A Closer Look #135 December 2013/January 2014 Newsletter

AWRI Graduate Student Alumni Profiles


Kelli Johnson is currently working as a Project Manager at Bradburne, Briller, and Johnson, LLC (BBJ), an environmental consulting firm in Chicago, Illinois. Since joining BBJ in January 2011, Kelli has provided environmental consulting services in due diligence, compliance, site investigation and cleanup, and vapor intrusion for clients. She has worked with a diverse field of clients, including the telecommunications, real estate, and manufacturing industries, on projects in more than 20 different states. Kelli graduated from GVSU with a Master's degree in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Sciences in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Alan Steinman, and she received her BS degree in Environmental and Plant Biology from Ohio University in 2007. Kelli has published two peer-reviewed scientific papers and received the 2010 Graduate Dean's Citation for Academic Excellence, Outstanding Master's Thesis in a Major at GVSU.


Billy Keiper is currently an aquatic biologist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Billy's current position includes: serving as lead biologist for the Saginaw River/Bay and Eastern Upper Peninsula watersheds, manager of contaminated sediment cleanups in multiple Michigan AOCs, and co-lead for DEQs Water Chemistry Monitoring Program. Billy graduated with a Master's degree in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Sciences in 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Carl Ruetz. While at AWRI, Billy studied the impacts of stormwater runoff on urban stream biota.

LMC Events - Activities - Presentations - Publications - Awards & Recognition - Grants &Contracts - AWRI In The News

LMC Events

Dec 3
Public Health Muskegon County held a conference for Michigan Water Well Drillers at the LMC.

Dec 10 & Jan 14
GVSUs Regional Math and Science Center held a Project PRIME Plus workshop for area teachers.

Dec 10
Public Health Muskegon County held a meeting for the SW Michigan Environmental Health Supervisors.

Dec 13
Seminar Series: Dr. Guy Meadows, Director of the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University presented: An Introduction to the Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) at Michigan Tech... Opportunities, Collaborations and Facilities.

Dec 16
Dr. Stuart Downward from Kingston University (UK) visited AWRI to explore collaboration possibilities with GVSU. He is developing a MS program at his university in water resources and is looking for partnerships.

Jan 17
Seminar Series: Dr. James Cervino, Coral Physiologist-Pathologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution presented: Ulcerated yellow spot syndrome and Yellow Band Disease: Implications of aquaculture-related pathogens associated with soft coral Sarcophyton ehrenbergi tissue lesions and Scleractinian reef building corals.

Jan 22
The GVSU Muskegon Group held their quarterly meeting at the LMC.



John Koches hosted Mayors Meeting TWO of West Michigan CSP (Community Sustainability Partnership). The meeting was held at the Alumni House on the Allendale Campus on January 9. Speakers included President Haas GVSU; Mayor Heartwell - City of Grand Rapids; and Jon Allan, Director MDEQ Office of the Great Lakes. The goal was to see if there is interest in a Climate Resiliency Strategy at the regional level; Grand Rapids is already working on a Climate Resiliency Strategy.

Ryan Thum was interviewed about his research by Shelley Irwin from WGVU on December 10.



(When citing presentations, the presenter is first listed. When citing articles or presentations, AWRI staff are bolded, graduate students are denoted with a *, and undergraduate students are denoted with **.)

Syndell Parks gave a presentation at the Northeastern Aquatic Plant Management Society on January 23.
Parks, S.* and R. Thum. Poster. Incorporating genetic identifications of watermilfoils into aquatic vegetation mapping.

Al Steinman was invited to speak on the topic of lake monitoring at the White Lake Association meeting held on January 27.

Kevin Strychar was an invited participant in a conference in Israel called The International Conference on Coelenterate Biology, held December 1-5, 2013 in Eilat, Israel. Kevin helped chair two sessions, the first called Global Change I and the second Global Change II. He gave a presentation titled Climate change, disease, and pathogen resistance: Immune systems in soft (alcyonacean) vs. hard (Scleractinian) corals dictate survivorship. Late in the conference, Kevin was given a Tourism Goodwill Ambassador for Israel certificate of appreciation, by Dr. Uzi Landau, Minister of Tourism.

Janet Vail and Karen Meyers from the GVSU Regional Math and Science Center presented a climate change workshop for the Groundswell program on January 30.



(When citing articles or presentations, AWRI staff are bolded, graduate students are denoted with a *, and undergraduate students are denoted with **.)

Elaine Sterrett Isely is the lead author on a manuscript that is accepted for publication in Freshwater Science. Al Steinman is a co-author:
Sterrett-Isely, E., A.D. Steinman, P.N. Isely, and M.A. Parsell. In Press. Building partnerships to tackle conservation and management of West Michigan's natural resources. Freshwater Science.

John Koches and undergraduate student assistant Alex Ebenstein had an article published in National Water Monitoring News:
Koches, J. and A. Ebenstein**. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development with the citizen scientist in mind. National Water Monitoring News, USEPA, Fall/Winter 2013.

Geraldine Nogaro has a manuscript to Oikos that is now in press. Al Steinman is a co-author:
Nogaro, G. and A.D. Steinman. In Press. Influence of ecosystem engineers on ecosystem processes is mediated by lake sediment properties. Oikos.

Mary Ogdahl is the lead author on a manuscript that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Visual Experiments. Al Steinman and Maggie Weinert are co-authors:
Ogdahl, M.E., A.D. Steinman, and M. Weinert. In Press. Laboratory-determined phosphorus flux from lake sediments as a measure of internal phosphorus loading. Journal of Visual Experiments-Environment.


Awards & Recognition

Ryan Thum received the Scientist of the Year award from the Northeastern Aquatic Plant Management Society during the 15th annual conference held January 21 23 in Westbrook, Connecticut.


Grants & Contracts

The ISC has received a contract from the Fremont Area Community Foundation/Ice Mountain Project for the Upper/Central Muskegon River Watershed, funded at $25,000.


AWRI In the News

Year of the Port? Muskegon has ship-full of port development issues on the table for 2014
MLive, January 28, 2014 The article discussed several topics related to water and the economy. AWRIs study of the Blue Economy is mentioned.

Al Steinman was interviewed by Patrick Center from WGVU regarding the topic of the Blue Economy on December 18, by WZZM TV (Jan 29) and WOOD TV (Jan 30) on role of ice in Great Lakes water levels.

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