Grand Valley teams with MSU for research projects

Two researchers at Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute will collaborate with scientists at Michigan State University on a pair of separate projects after receiving a grant.

Bopi Biddanda, associate professor, and Ryan Thum,  assistant professor, received a nearly $56,000 Water Initiative Research Grant Award to use in collaboration with their counterparts from MSU. 

Biddanda will work with MSU researchers and a Grand Valley undergraduate student to study the inner workings of the Muskegon Lake ecosystem. They will also use data from Grand Valley’s Muskegon Lake Observation buoy to determine in near-real time what effect storms have on the lake. 

They also plan to study how the lake releases gases, including the highly potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, during the warm summer months.

“It’s very exciting to get to collaborate with our colleagues from Michigan State,” Biddanda said. “We’re looking forward to learning more about the lake and exploring joint educational programs between Grand Valley and MSU.”

Thum’s research will focus on Eurasian watermilfoil, an introduced invasive aquatic plant that can exhibit resistance to herbicides that are currently used to get rid of the plant. Thum and his MSU colleagues will test whether unique mutations in a gene they have identified causes the plant to be resistant.

“We’ll be able to learn more about this problem with the combined resources of the two universities,” Thum said. “I’m excited to see this partnership take off.”

Researchers from both universities will also use the grant period to explore joint educational programs, which could lead to new academic offerings for students.