman, W.D. Keiper, and C.R. Ruetz III. In Press. Biotic responses to low concentration urban road runoff. Journal of the North American Benthological Society.

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Awards & Recognition

Jordan Allison, graduate student working with Carl Ruetz, received an award for Academic Excellence in his Major (Biology) on April 22 at the Graduate Dean’s Citation Awards held at the Eberhard Center. The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) and the Office of Graduate Studies hosted the event. The students were recognized for excellence in academic performance.

Matt Zuellig, graduate student working with Ryan Thum, was nominated for the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Academic Excellence for Outstanding Thesis for Winter 2011.

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Grants & Contracts

Jon VanderMolen, AWRI, and Erik Nordman, Biology Faculty at GVSU, received a Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) grant for $37,230 to do Offshore Wind Energy Outreach and Education.

Al Steinman received funding from an anonymous donor for a new postdoctoral research associate at AWRI.

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AWRI In The News

“Editorial: the art of sustainability”
Muskegon Chronicle, April 1, 2011
The article is about the concert the West Michigan Symphony recently performed. The theme was “sustainability”. GVSU’s Annis Water Resources Institute was mentioned as a partner in this event.

“New summer short course on the Great Lakes”
Interchange (a publication of Grand Valley State University’s Regional Math & Science Center), April 2011.
The article is about a teacher workshop to be offered at the Annis Water Resources Institute in June of 2011.

“Isotopes reveal groundwater link to Great Lakes’ food web”
Interchange (a publication of Grand Valley State University’s Regional Math & Science Center), April 2011.
Bopi Biddanda discusses research done relating groundwater and submerged sinkholes.

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