A Closer Look #126 March 2013 Newsletter

Danielle Grimm

AWRI Undergrad Wins Best Oral Presentation Competition

Danielle Grimm, an undergraduate student working with Dr. Ryan Thum at AWRI, won the student presentation competition at the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society's annual meeting in Cleveland, OH on March 5, 2013 for her oral presentation Invasive Hybrid Watermilfoils are Sexually Viable: Evidence from laboratory crosses and genetic analysis of natural populations.


Hybrid watermilfoil are created through the successful reproduction of native, northern watermilfoil with invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. These hybrid plants can exhibit nuisance traits such as unusually fast growth and decreased sensitivity to herbicides. While it is well known that these plants can spread simply by cloning themselves, it was not previously known whether hybrids can sexually reproduce through their flowers. The ability to sexually reproduce is important because it can provide a mechanism for reestablishing nuisance hybrid populations after a herbicide treatment. However, hybrid plants and animals are often sterile because of how genetically different their parents are (e.g., mating a horse with a donkey creates sterile mules). Danielle, along with former AWRI graduate student Liz LaRue, showed that hybrid watermilfoils are able to reproduce sexually by manipulating hybrid plants in the laboratory. Furthermore, the study used genetic analysis of natural populations to show that naturally-occurring hybrid plants have reproduced sexually.

Attending and presenting at this conference was a phenomenal opportunity, says Grimm. To have my first oral presentation so well received by the aquatic plant management community was very encouraging, and I received some insightful feedback which will be very valuable when preparing presentations in the future. Also, this provided an excellent opportunity to network and gain insight into non-academic perspectives on herbicides and invasive species. Ryan Thum, my advisor, was also incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. He initially encouraged me to present at the conference, and subsequently helped in the development of the presentation through insightful commentary on delivery, language choice, and visual presentation of abstract genetic concepts.

LMC Events

March 15

Seminar Speaker: Dr. William H. Schlesinger, with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, presented: Chasing Nitrogen Atoms in the Global Nitrogen Cycle.



Bopi Biddanda, Mark Luttenton, Carl Ruetz, and Janet Vail attended the annual Grants on the Grand event, hosted by GVSU Office of Sponsored Programs, on March 21.

Bopi Biddanda and Jim McNair co-supervised, while Scott Kendall, Leon Gereaux, Michael Snider and James Smit assisted with the Water Quality event during the Science Olympiad Regional Competition held in Allendale on March 23.

Rod Denning attended a Forest Stewardship Workshop in Gaylord on March 26.

John Koches participated in the Growing Connections Food Summit sponsored by the Brooks College Dean's Office, Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence, Business Ethics Center, and Frederik Meijer Honors College in Allendale on March 15.

Rick Rediske co-moderated a session with Peter Wampler and Azizur Molla on Sustainable Water Resources and Water Treatment in Haiti at the Geological Society of Americas meeting in Puerto Rico.

Al Steinman was a panel member for the US EPA STAR Fellowship Panel in Washington, DC on March 13 14.

Janet Vail was on an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) panel to assess the Utah-Wyoming National Science Foundation collaborative project (CI-WATER). She traveled to Salt Lake City for two days for a site visit on March 3 - 5.



AWRI was represented at Torresen Marines annual Spring Thaw event held on March 9. Presenter is first listed, AWRI staff are bolded, graduate students are denoted with an *, undergraduates are denoted with **.
Gereaux, Leon*. Poster. Muskegon Lake buoy observatory.
Kendall, Scott. Oral. Using real-time buoy systems for weather and water information in West Michigan.

AWRI was represented at the annual meeting of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters held at Hope College on March 22.
Gereaux, Leon*. Oral. Observing the effects of climate anomalies and episodic weather events on lake phytoplankton productivity using high frequency time series data.
Haslun, Josh*. Oral. Phytoplankton assemblage dynamics in Long Island Sound, NY.
Hauff, Briana*. Oral. Stress resistance and adaptation of the aquatic invasive species Tubastraea coccinea to climate change.
Snider, Michael*. Oral. Probing the pigments and physiology of modern cyanobacterial mats that are analogs of life on early earth.
Strychar, Kevin. Oral. Stressors of climate change and adaptation of the aquatic invasive species Tubastraea coccinea.

Leon Gereaux, graduate student working with Bopi Biddanda, gave a presentation at the Biogeochemistry of the Great Lakes Workshop at Wayne State University on March 11-13.
Gereaux, Leon*. Oral. Using observatories to track lake metabolism and their role in the global carbon cycle.

Rick Rediske gave a presentation to the Tyler Creek Watershed Steering Group concerning the results of the 2012 E. coli monitoring program on March 12.

Rick Rediske and collaborators Azizur Molla and Peter Wampler attended and presented at the Geological Society of Americas meeting in Puerto Rico on March 20.
Rediske, R., P. Wampler, and A. Molla. Oral. A survey of household water quality in rural Haiti.
Molla, A., R. Rediske, and P. Wampler. Oral. Water and sanitation in Haiti an ethnographic perspective.
Wampler, P., A. Molla and R. Rediske. Oral. Karst vulnerability and water quality in Haiti.

Al Steinman gave a presentation by invitation to the League of Women Voters at Hope College in Holland on March 4.
Steinman, Alan. Oral. The role of climate change in the Great Lakes.

Al Steinman gave a presentation by invitation at the Lake Erie Center, University of Toledo on March 21 22.
Steinman, Alan. Oral. Ecosystem restoration from the Everglades to the Great Lakes: fact, fiction, and (occasional) frustration.

Kevin Strychar was a guest lecturer for a Big History presentation on the Allendale campus on March 25.
Strychar, Kevin. Oral. Humans and Climate Change.

Ryan Thum and undergraduate student Danielle Grimm attended and presented at the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society meeting held in Cleveland, OH from March 2 6.
Thum, R.A. Oral. Genetic and ecological diversity of hybrid watermilfoils.
Grimm, D.**, E.A. LaRue*, and R.A. Thum. Oral. Laboratory crosses and genetic analysis of natural populations demonstrate sexual viability of invasive hybrid watermilfoils ( Myriophyllum spicatum x M. sibiricum).

Janet Vail presented two workshops on both air quality and climate change at the Michigan Science Teachers Association conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 8.

Janet Vail presented part of a session at the Groundswell teacher professional development workshop on March 19. Karen Meyers of the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center presented as well.


Awards & Recognition

Danielle Grimm, undergraduate student working with Ryan Thum, won the best oral presentation competition at the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society meeting held in Cleveland, Ohio from March 2-6.


AWRI In the News

Great Lakes coastal wetlands get a checkup
Environmental Monitor: application and technology news for environmental professionals, March 1, 2013 GVSU-AWRI are partners in this monitoring effort.

GVSU scientist talks climate change, future of Great Lakes area
MLive, March 4, 2013 also carried by the publication Silobreaker Al Steinman was interviewed regarding climate change.

League of Women Voters host GVSUs Steinman for climate change discussion
Holland Sentinel.com, March 4, 2013 Al Steinman was a guest speaker for the League of Women Voters; he spoke about climate change.

Lake effect: Marina owners face low water levels, high anxiety as boating season nears
Crains Detroit Business, March 10, 2013 Al Steinman was interviewed regarding low water levels.

Consumers Energy contributes $10 million to Michigan nonprofits in 2012
CBS Detroit, March 13, 2013 GVSU-AWRIs field station was one of the recipients of Consumers Energy donations.

Consumers Energy contributes $10 million to Michigan nonprofits in 2012, part of promise to care for Michigan communities
Electricenergyonline.com, March 13, 2013 GVSU-AWRIs field station was one of the recipients of Consumers Energy donations.

Outdoors: tracking trouts mysteries
Detroit Free Press, March 19, 2013 Mark Luttenton and his graduate student Bryan Giordano are mentioned in this article about researching habits of brown trout along the Au Sable River.

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