A Closer Look #122 October 2012 Newsletter

Incoming Graduate Students at AWRI

Graduate students are a vital and critical part of our mission at the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI). Hands-on student training and development have been a hallmark of AWRI since its inception, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, the depth of training is greater and more intense at the master's level, and expectations for information synthesis and critical thinking from graduate students are higher.

AWRI welcomes six new graduate assistants to our program this Fall 2012 semester. Below is a brief overview of who they are and what research projects they will be working on with their advisors.

Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris is from Fruitport, Michigan and received his B.S. Degree in Biology from Grand Valley State University. He is working with Dr. Carl Ruetz on the status of Lake Sturgeon in the Muskegon River System. Research objectives include: (1) using program MARK to generate an accurate abundance estimate of the lake sturgeon population supported by the Muskegon River system, (2) examining the dynamics of adult lake sturgeon movement within Muskegon Lake and Muskegon River using acoustic telemetry, and (3) quantifying spawning locations in the Muskegon River by sampling egg deposition. Brandon is an avid fisher who also enjoys hunting.

Meagan Sesslemann

Meagan Sesselmann is from Muskegon, Michigan and received her B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering, minoring in Environmental and Ecological Engineering, from Purdue University. She is working with Dr. Jim McNair on a whole lake metabolism model for Muskegon Lake using the MLO Buoy. Meagan enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing sports, and fishing.

Jessica Wesoleck

Jessica Wesolek (formerly Jessica Comben) is from Bellaire, Michigan and received a B.S. Degree from Lake Superior State University in Fisheries and Wildlife Management with an emphasis in Fisheries. She is working with Dr. Carl Ruetz, studying yellow perch population genetics and movement between drowned river mouths and Lake Michigan. Jessica is an avid fisher and enjoys bug collecting.

James Smit

James Smit is from Byron Center, Michigan and received his B.S. Degree in Biology from Olivet Nazarene University in 2012. He is working with Dr. Alan Steinman, studying the nutrient fluxes and water quality in restored wetlands around Muskegon. In his free time, James enjoys mountain biking, fishing, and reading. For his next adventure, he would really like to try skydiving or rock climbing.

Bryan Giordano

Bryan Giordano is from Chanhassen, Minnesota. He received his B.S. Degree from St. Olaf College in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies. He is working with Dr. Mark Luttenton on a brown trout telemetry study on the Au Sable River. Bryan played college hockey for St. Olaf College, enjoys playing guitar, and is an avid fly fisher.

Syndell Parks

Syndell Parks is from Petoskey, Michigan. She received her B.S. Degree in Marine Biology and B.S. Degree in Biology from the University of Maine at Machias. She is working with Dr. Ryan Thum, studying the evolution of herbicide resistance in Eurasian Watermilfoil hybrids. She worked as a technician in an eco-toxicology lab and most recently at the Onaway sturgeon hatchery.

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

LMC Events

Oct 2  Oct 4
Montague Middle School and High School students visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

Oct 4
The Silver Lake Steering Committee meeting was held at AWRI. Members from the USGS Michigan Water Science Center in Lansing, Silver Lake Board members, and AWRI staff members attended.

Oct 8
Meadow Ridge Elementary students visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

Oct 12
Series Seminar: Dr. Tomas Hook, with the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, presented: The influence of river mouths and river plumes on recruitment of Great Lakes fishes.

Oct 17
A meeting was held to discuss the restoration and monitoring of the fish and wildlife habitat at the Bear Creek Hydrologic Reconnection and Wetland Restoration (Willbrandt fields).

Oct 18
A group from the local organization Every Womans Place visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities.

Oct 19
Students from a Home School Group visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities.

Oct 26
Walden Green Montessori School students visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities.

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Activities

Bopi Biddanda shared information on student fellowship opportunities through Michigan Space Grants Consortium at the GVSU Undergraduate Research Fair on October 2.

Bopi Biddanda and Scott Kendall attended the Great Lakes Observing Systems Regional Data Management and Decision Support Tools Workshop at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor on October 17; they contributed ideas for analyzing ecosystem changes in Muskegon Lake and its vicinity.

Jim McNair and Kevin Strychar represented AWRI at an information table at the Undergraduate Research Fair held on the Allendale campus on October 2.

Carl Ruetz attended the GVSU Scholarship Celebration Dinner held at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids on October 8.

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Presentations

Bopi Biddanda gave a special invited lecture during Earth Science Week titled Observatories for Earth Science Studies: Example of Muskegon Lake Observatory on the Allendale campus on October 18.

Nicole Horne, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, presented a poster at the American Society of Microbiology Conference on Beneficial Microbes held October 22-26 in San Antonio, Texas. (AWRI staff members are bolded, graduate students are denoted with an *, undergraduate students are denoted with **).
Horne, N.*, B. Biddanda, R. Rediske and J. OKeefe. Poster. Removal efficacy of harmful microbes and contaminants by biosand filters.

Jim McNair gave an oral presentation titled Turbulent transport of ecologically important particles in streams at the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Symposium held on the Allendale campus on October 26.

Rick Rediske gave a lecture on Environmental Toxicology for Professor Dan Grohs Green Chemistry class, CHM 111, on October 6.

Rick Rediske gave a lecture on World Water Sustainability for the Environmental Studies 201 class that is team-taught by Janet Vail and Elena Lioubimtseva on October 16.

Michael Snider, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, gave a presentation at the fall Conference of the Michigan Space Grants consortium at the University of Michigan on October 6.
Snider, M.* and B. Biddanda. Oral. Probing the pigments of cyanobacteria in Lake Hurons sinkholes.

Al Steinman gave a presentation about AWRI and the blue economy to the CLAS Advisory Board in Grand Rapids on October 6.

Al Steinman was invited to speak on Climate Change and the Great Lakes at the Norton Shores Library on October 29.

Ryan Thum spoke about his research to students from Montague High School on October 3.

Ryan Thum was a guest lecturer for Carl Ruetzs Fisheries Biology class, BIO 362, on October 23.

Janet Vail presented a MEECS Climate Change workshop at the annual conference of the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education on October 12. The conference was held at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan.

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Publications

Liz LaRue, graduate student who worked with Ryan Thum, has a manuscript accepted to the journal Evolutionary Applications.
LaRue, E.A.*, M.P. Zuellig*, M.D. Netherland, M.A. Heilman, and R.A. Thum. Hybrid watermilfoil lineages are more invasive and less sensitive to a commonly used herbicide than their exotic parent (Eurasian watermilfoil). Evolutionary Applications.

Rick Rediske is a co-author of an article accepted for publication. Lead author, Jessica Higgins, was a graduate student who worked with Rick.
Higgins, J.*, R. Rediske, and X. Chu. In Press. A preliminary study on the effects of surface microtopography on tracer transport in a coupled overland and unsaturated flow system. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering.

Kevin Strychar is a co-author of a paper accepted, pending changes, to the International Journal of Biology:
Sabourin D.T., J. Silliman, K.B. Strychar. In Press. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations within sediments and corals in the Inter-coastal waterways of South Texas. International Journal of Biology. Manuscript ID: IJB-20820.

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Awards & Recognition

Whitney Nelson, graduate student who worked with Al Steinman, has been selected as GVSU's nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Master's Thesis Competition for 2012-13. Title: Composition and Toxic Sensitivity of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assemblages in Muskegon Lake, a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Al Steinman was recognized as a Sustainability Champion by Grand Valley State University's Sustainable Community Development Initiative on October 19.

Janet Vail was elected chair of the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition. The WMCA is a partnership of businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, industry, and non-profit organizations in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Kalamazoo counties, working together to achieve cleaner air in the region through the education and promotion of voluntary emission reduction activities.

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Grants & Contracts

Janet Vail announced that a $250,000 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant was approved by the EPA for another two years of vessel-based outreach and education. Partners in the grant include MSU Sea Grant and the Inland Seas Education Association.

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AWRI In the News

Board Profiles: Alan Steinman
Goodwill Works, Fall 2012 Al Steinman, a member of the Goodwill Board of Directors, was highlighted.

Environmental history project unveiled
White Lake Beacon, October 1, 2012 Al Steinman was the featured speaker at a kickoff event for the White Lake Environmental History project, hosted by the White Lake Community Library.

Federal funding for Muskegon River Watershed means better banks: Muskegon River Watershed Assembly said theyll work with 14 private landowners and preserve forests along creeks and the river. Its the second longest in the state.
WOOD Radio October 3, 2012 AWRI is a partner in this restoration of banks along the Muskegon River and adjoining creeks. This article was also posted at WTKG-AM.

GVSU brings in scientist to study Great Lakes
Muskegon Chronicle, October 9, 2012 Kevin Strychar, new employee at the AWRI, was featured.

Annis Water Resources Institute gets $250,000 grant for outreach, education
GV Now, October 11, 2012 AWRI received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue our Vessel-Based Education and Outreach Activities program at strategic ports of call around the Great Lakes.

Annis Water Resources Institute awarded $250,000 grant
Holland Sentinel, October 11, 2012 AWRI received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue our Vessel-Based Education and Outreach Activities program at strategic ports of call around the Great Lakes.

GVSU gets federal EPA grant for water resources program
WKZO (Kalamazoo), October 12, 2012 AWRI received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue our Vessel-Based Education and Outreach Activities program at strategic ports of call around the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes neighbors bet on wet: Michigan wades in to catch blue economy wave
Crains Detroit, October 15, 2012 AWRI is mentioned as one of the leaders in promoting the blue economy.

Tech tour day seven: Grand tech at Grand Valley
CBS Detroit, October 17, 2012 Rick Rediske spoke about his current research projects at the 2012 Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report Tech Tour.

GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute gets $250K EPA grant
Grand Rapids Business Journal, October 18, 2012 AWRI received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue our Vessel-Based Education and Outreach Activities program at strategic ports of call around the Great Lakes.

AWRI gets $250,000 grant for outreach, education
FORUM: a newsletter for the Grand Valley State University Community, October 22, 2012 AWRI received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue our Vessel-Based Education and Outreach Activities program at strategic ports of call around the Great Lakes.

NOAA announces $5.5 million to support watershed education projects for K-12 students around the country
Water Efficiency, October 30, 2012 GVSU (AWRI) is mentioned as a recipient of some of this watershed education money through a project called B-WET.

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