Faculty/Staff Directory

First Name

Last Name

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Office Address
3351 Kindschi Hall of Science

Office Phone

Areas of Expertise
Aquatic Biology, Ecology

Professional Societies

American Phycological Society
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Belize Audubon Society
Ecological Society of America
International Association for Great Lakes Research
International Phycological Society
International Society for Diatom Research
Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters
North American Benthological Society
Sigma Xi

Courses Taught at GVSU

Stream Ecology
Natural History of Invertebrates
Fisheries Biology
Environmental Ethics
Freshwater Algae
Aquatic Invertebrates
Ecology of the Great Lakes
Methods for Aquatic Ecosystems
Productivity of Ecosystems
Aquatic Plants
Tropical Ecology
Biology of People
Great Lakes and Other Water Resources
Human Ecology
General Biology I
Management of Aquatic Ecosystems
Honors Seminar

Research Interests

1. Tracking Au Sable River Brown Trout

Using radio telemetry to track nearly 35 different brown trout for more than a year, we are starting to determine where these fish prefer to live and how they move throughout the Au Sable River. The data suggest that fish have one preferred daytime location and one nightly feeding site a short distance away. During warm months, fish will leave their preferred site to find colder water which has implications for changing climate patterns. We hope these findings will help guide future habitat restoration projects.

2. Whirling Disease in the Au Sable River

Whirling disease has had significant impacts on many trout populations but trout in the Au Sable River appear to have avoided a substantial outbreak. One possible reason may be the lack of the appropriate intermediate host.  We have been conducting a genetic study of the intermediate host (an oligochaete worm) to evaluate this possibility.  Although we have found that oligochaetes are common in parts of the Au Sable River system, our preliminary genetic results suggest that the appropriate host may not be common. We plan to expand this study to the entire Au Sable River system this summer.

3. Muskegon River Steelhead Recruitment

The Muskegon River below Croton Dam is one of the most heavily fished rivers in the state with steelhead being one of the most popular fisheries. However, the Michigan DNR annually stocks nearly 55.000 steelhead smolts to maintain the fishery because recruitment from fry to adult is limited.  This failure is due to the unique life history of steelhead compared to the other Pacific salmonids.  In general, steelhead spawn in the spring and the eggs hatch from May to June.  After hatching, steelhead fry remain in the river for one year and migrate to Lake Michigan the following spring.  Consequently, steelhead fry are exposed to warm summer conditions which appear to limit natural steelhead reproduction in the Muskegon River.  During the past three years, we have estimated steelhead fry survival rates, examined seasonal diets, and estimated bioenergetics parameters.  In addition, we have been quantifying the aquatic invertebrate communities. Our study has replicated a similar study conducted in the late 1990’s which allows us to make direct comparisons between the previous and current study.  From these data, we hope to better understand the environmental factors that influence survival of steelhead fry in the Muskegon.

4. Invasive Cattails

There has been great concern about the introduction and expansion of invasive cattails into coastal wetland around the Great Lakes. However, invasion by these cattails into non-coastal wetlands have receive very little attention. I have been working on a study to identify the distribution of invasive cattails in non-coastal wetlands, and the impacts these cattails may have on native wetland communities.

5.  Great Lakes Fungi

Very little is known about the fungi that are found at the bottom of freshwater habitats.  To better understand the freshwater fungal community, I recently began collaborating with researchers at three institutions on a study to explore the diversity of fungi found at the bottom of the Great Lakes. Perhaps more importantly, the research team has been screening the fungi for chemicals that may destroy a range of cancer cells types, or alternatively, stimulate nerve cell growth.  The result so far have been extremely encouraging, with extracts from several fungal isolates exhibiting extremely high anticancer activity.  In addition, extracts from other fungi appear to stimulate nerve cell growth, and actually promote nerve cell differentiation.


Ph.D. Bowling Green State University, 1989 - Emphasis: Algal Ecology
M.S. University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, 1982 - Emphasis: Aquatic Biology
B.S. Central Michigan University, 1977 - Major: Biology / Minor: Chemistry.

Select Publications

Steinman, A., Ogdahl, M., Luttenton, M. (2009). An analysis of internal phosphorus loading in White Lake, Michigan (pp. Pages 311-324) Lake Pollution Research Progress. NY: Nova Science Publ.

S. S. Johnson, M. R. Luttenton and A. G. Nikitin. Analysis of mitochondrial nucleotide polymorphism in the ND-1 locus in North American brown trout (Salmo trutta). Journal of Great Lakes Research, (in press).

Steinman, A. D., M. Ogdahl and M. R. Luttenton. An analysis of internal phosphorus loading in White Lake, Michigan. In: Lake Pollution Research Progress, ed. F. R. Miranda and L. M. Bernard.  Nova Science Publications. (2009).

Hendricks, S. P. and M. R. Luttenton. 2007. Benthic algal taxa (exclusive of diatoms) of the Little River basin, western Kentucky, 2000-2003. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 68:31-36.

Tiano, T. J., C. M. Willis, A. A. Noble, M. R. Luttenton, and A. G. Nikitin. 2007. Genetic identification of hatchery stocks of brown trout (Salmo trutta) using mitochondrial DNA polymorphism. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27:965-970.  

Hendricks, S. P., M. R. Luttenton, and S. W. Hunt.  2006. Benthic diatom species list and environmental conditions in the Little River basin, western Kentucky, USA. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 67:22-38. 

Luttenton, M. and R.L. Lowe. 2006.  Response of a lentic periphyton community to nutrient enrichment at low N:P ratios. Journal of Phycology  42:1007-1015.

Luttenton, M and C. Baisden. 2006. The relationships among disturbance, substratum size, and periphyton community structure. Hydrobiologia. 561:111-117.

Steinman, A, R. Rediske, R. Denning, L. Nemeth, X. Chu, D. Uzarski, B. Biddanda, and M. Luttenton. 2006. An environmental assessment of an impacted, urbanized watershed: the Mona Lake Watershed, Michigan. Arch. Hydrobiol. 166:117-144.

Steinman, A.D., M. Luttenton, and K.E. Havens. 2004. Sustainability of surface and subsurface water resources: case studies from Florida and Michigan. Water Res. Update 127:100-107.

Pothoven, S., G. Fahenestiel, H. Vanderploeg and M. Luttenton. In Press. Population dynamics of Mysis relicta in southeastern Lake Michigan, 1995-1998. Journal of Great Lakes Research.

Recent Presentations

Local, Regional and Global Water Issues, Loyola University of Chicago, Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy - Invited Presentation -2009.

Conte, M.S. M. Luttenton, M. Holtgren and S. Ogren. 2008. Potential brown and rainbow trout predation on larval lake sturgeon in the Big Manistee River, MI. North American Benthological Society 56th annual meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, May 25 – 30, 2008.

Conte, M.S. M. Luttenton, M. Holtgren and S. Ogren. 2008. Larval sturgeon as potential prey for juvenile brown trout and rainbow trout in the Big Manistee River, MI.  Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Annual meeting, Sault Ste. Marie, MI. March 4-5.

Luttenton, M.  2006.  Temporal dynamics in wetland habitats and the implementation of management strategies.  International Symposium: Wetlands 2006.  Association of State Wetland Managers, Traverse City, Michigan.

Luttenton, M., N. Godby, E. Rutherford, and A. Bosch.  2006.  Changes in benthic macroinvertebrates in an impounded Michigan river following the introduction of zebra mussels and a large flow event.  North American Bentholigcal Society,Anchorage, Alaska.

Jermalowicz-Jones, J.L. and M.R. Luttenton.  2006.  Groundwater and sediment nutrient influences on submersed aquatic macrophyte growth in White Lake, Muskegon County, Michigan. Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Luttenton, M., N. Godby, E. Rutherford, and S. Vankampen.  2005.  The introduction of zebra mussels into an impounded Michigan river: Effects on benthic macroinvertebrates.  Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jermalowicz-Jones, J.L. and M.R. Luttenton.  2005.  Influence of groundwater and sediment nutrients on submersed aquatic macrophyte growth in White Lake, Muskegon County, Michigan.  North American Lake Management Society, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.

Hunt, S. W. S. P. Hendricks, and M. R. Luttenton.  2005.  Biomonitoring and environmental conditions in the Little River basin, western Kentucky, USA.  Kentucky Academy of Science.

Luttenton, M. 2004.  Habitat Assessments – Muskegon Lake and White Lake.  Workshop on Restoring Fish and Wildlife in Michigan’s Areas of Concern, Sponsored by Great Lakes Commission, Monroe, MI.


Page last modified May 1, 2020