October 2014 Newsletter

A Closer Look #144

Robert B. Annis Field Station Update

Delilah Clement

Robert B. Annis Field Station Update

It has been more than one year since we opened and dedicated the R.B. Annis Field Station here at AWRI.  The building has been well-used!  Here are just a few of the activities that have been taking place:

  • Research efforts on the invasive aquatic weed Eurasian watermifoil have essentially doubled with the ability to have year-round tank space; these studies have resulted in a better understanding of this plant’s genetic variability and sensitivity to herbicides.
  • A new project being led by Dr. Kevin Strychar focuses on a shrimp-like organism, Diporeia, which historically has been a key food source for fish in the Great Lakes but has become almost non-existent. Dr. Strychar’s team is researching possible reasons for this die-off.
  • A dedicated space for the biosand water filter project has allowed us to continue our work in optimizing the performance of these units before they are deployed in developing countries, such as Haiti.
  • New growth chambers have allowed researchers in Dr. Al Steinman’s lab to better understand the importance of sediment phosphorus in triggering harmful algal blooms in local lakes.

We thank the tremendous support we have received from the community and our sponsors, which allowed this building to be constructed.  Our plans and aspirations have not changed with our new facility:  we continue to conduct research that results in better collaborations, better science, and better solutions.

LMC Activities

Bopi Biddanda and graduate student Anthony Weinke showcased Fellowship and Grant Opportunities with Michigan Space Grants Consortium at the Undergraduate Research Fair held on the Allendale campus on October 7.

Bopi Biddanda attended the fall conference of the Michigan Space Grants Consortium at U of M in Ann Arbor on October 18.

Rick Rediske attended the Environmental Hall of Fame meeting and the White Lake Delisting Celebration, both held on October 30.

Al Steinman hosted a Blue Economy Roundtable, organized by the University Research Corridor, at the Lake Michigan Center on October 9.

Al Steinman attended a Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping (GLEAM) meeting in Ann Arbor on October 24.

Janet Vail attended an advisory committee meeting for Cranbrook Institute of Science’s Freshwater Forum initiative.  The meeting was held in Lansing on October 2.

Janet Vail participated in dinner and dialogue sessions for the West Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (October 9) and the Groundswell GLSI hub (October 16).

Janet Vail facilitated the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition’s quarterly meeting on October 30.  This completes her term as chairperson. 

Presentations & Publications

 AWRI staff are in bold, graduate students are denoted with a *, and undergraduate students are denoted with **.


Brandon Harris’s undergraduate Student Summer Scholars project was accepted for publication in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management:
Ruetz, C.R., III, B.S. Harris**, J.N. McNair, and J.J. Homola*.  In Press.  Removal and mark-recapture methods for estimating abundance: empirical and simulation results for mottled sculpin in streams.  North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

Mary Ogdahl has a manuscript accepted for publication in Aquatic Botany:
Ogdahl, M.E. and A.D. Steinman.  In Press. Factors influencing macrophyte growth and recovery following shoreline restoration activity. Aquatic Botany.

(Presenter listed first)

John Koches presented Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition and West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnership updates to GVSU faculty/staff and interested students at the First Annual Sustainability Spotlight at the Pew Learning Center on September 16.

Syndell Parks gave a presentation at the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference in Duluth, Minnesota, held October 20 – 22.
Parks, S.*  Oral.  Potential impact of genetic methods on invasive plant management.

Rick Rediske was guest lecturer speaking on the topic of groundwater for NRM 281, Principles of Soil Science, on October 7.

Rick Rediske gave a presentation to the Microbiology Club on October 15.

James Smit presented at the Environmental Risk and Decision Making Symposium in Lansing on October 10.  He won an award for his presentation.

Al Steinman gave a presentation on Great Lakes Challenges and Solutions at Pfizer in Portage on October 14.

Al Steinman was at the Jones Ecological Center in Newton, GA from Oct 28-Oct 31 where he gave a seminar on watershed restoration and provided scientific advice on their aquatic ecology program.

Janet Vail presented a talk about AWRI for the Muskegon in Focus group on October 1.  The group also had a scientific cruise on the W.G. Jackson.

Awards & Recognition

James Smit, graduate student working with Al Steinman, won an award for his presentation at the Environmental Risk and Decision Making Symposium in Lansing on October 10.  

Grants & Contracts

John Koches announced that the USFS-GLRI Stormwater Green Infrastructure Ecosystem Services Calculator proposal submitted by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council has been funded. AWRI is a subawardee.  The project is expected to begin on Jan. 1, 2015.

Carl Ruetz was funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust for a proposal titled “Yellow perch stock assessment in drowned river mouth lakes and near shore Lake Michigan.”  The final approval is pending response to reviewer comments.  Co-PI’s on the project are David Janetski, Ryan Thum, Tomas Hook, and David Clapp.  The award is for $196,310.

News & Events

AWRI in the News

“Making a difference through research, education, and outreach: Student highlight”
Lanthorn (GVSU student run publication), October 16, 2014
AWRI had a ¼ page advertisement for our VanderMey Internship.  Fallon Januske was the student highlighted.

“Great Lakes shippers see sharp rise in Lake Michigan levels this year”
MiBiz, October 26, 2014
Al Steinman was interviewed regarding the current high lake levels in the Great Lakes.

LMC Events

Oct 1
The Muskegon Chamber of Commerce held their annual “Muskegon in Focus“ event at the LMC.

Oct 9
The (URC) University Research Corridor Blue Economy Roundtable was held at the LMC.

The Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership held a public meeting at the LMC.

Oct 23
The Muskegon Health Center held a “Healthy Families Benefit Event” at the LMC.

Oct 31
The Muskegon Lake Perceptions Research Presentation, which was open to the public, was held at the LMC.

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