A Closer Look
#94 March Newsletter

LMC Events - Activities - Presentations - Publications - Contracts and Grants - Awards - AWRI Seminar Series - AWRI In The News

Instrumentation used to detect and monitor PCB congeners (types) and quantities. This photo shows a chromatograph of different types of PCBs on the monitor; to the right of the monitor is a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, which is used to detect and measure PCBs.

WRI-GVSU, University of Michigan, and University of Saskatchewan Researchers Complete Investigation of PCBs in Saginaw Bay Walleye

AWRI researchers Richard Rediske and James O’Keefe have been working with David Jude and Stephen Hensler of the University of Michigan and John Giesy of the University of Saskatchewan to study the levels of PCBs in Saginaw Bay walleye. AWRI conducted the PCB analyses using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry with negative chemical ionization. The researchers found that the average concentration of PCBs in Saginaw River walleyes dropped 65 percent between 1990 and 2007. A significant factor in the change was attributed to the dredging and removal of contaminated sediment from the Saginaw and Tittabawassee Rivers. The research also pointed to a future problem with contaminant uptake as the walleye food web has changed. Twenty years ago, Saginaw Bay walleyes fed mainly on alewives, a non-native fish species. Recently, alewives have been nearly eliminated from Lake Huron, a decline blamed largely on predation by salmon and the proliferation of invasive zebra and quagga mussels, which have depleted some of the alewives’ main food sources. Walleyes now prey on round gobies, which in turn consume bottom-dwelling zebra mussels that can filter up to a liter of water per day – taking in any toxic substances present in the water. Round goby and zebra mussels contained significantly higher levels of PCBs than other similar species. Additional monitoring will be required to show if this change in the food web results in higher contaminant levels in walleye. The results of the research were accepted for publication in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

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AWRI Events

March 3 – Muskegon Public Schools’ teachers received a tour of the Institute.

March 10, 11, and 12 – 5th grade classes from Ealy Elementary (Whitehall Public Schools) participated in activities in the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation Classroom.

March 12 – AWRI Seminar Series, Dr. Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant, presented “Great Lakes fisheries management: Ecological, institutional, and economic realities”.

March 16 – The West Michigan Symphony held a meeting.

March 19 – Dr. Jelena Pantel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presented “The interface between metacommunity ecology and microevolution in freshwater zooplankton”.

March 24 – The International Joint Commission held a public meeting.

March 25 and 26 – The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District held a Health and Science Teacher Workshop.

March 26 – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students from Benona Elementary (Shelby) participated in activities in the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation Classroom.

March 30 – The Cranbrook Institute of Science held a meeting.

March 31 – 4th and 5th grade students from Benona Elementary (Shelby) participated in activities in the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom.

March 31 – The United Way held a Planned Giving luncheon.

March 31 – The “Fred Johnson for Congress” organization hosted a private reception.

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AWRI Activities

Members of AWRI assisted at the annual Science Olympiad held on the Allendale campus on March 27. Kurt Thompson supervised the remote sensing section, with assistance from Jon Vander Molen. Rick Rediske and Bopi Biddanda conducted “Crime Busters”, forensic science section.

Nichol De Mol presented project findings to the Fremont Lake Association on March 22.

Brian Hanson and Rod Denning created maps on the Lower Grand River Watershed, Non-point Source Pollution, and Green Infrastructure that were part of over 225,000 communication inserts for the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds that were distributed in the Grand Rapids Press on March 7, 14, and 21 in over 225,000 papers.

Elaine Sterrett Isely attended the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal 2010 Symposium in Oxford, MS on March 30-31.

John Koches attended Inclusion Advocacy Orientation on March 18, 2010 and he is now an Inclusion Champion.

Carl Ruetz attended the GVSU Scholarship Dinner at the Amway Grand on March 17.

Rick Rediske attended a Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment EAC (Environmental Advisory Committee) meeting to provide input on benchmarks for the new organizational structure on March 18.

Al Steinman attended an IJC Public Interest Advisory Group meeting on Great Lakes water levels in Windsor, Canada on March 4.

Al Steinman attended a Great Lakes mapping threats meeting in Ann Arbor on March 5.

Al Steinman helped organize another Café Scientifique at MAREC on March 10. The topic was Rare Earth Metals.

Al Steinman attended the IJC Public meeting that took place at the Lake Michigan Center on March 24.

Al Steinman attended the Cranbrook Institute of Science meeting held at the LMC on March 30. Al is part of an advisory group that is helping Cranbrook plan a Great Lakes Water Science Center.

Janet Vail hosted teachers from Muskegon High School who toured the Lake Michigan Center on March 2.

Janet Vail, Ranger Steve Mueller, and others conducted a Professional Development Day on March 24 at the Howard Christensen Nature Center for the teachers in Groundswell, a Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative in Kent County. She is on the advisory council for this project, which is a grant to the GVSU College of Education.

Janet Vail, Ryan Thum, Carl Ruetz, Jim McNair, John Koches, and Bopi Biddanda all attended the Grants on the Grand event on March 24.

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AWRI Presentations

Students and staff from AWRI gave presentations at the Michigan Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Letters held at Calvin College on March 26. Oral presentations given at the meeting (presenter is listed first):

Angela Defore* and Bopi Biddanda. Carbon cycling in Muskegon Lake: insights on driving forces.

Kelli Johnson* and Alan Steinman. Algal responses to road run-off collected from an urbanized catchment.

Amanda Potter*, Rick Rediske, and Jim O’Keefe. PCB and PBDE in Lake Michigan Whitefish.

Brian Scull, Rick Rediske, and Kurt Thompson. Integrated nutrient assessment of Bear Lake, Michigan.

Elizabeth Tromp*, Rick Rediske, and Jim O’Keefe. PBDEs in the Lake Huron fish.


Elaine Sterrett Isely conducted the final Stakeholder Steering Committee Meeting and presented the Final Project Report for the Rein in the Runoff: Integrated Assessment of Stormwater Management Alternatives in the Spring Lake Watershed at the Spring Lake Library on March 3.

Carl Ruetz gave a seminar at Calvin College for the Department of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Studies titled “Ecology of the invasive round goby: implications for the Great Lakes food web” on March 9.

Rick Rediske presented his research to GVSU class, CHEM 610 on March 4.

Rick Rediske spoke at a Sustainability Lecture Series at Grand Rapids Community College on Sustainable Drinking Water and Stormwater Treatment Methods on March 10.

Rick Rediske gave a lecture to GVSU class, CHEM 102 on March 24.

Al Steinman presented on Great Lakes issues to White Lake University Women in Montague on March 9.

Al Steinman presented to GVSU class, NRM 150 on the Allendale campus on March 18.

Ryan Thum and Matt Zuellig, graduate student working with Ryan, presented at the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society (MAPMS) Conference from February 28 – March 2 in Indianapolis, IN. Matt also won second place for a student paper at this event.

Thum, R. A. “Why understanding genetics might be important for aquatic plant management”

Zuellig, M. and R.A. Thum. “Hybridization in the Eurasian Watermilfoil System: How Often? How Many?”

Janet Vail conducted four presentations for 8th grade students at the annual county-wide career fair at Muskegon Community College on March 2.

Janet Vail presented a workshop for Population Connection at the Michigan Science Teachers Association Annual Conference in Lansing on March 5.

Janet Vail and Amanda Syers have been delivering numerous presentations for K-12 students in the R.B. Annis Educational Foundation Classroom.

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AWRI Publications

Isely, E.S., P. Isely, S. Seedang, K. Mulder, K. Thompson, and A.D. Steinman.(In press.)Addressing the information gaps associated with the value of green infrastructure in West Michigan: INtegrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services Tool (INVEST).Journal of Great Lakes Research.

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AWRI Contracts and Grants

Whitney Nelson, a graduate student working with Al Steinman, received a graduate student travel grant from the Academic Conference Fund of GVSU’s Integrative Learning to be used for her trip to the annual NABS Conference.

Hannah Tavalier received a $5000 grant from the Northeastern Aquatic Plant Management Society.

Ryan Thum received a "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" supplement to his National Science Foundation grant on invasive aquatic plants. The supplement is funding an undergraduate internship for the summer.

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Hannah Tavalire, Ryan Thum’s graduate student, received a research award of $750 from the Midwestern Aquatic Plant Management Society.

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AWRI Seminar Series

April 16, 2010 - 2:00 p.m.
Dr. Meng Xia
School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan
Seminar title: “A Numerical study of wave-current interaction in Lake Michigan using Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model"

April 30, 2010 - 12:00 p.m.
Dr. Robert Michael McKay
Department of Biological Sciences
Bowling Green State University
Seminar title: “Some like it cold: Psychrophilic diatoms in Lake Erie”

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AWRI In The News

“Ancient Cyanobacterial mats thrive in Great Lakes sinkholes”
InterChange, Regional Math/Science Center, GVSU, February 2010
Bopi Biddanda wrote this article.

“Separation anxiety: outrage over Asian carp puts spotlight on invasive species, but is the cure acceptable?”
MiBiz, Second Quarter 2010
Al Steinman is quoted regarding invasive species.

“Lake Huron sinkholes harbor unexpected life forms”
UWM Great Lakes WATER Institute
Bopi Biddanda is quoted regarding his research on Lake Huron sinkholes.

“International Joint Commission wants to hear your views on the St. Clair River report”
SooToday.com, March 11, 2010
A meeting will be held at the Annis Water Resources Institute on March 24 to get public opinion on the St. Clair River report.

“Update: Great Lakes Environmental Film Festival coming to Delta College for Earth Day”
Bay City Times, March 12, 2010
A film recently produced by GVSU titled “Lake Invaders” will be shown at this festival.

“What watershed are you drinking?” part 1 of 3, Saturday, March 13, 2010
“Ten things your parents didn’t tell you about non-point source pollution” part 2 of 3, Saturday, March 20, 2010
“Have you hugged your green infrastructure today?” part 3 of 3, Saturday, March 27, 2010
Grand Haven Tribune
AWRI produced maps for this series.

MiBiz, March 15, 2010
Al Steinman is interviewed regarding the possibility of Asian carp getting into the Great Lakes.

“Kaitlyn Driza: Summer 2009 R. B. Annis Internship recipient”
Grand Valley Lanthorn, March 15, 2010
The article was put into the GVSU student newspaper to make AWRI more visible to GVSU students.

“Muskegon to host meeting on Great Lakes levels”
Examiner.com, March 21, 2010
A meeting will be held at the Annis Water Resources Institute on March 24 to get public opinion on the St. Clair River report.
This article was also covered by FOX 32, WTOL 11, FOX 28, WLNS-CBS 6, WGVU, The Morning Sun (Serving Northern Michigan), and the Grand Haven Tribune.

“Meeting set on report on St. Clair River dredging”
Muskegon Chronicle, March 22, 2010
A meeting will be held at the Annis Water Resources Institute on March 24 to get public opinion on the St. Clair River report.

“In Brief: Muskegon meeting about Great Lakes”
Thetimesherald.com, March 22, 2010
A meeting will be held at the Annis Water Resources Institute on March 24 to get public opinion on the St. Clair River report.

“Student Scholarship Day (SSD) will celebrate 15 years”
FORUM: a newsletter for the Grand Valley State University Community, March 29, 2010
Several of our AWRI researchers are listed as faculty mentors for the SSD program.

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Page last modified April 19, 2012