A Closer Look
#120 August 2012 Newsletter

AWRI Hires New Faculty Climatologist

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

Dr. Kevin Strychar, our new climatologist, was hired and began employment at AWRI August 6th.  Kevin was born in northern Alberta (Canada) where his family still farms and ranches in the wild west, much like people did decades ago (1st pic on left).  Longing for excitement and a better understanding of water resources, Kevin began commercial diving (2nd pic on right), working in quicksand, zero visibility, and North Sea environments to depths of 600+ feet.  Recognizing the delicate balance of human and environment, Kevin gave up diving to earn a BS and MS degree in marine biology at the University of New Brunswick (Canada), followed by a PhD via a commonwealth fellowship to work on the effects of climate change on coral reefs in Australia.  Prior to finishing his PhD, he was successful at writing a grant to the EPA to fund his 1st postdoc at the University of Connecticut, studying the effects of climate and pollution on microalgae in Long Island Sound.  Shortly after beginning his 1st postdoc, Kevin was awarded a Sir Isaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship for a 2nd postdoc studying deep-water coral genetics at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada); Kevin worked both postdocs at the same time.  After completion of his postdocs, Kevin began an academic appointment at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi studying the effects of climate change on coral reef organisms.  When not studying the effects of climate change on freshwater and marine ecosystems, Kevin is an active fisher (3rd pic on bottom), a PADI diving Instructor, and a farmer. 

LMC Events

  August 16
  GVSU’s University Development Office held a meeting for Cabinet members working on the upcoming AWRI Field Station Campaign. 

August 31
Leon Gereaux, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, successfully passed his qualifying exam.

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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative cruises and open houses were held on the W.G. Jackson in Milwaukee on August 3.

There were two GLRI trips on the D.J. Angus on August 10 and three trips on August 11. AWRI partnered with the Ottawa County Parks “Greenways Celebration” for these trips.

Bopi Biddanda’s lab has deployed a surface current drifter that is being tracked by satellite.  It was deployed by the research vessel W. G. Jackson in Lake Michigan on July 30, 2012.  It can be tracked in real-time using the link:  http://www.gvsu.edu/wri/biddanda/lake-michigan-drifter-study-39.htm

Bopi Biddanda hosted MSU participants involved in the MSU-GVSU’s Water Initiative Research Grant as they participated in a sampling cruise on Muskegon Lake in the vicinity of the Muskegon Lake Observatory on August 30.

Leon Gereaux, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, attended a workshop on time-series observatory data analyses at the Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin, from August 20-24.

Scott Kendall attended a workshop of the National Data Buoy Center held at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi from July 31-August 1, and represented the Great Lakes community on real-time dissolved oxygen time-series data acquisition, quality control and dissemination.

Jim McNair and Rick Rediske met with Mercy Health Partners and Public Heath Muskegon at AWRI on August 9 to develop a tentative design for a grant proposal dealing with environmental occurrence and effects of pharmaceuticals in the Muskegon area.

Al Steinman attended a meeting of the CMU Biological Field Station Science Advisory Board on Beaver Island on August 12–14.

Al Steinman was invited to attend a meeting with representatives from GVSU and the University of Michigan to discuss possible collaborations between the two institutions on August 14.

Al Steinman was invited to attend a meeting of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s North American Natural Resources Initiative in Lansing on August 22.

Al Steinman attended a Board of Trustees meeting for the Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in Lansing on August 29.

Al Steinman, accompanied by John Austin of the Brookings Institution, had meetings with the Frey Foundation and Fred and Christina Keller on August 31st to discuss a Blue Economy for Michigan initiative. 

Janet Vail, Tara Eilers (Scientech summer intern), and science instructors traveled to Chicago on the W.G. Jackson to teach two days of classes for the Great Lakes Environmental Policy class at DePaul University on July 31 and August 1.

Janet Vail attended advanced Project WET leadership training held at the National Project WET in Bozeman, Montana on August 6-7.

Janet Vail helped teach four days of workshops for Groundswell Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative teachers from August 13-16.  A highlight was water monitoring at various sites in the Grand River watershed and a trip on the D.J. Angus.

Janet Vail was co-facilitator for the summer Lake Michigan Forum meeting in Traverse City on August 22 and 23.  Forum members had the opportunity to be on the Inlands Seas tall ship. The Inland Seas Education Association is part of our GLRI grant for onboard education.

Janet Vail attended a special climate change meeting for a variety of climate education stakeholders in Lansing on August 27. This meeting was convened by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to review the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support Climate Change lessons.

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AWRI was represented at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society held in St. Paul, Minnesota from August 19 - 23.  Carl Ruetz, Mark Luttenton, Jesse Comben, Jared Homola, Brandon Harris, and Alex Wieten were in attendance.  AWRI staff members are bolded, graduate students are denoted with an *.
Comben, J.N.*, C.R. Ruetz III, K.M. Smith, and E. Binoniemi-Smith.  Poster.  Distribution of age-0 lake sturgeon in the lower section of a Lake Michigan tributary.
Homola, J.J.*, C.R. Ruetz III, and S.L. Kohler.  Poster.  Environmental and fish community influences on presence of a microsporidian parasite in mottled sculpin.
Harris, B.S.*, C.R. Ruetz III, J.J. Homola*, and J.N. McNair.  Oral.   Evaluating removal and mark-recapture methods for estimating abundance of a small, non-game fish.
Wieten, A.*, C.R. Ruetz III, M.E. Altenritter, and K.M. Smith.  Poster.  Movement and spatial distribution of lake sturgeon in Muskegon Lake, Michigan.

Dave Janetski presented to the Fish Passage Symposium in Traverse City on August 29.  The title of his presentation was “Adult salmon impacts on stream resident fishes: interspecific interactions and pollutant transport".

Rick Rediske gave a presentation to the White Lake Public Advisory Council on August 21st.  The title of his presentation was “Status of the restrictions on fish consumption BUI”.

Janet Vail and Amanda Syers facilitated a Project WET workshop for West Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative teachers on July 30.  The teachers were on the D.J. Angus on August 2 and Amanda assisted with the workshop throughout the week.

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Jared Homola, graduate student working with Carl Ruetz, was lead author and Jim McNair a co-author of an article recently published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society: AWRI staff members are bolded, graduate students are denoted with an *.  
Homola, J.J.*, K.T. Scribner, R.F. Elliott, M.C. Donofrio, J. Kanefsky, K.M. Smith, and J.N. McNair.  Genetically derived estimates of contemporary natural straying rates and historical gene flow among Lake Michigan lake sturgeon populations.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 141:5, 1374-1388.

Ruetz, C.R., III.  2012.  Poster and oral presentations at professional meetings.  Pages 143-153 in C.A. Jennings, T.E. Lauer, and B. Vondracek, editors.  Scientific communication for natural resources professionals.  American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

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Awards & Recognition

Nicole Horne, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, was appointed a Cook Leadership Fellow for 2012-13, to serve at the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, GVSU.

Jessica Comben and Brandon Harris, graduate students working with Carl Ruetz, each received the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists Clark Hubbs Research Assistance Award for excellence in graduate-level research.  Each award was in the amount of $500, which helped support their travel to the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Amanda Syers, technical call-in working with Janet Vail, has completed all of the requirements for her Master’s degree.

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 AWRI In the News

“Profile in excellence – Wampler, Molla, and Rediske, Culture and Science in Haiti”
Grand Valley State University Quadrennial report of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2008 – 2012 (academic year)
Rick Rediske and two other colleagues from GVSU traveled to Haiti in the summer of 2012 to better understand the interactions between cultural perceptions regarding water treatment interventions.

“Protecting freshwater resources”
Grand Valley Magazine, Summer 2012, page 12 and 13
Carl Ruetz and Ryan Thum are working with other AWRI researchers to develop ways to protect Michigan’s waterways from invasive species.

“It’s the (blue) economy, stupid”
Grand Valley Magazine, Summer 2012, page 14 – 16
Al Steinman is interviewed regarding the blue economy.

“Annis Water Resources Institute to be highlighted on Discovery Channel”
GVNow, August 3, 2012
The article gives a brief overview of the segment about AWRI that is scheduled to air on August 15.

“GVSU’s water institute to be featured on Discovery Channel”
Holland Sentinel, August 3, 2012
The article gives a brief overview of the segment about AWRI that is scheduled to air on August 15.

“Annis Water Resources Institute to be highlighted on Discovery Channel”
WaterWorld, August 4, 2012
The article gives a brief overview of the segment about AWRI that is scheduled to air on August 15.

“Discovery Channel to feature GVSU’s Annis Water Resources Institute”
MLive, August 5, 2012
The article gives a brief overview of the segment about AWRI that is scheduled to air on August 15.

“Grand Valley State University receives $1.1 million to build field research building”
The Foundation Center, Philanthropy News Digest, August 6, 2012
An unnamed donor has given money toward the re-building of the AWRI Field Station.

“New grants from foundations and corporations for August 9, 2012”
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 9, 2012
A 1.1 million dollar grant is listed, for use in building the new AWRI Field Station.

“Grand ecology: river tour highlights river environment”
Grand Haven Tribune, August 13, 2012
The research vessel D. J. Angus hosted several trips for the Grand River Greenway Parks Celebration.  Janet Vail was interviewed regarding the GLRI grant that paid for the cost of the educational cruises.

“White Lake fish as good as other lakes, but you shouldn’t eat them every night”
MLive, August 21, 2012
Rick Rediske gave a presentation about research done at AWRI related to toxins in fish as related to the proposed delisting of White Lake.

“Editorial: it will take more than getting off the toxic hotspot list to boost our reputation”
MLive, August 22, 2012
The writer mentions Rick Rediske’s study of fish in White Lake and Pentwater Lake.

“GVSU introduces students to campus through Saturday Night Live ‘I’m on a boat’ video spoof”
MLive, August 26, 2012
AWRI research vessel D. J. Angus was highlighted in a video created by GVSU News & Information. 

“Diagnostic work starts at Silver Lake”
Oceana Herald-Journal, August 29, 2012
AWRI is a partner with USGS on research on Silver Lake.  The AWRI portion of the study will begin in 2013.

“Fish meetings mainly historical”
Traverse City Record Eagle, August 30, 2012
Dave Janetski was one of several researchers who spoke about the impact of PCB contaminated adult salmon on resident stream fish.

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Page last modified October 2, 2012