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2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Annis Water Resources Institute

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section in this catalog.

The Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) is an academic unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) committed to the study of freshwater resources. The mission of the institute is to integrate research, education, and outreach to enhance and preserve water resources.


AWRI seeks to accomplish this mission through the following:

  • Research into major questions about our water resources, including ecosystem structure and function; contaminants and toxicology; fisheries; hydrology; invasive species; genomics; climatology; land use; geospatial analysis; watershed, stream, and wetland ecology; water quality; water policy; and basic and applied limnology.
  • Public education for a variety of groups, including K-12, university students, and the community.
  • Outreach to ensure that decision makers are equipped with the best available knowledge on environmental and water resource-related issues, to reduce the uncertainty associated with their resource management decisions.

Students interested in pursuing an aquatic sciences emphasis within the Master of Science in biology degree program at Grand Valley State University may do so at the AWRI. These students can select a faculty member at AWRI as their major advisor or as committee members for their thesis research in the aquatic sciences. Broad areas of research at AWRI include aquatic biogeochemistry, algal ecology, benthic ecology, climatology and global warming, ecological modeling, ecosystem restoration, environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, fisheries ecology and management, invasive species, limnology and stream ecology, marine ecology, microbial ecology, geospatial ecology, molecular ecology, and watershed management. Students are encouraged to contact individual faculty members to learn more about specific areas of research.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

AWRI is housed in three buildings at its Muskegon, MI, campus on the Muskegon Lake waterfront. The Lake Michigan Center features a full analytical chemistry laboratory, research laboratories, offices, a geospatial technologies information center, and classrooms and conference space. The R.B. Annis Field Station houses experimental mesocosm tanks, research laboratories, offices, and conference space. A storage building houses our vehicles and trailered boat fleet. Vessels at AWRI include two research vessels, as well as a variety of smaller boats including an electrofishing boat. Students working at AWRI are encouraged to work in a collaborative environment, taking advantage of the physical resources and our eight principal investigators (seven faculty members and one associate research scientist), who have a passion for research and education and represent a broad spectrum of focus areas within aquatic science. This collaborative spirit at AWRI stimulates student learning, promotes an interdisciplinary research environment, and promises a rewarding experience.

Participating Programs

AWRI works closely with faculty from other departments on campus, including biology, chemistry, geology, geography, statistics, and economics. We encourage multidisciplinary approaches, and graduate committees often include faculty from other universities or scientists from state agencies.

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