A Closer Look #132 September 2013 Newsletter

Incoming Graduate Students at AWRI

Graduate students are a vital and critical part of our mission at the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI). Hands-on student training and development have been a hallmark of AWRI since its inception, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. However, the depth of training is greater and more intense at the master's level, and expectations for information synthesis and critical thinking from graduate students are higher.


Lindsey Schulte is from Whitewater, Wisconsin. She received her B.S. Degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Field Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is working with Dr. Ryan Thum, studying the evolution of herbicide resistance in watermilfoil. She has done undergraduate research in the aquatic toxicology field as well as completing CMUs Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program on Beaver Island, Michigan. She enjoys fishing, being outside, and playing/watching sports.


Sarah Stamann is from Sparta, Michigan. She received her B.S. Degree in Biology from GVSU. She is working with Dr. Richard Rediske on improving the efficiency and sustainability of household water systems in developing countries. Sarah enjoys hiking, reading, and water related activities.


John Skutnik was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts along with three younger sisters. He grew up playing sports and continued to do so in high school playing soccer, baseball, and downhill skiing. John pursued an undergraduate degree at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts where he played baseball for two years. It was not until his junior year of college that John was exposed to science, marine science specifically. Johns first laboratory experience was in a chemical oceanography lab under the supervision of Dr. Geoff Wheat at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. From there he moved on to a technician position at Harvard University working for Dr. Peter Girguis who studies deep sea symbiosis and hydrothermal vent ecology. Before attending GVSU, John had a brief stint working for Dr. Beth Orcutt at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. John has loved playing and working in the ocean for as long as he can remember, vacationing every year in Rockport, Massachusetts where he got his first taste of SCUBA diving. John has been diving since 2006 and hopes to continue to do so until he can no longer walk. At AWRI John is working with Dr. Kevin Strychar. John hopes to explore the effects climate change has on Scleractinian corals at the mesophotic depth. John first became interested in coral ecology when he had the opportunity to witness pristine coral reefs first hand off the coast of St. Lucia and Martinique. He hopes that his research efforts provide insight and information to help create conservation/preservation policies for mesophotic coral reefs, a potential source for shallow reef recovery.

LMC Events 

Sept 13
Seminar Speaker: Dr. Jen Lau, Associate Professor of Plant Biology at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, presented: Species interactions in a changing world: Evolutionary consequences of global change

Sept 17
Ludington High School students visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

The Muskegon Rotary Club held a strategic planning meeting in the MPR.

Sept 18
The Mona Lake Watershed Council held a technical advisory meeting in the MPR.

Sept 19
Sixth grade students from the Goodwillie School in Ada visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

Sept 23
Pennfield High School students visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

Sept 26
Students from Meadow Ridge Elementary visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

Sept 30
Whitehall Middle School students visited the Annis Educational Foundation Classroom for hands-on activities and took a vessel cruise on the W.G. Jackson.



Carl Ruetz and Mark Luttenton participated in Kathryn Pages thesis defense on September 19 in Allendale. Page is in the Health Science masters program in GVSUs Department of Biomedical Science.

Carl Ruetz talked to a fifth grade class at Glenellen Elementary School in Clarksville, Tennessee via Skype about the threats Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes on September 27.

Michele Smith and Shirley McIntire, Science Instructors on the research vessel W. G. Jackson, hosted an AWRI booth at the Salmon Festival in Grand Haven on September 14.

Al Steinman was selected to serve on the technical review panel of the US Army Corps of Engineers Comprehensive Efficacy Study, addressing risk reduction and integrated environmental assessment for the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Dispersal Barriers (i.e., Asian carp barrier).

Janet Vail and Ann Hesselsweet presented water activities for third grade students who attended the inaugural Muskegon County Water Festival on September 24. AWRI was a co-sponsor.



Bopi Biddanda gave a seminar titled Adventures with carbon cycling, sinkhole exploration and lake observing in the Great Lakes at the Department of Biology, Ferris State University on September 13.

Ryan Thum spoke about his research to the Gull Lake Association on September 24. Gary Mittelbach from the Kellogg Biological Station hosted his visit.



Bopi Biddanda and his summer Target Inquiry teacher Ashley Meyer were co-authors on a paper published in GVSUs Regional Math and Science Center publication InterChange:
Meyer, A. and B. Biddanda. 2013. Climate change, lake ecosystem dynamics and a model lesson plan: integrating real-time data from Muskegon Lake into your classroom. InterChange, September 2013. https://www.gvsu.edu/rmsc/interchange/connections-for-the-stem-classroom-299.htm

Rick Rediske and Jim O'Keefe were co-authors on an article published online in Chemosphere:
Stapanian, M.A., C.P. Madenjian, R.R. Rediske, and J.P. O'Keefe. 2013. Sexual difference in PCB congener distributions of burbot (Lota lota) from Lake Erie. Chemosphere. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653513011284


Awards & Recognition

Janet Vail was recently named to the Top 25 list created by Online Schools of Michigan. This list contains names of professors who have sustained research and teaching careers over the years as well as those who are new to their STEM field but are already making a splash in academia. Dr. Vail's teaching focus is on science education with a specialization in environmental studies. She has served as Co-Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Lake Michigan Forum.


Grants & Contracts

Rick Rediskes lab received a grant from CMI ($2,200) to test for E. coli in Tyler Creek.

Carl Ruetz received a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources ($19,048) in collaboration with the University of Illinois to study the microzooplankton community in drowned river mouth lakes to better understand the risks associated with invasive species.

Al Steinman received a new grant from MDEQ ($32,000) dealing with the nuisance cyanobacterium Gloeotrichia in Silver Lake.

Al Steinman received a new grant from the Mott Foundation ($75,000) to develop a Blue Economy initiative. John Austin from the Michigan Economic Center is a co-PI. Devi Haria, an undergraduate student in Chemistry, has been hired to assist with the grant.

Janet Vail received a grant from the Alcoa Foundation ($50,000) over three years for outreach and education.


AWRI In the News

Connections for the STEM Classroom
InterChange Newsletter (publication of the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center), September 2013. Ashley Meyer, a teacher from South Haven who was a Target Inquiry teacher working with Bopi Biddanda this summer, co-authored this article.

GVSU Annis Water Resources receives $32,000 grant for Silver Lake study
Oceana Herald-Journal, September 4, 2013. The article is about the grant AWRI received to assess the presence of cyanobacterium Gloeotrichia in Silver Lake.

GVSU freshwater scientist: Asian carp issue not a show stopper for Muskegon river barge proposal
MLive, September 5, 2013. Al Steinman is quoted concerning the possibility of Asian carp in the Great Lakes.

Two STEM Scientists in CLAS named to Top 25 List
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences webpage, September 10, 2013. AWRI's Dr. Janet Vail was one of the two CLAS honorees.

Blue economy Grand Valley's Annis Water Resources Institute awarded grant
The Muskegon Tribune, Monday, September 15-22, 2013. This article is about the $75,000 grant AWRI received to support efforts to grow a blue economy.

Page last modified July 14, 2020