A Closer Look #127 April 2013 Newsletter

W.G. Jackson

W.G. Jackson with a group in Muskegon.

All aboard for another busy season on the research vessels D.J. Angus and W.G. Jackson.

Since 1986, over 144,000 students and adults have participated in programs onboard the D.J. Angus and W.G. Jackson research and education vessels. The hands-on vessel experience continues to be popular for school groups. Another two-year Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will fund summer cruises and teacher workshops at various ports of call in 2013 and 2014.


Paula Capizzi

Paula Capizzi with teachers on the D.J. Angus

The total number of participants in the D. J. Angus education program from 1986 through 2012 is almost 79,000 including over 13,000 GVSU students. The number of events involving the D. J. Angus in 2012 was 139, and the number of participants in D. J. Angus cruises in 2012 was 2,812, which is the highest number of passengers served since 2006. This equates to 686 more passengers in 2012 than in 2011.

From 1996 through 2012, the total number of people served by the W.G. Jackson is over 65,000 and there have been 2,710 events. The W. G. Jackson hosted 142 events in 2012, which included the annual Making Lake Michigan Great tour for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The tour is funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In the 2012 season, 3,229 people participated in W. G. Jackson activities.

water color

Looking at water color in Holland

The 2013 vessel season, which began on April 22nd, has some new faces onboard. Ann Hesselsweet and Karen Shineldecker have joined the staff of part-time science instructors. Captain John Bontrager has taken the helm of the W.G. Jackson. Gerry Weinert is the new deckhand on the D.J. Angus.

Some of the schools that use the W. G. Jackson, which is docked next to the Lake Michigan Center (home of the Annis Water Resources Institute), also use our Annis Education Foundation Classroom. While ½ of the class is on the boat, the other ½ are in the classroom doing hands-on science activities that complement the vessel trip.


Water testing on the W.G. Jackson

The classes switch places in the afternoon. This better accommodates bus transportation for the schools. Classroom instruction will be provided by Dr. Janet Vail, who coordinates outreach and education at AWRI; Tara Eilers, a former D. J. Angus-Scientech Intern; and Steve Ossim, a 2013 R.B. Annis summer intern.

LMC Events

April 10
AWRI staff hosted a meeting with members from the EPA and MDEQ, to wrap-up the Ruddiman Creek Project.

Spring Lake students in the after school club, Wetland Detectives, visited the Annis Educational Foundation classroom for hands-on activities.

April 12
Seminar Speaker: Dr. Ralph E.H. Smith, Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology at the University of Waterloo, presented: "The P paradigm in Great Lakes management and new methods for exploring nutrient controls on phytoplankton"

A Red Cross CPR training class was held for all AWRI vessel crew that work on the D.J. Angus and W.G. Jackson in the Hilt Foundation A/V Classroom.

April 16
The Silver Lake Steering Committee held their 2013 field season kick-off meeting at AWRI.

April 19
AWRI held their annual Diversity Potluck. Rick Rediske gave a presentation on his recent trip to Haiti.

April 22
A meeting was held at AWRI with Michigan Senator Goeff Hansen and others who are exploring a device to assist with the ongoing port/harbor dredging problem. The group is potentially interested in a pilot project partnership.

April 29
Students from West Michigan Aviation Academy visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

April 30
The Mona Lake Watershed Technical Advisory Committee held a meeting at AWRI.

Shoreline Elementary (from Whitehall) 2nd graders visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities.



Rod Denning has been approved by the MDNR to be a Certified Forest Stewardship Plan writer after attending a Forest Stewardship Planning Workshop on March 26.

Rick Rediske was interviewed about the Notre Dame/GVSU project involving contaminant transfer by migrating salmon on MI Public Radio; the segment aired on April 3rd.

Al Steinman gave an update on the Field Station and future activities at a "Thank You" event for donors of the Field Station campaign in Spring Lake on April 10th.

Al Steinman was interviewed by Phil Dawson of TV 13 about recent rains and their effect on Great Lakes water levels on April 12th.

Al Steinman was interviewed by MLive about the Grand River plume associated with stormwater runoff.

Ryan Thum attended a NSF I-Corps workshop April 3-5 in New York City.

Janet Vail, Cheri Gerhart, Amanda Syers, and Maggie Weinert conducted a water festival for 3rd grade students in Ealy Elementary in Whitehall on April 24th. The festival was supported by a grant from the Alcoa Foundation.

Janet Vail manned a booth for AWRI at the Earth Fair held at MAREC on April 27th.



AWRI was represented at GVSU's annual Student Scholars Day held on the Allendale campus on April 10. Presenter is first listed, AWRI staff are bolded, graduate students are denoted with an *, undergraduates are denoted with **.
Jeremy Flynn and Spencer Brown. Poster. A comparison of water quality parameter data from the GVSU-AWRI research and education vessels. Sango Otieno and Janet Vail were mentors.
Leon Gereaux*. Oral. Muskegon Lake Observatory: analyzing seasonal and episodic drivers of phytoplankton productivity using high resolution time-series data. Bopi Biddanda was mentor.
Danielle Grimm**. Poster. Invasive hybrid watermilfoils are sexually viable: evidence from laboratory crosses and genetic analysis of natural populations. Ryan Thum was mentor.
Jeff Pashnick* and Danielle Grimm**. Poster. Origins of an invader: global phylogeography of native and introduced populations of Eurasian Watermilfoil. Ryan Thum was mentor.
Michael Snider*. Oral. Pigments and physiology of Cyanobacterial mats that are analogs of life on early earth. Bopi Biddanda was mentor.
Elizabeth Sommers**. Poster. A Look into the past: photo-physiology of Cyanobacterial mat pigments in Alpena, Michigan and Lake Huron Sinkholes. Bopi Biddanda was mentor.

AWRI was represented at the Graduate Showcase held by the Office of Graduate Studies in Allendale on April 16.
Bryan Giordano*. Poster. Effectiveness of utilizing volunteers for a large scale telemetry study on Brown Trout in the Au Sable River, MI. Mark Luttenton is his advisor.
Brandon Harris*. Poster. Population status of Lake Sturgeon in the Muskegon River, MI. Carl Ruetz is his advisor.

Bopi Biddanda, Scott Kendall, Leon Gereaux and Janet Vail hosted Mrs. Denise Klassens high school Ecology class from the West Michigan Aviation Academy on April 29 in the AWRI Annis Education Foundation Classroom. Students learned about Ecosystem Observatories in general, the Muskegon Lake Observatory in particular, and then went on a cruise of Muskegon Lake onboard the research vessel W.G. Jackson.

Rick Rediske was a guest lecturer for Professor Houser, GPY 312, Environmental Planning on April 1st. His lecture was titled My Experiences as a Planning Commissioner.

Rick Rediske gave a presentation titled "The Status of the Lower Grand River: It's a matter of flow" to the Spring Lake Garden Club on April 8th.

Al Steinman gave a presentation titled Overview of Great Lakes at the Synthetic Biology Workshop funded by the Great Lakes Protection Fund in Evanston, Illinois on April 15th.

Al Steinman gave the Plenary Talk titled Restoration, eutrophication, and algae in Great Lakes coastal ecosystems at the Northeast Algal Symposium in Mystic, Connecticut on April 20th.

Al Steinman gave a presentation titled Overview of AWRI activities on Spring Lake to potential donors from the Spring Lake area to the field station campaign at the Spring Lake Country Club on April 24th.

Al Steinman gave a presentation titled Addressing Climate Change and Water Levels at the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW) Forum in East Grand Rapids on April 25th.

Al Steinman gave a presentation titled Blue Economy at the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce Business Breakfast on April 26th.

Kevin Strychar was a guest lecturer for a Big History presentation on the Allendale campus on April 2nd. The title was Humans and Climate Change.

Kevin Strychar gave a presentation titled Avian botulism, invasive carp, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia: Better management strategies using real-time underwater instrumentation at CILER-GLERL on April 4th.

Kevin Strychar gave a presentation titled Climate change and sea level rise: why it isn't a myth perpetuated by bad science at the Spring Lake District Library on April 22nd.

Ryan Thum gave a presentation titled Hybrid watermilfoils: diversity, ecology, and management at the Wisconsin Lakes conference on April 10 in Green Bay, WI

Janet Vail gave a presentation about AWRI to the Grand Rapids Power Squadron on April 11th.



Bopi Biddanda and Scott Kendall were co-authors of a paper recently published:
Nold, S. C., M.J. Bellecourt, S.T. Kendall, S.A. Ruberg, T.G. Sanders, and B.A. Biddanda. 2013. Underwater sinkhole sediments sequester Lake Huron's carbon. Biogeochemistry. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-013-9830-8


Grants & Contracts

The following AWRI graduate research assistants each received a Presidential Research Grant of $1,000 from GVSU's Office of Graduate Studies:

Syndell Parks, working with Dr. Ryan Thum, Eurasian Watermilfoil Phytoene Desaturase Resistance to the Herbicide Fluridone.

James Smit, working with Dr. Alan Steinman, Nutrient fluxes from flooded farmland sediment due to hydrologic reconnection and climate change.

Jessica Wesolek, working with Dr. Carl Ruetz, Genetic Structure of Yellow Perch Populations: Drowned River Mouths vs. Lake Michigan.


AWRI In the News

Pollutant transfer by migrating salmon
Business Update, April 2013. Rick Rediske was interviewed regarding a grant from Great Lakes Fishery Trust. AWRI's Analytical Lab will be working with researchers from the University of Notre Dame on this project.

MEECS Climate change workshop offered in June
InterChange Newsletter (a publication of the GVSU Regional Math & Science Center), April 2013. The article is about a workshop to be held at AWRI. Janet Vail is one of the instructors for this course.

AWRI teams with Notre Dame on research
FORUM: a newsletter for the Grand Valley State University community, April 14, 2013. Rick Rediske was interviewed regarding a grant from Great Lakes Fishery Trust. AWRI's Analytical Lab will be working with researchers from the University of Notre Dame on this project.

AWRI researcher honored for Lake Michigan outreach efforts
GVNext (an online publication of Grand Valley State University), April 22, 2013. Dr. Janet Vail will be receiving the 2013 Jack Vallentyne Award by the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) at the annual conference.

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