Biddanda Laboratory

Microbial Ecology and Carbon Biogeochemistry

Dr. Bopi Biddanda

Dr. Bopi Biddanda



The microbial ecology and biogeochemistry laboratory is focused on understanding the role microorganisms play in mediating ecosystem processes in the Great Lakes. Of particular interest is the influence of seasonal and climatic changes, land use, and geology on the microbial community and physiology in watersheds, drowned river mouths, estuaries, and nearshore zones of the Great Lakes. In addition, we are also interested in the impact of key stressors to aquatic environments that lead to unhealthy conditions such as hypoxia, algal/cyanobacterial blooms, and reduced water quality.

In recent decades, there has been an explosion of ideas and research regarding the importance of microbial life on our planet. It is now widely recognized that inconspicuous microbes drive many ecosystem level processes (including bulk of aquatic metabolism) thereby regulating the movement of energy and materials through ecosystems. Another recent finding of importance has been the observation that even very large lakes (such as Lake Michigan) benefit from substantial terrestrial subsidies, indicating close linkages between land and water everywhere. Knowing how land, water and the atmosphere link together, and how microorganisms respond to changes in these linkages, are critical to our understanding of how energy and materials (including carbon and pollutants) circulate in a rapidly changing world. Aquatic carbon is a key element that influences aquatic ecosystems and is also a major reservoir of reactive carbon in the biosphere.

Lab Members

Anthony Weinke - Lab Manager

Anthony Weinke - Lab / Buoy Observatory Manager

Hypolimnetic Hypoxia and Lake Mixing Dynamics

Jasmine Mancuso - Graduate Student

Jasmine Mancuso - Graduate Student

Drivers of cHAB's in Muskegon Lake

Ian Stone - Undergraduate Student

Ian Stone - Undergraduate Student

Seasonal Changes in Muskegon Lake Phytoplankton

Areas of Research

Development of real-time lake ecosystem change observatories

Meteorological, hydrological, and water quality sensors deployed in the Great Lakes, inland lakes, rivers, and channels

Understanding carbon/nutrient balance along land-lake gradients

Lake dynamics related to hypoxia and algal blooms


Exploration of submerged sinkholes in Lake Huron

Cyanobacteria-dominated extreme ecosystems



Diagram of Muskegon Lake Observatory within a lake ecosystem

Major processes affecting the cycling of carbon and dissolved oxygen in lakes and estuaries.  These processes are influenced by carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus loading from large terrestrial watersheds.

Diagram of the Muskegon River watershed

The land use/type and climate of a watershed are linked to microbial processes in the creeks, rivers, wetlands, and lakes which are then linked to the larger ecosystems of the Great Lakes.

Diagram fo how sinkholes form in the Great Lakes

Submerged sinkholes offshore from Alpena, MI vent oxygen-poor groundwater that is rich in sulfur causing the growth of unique cyanobacterial mats.