May, June, and July 2023

Faculty, Staff, and Student Activities

May Activities

A team of Science Instructors represented AWRI at the” STEAM Along the Lakeshore” event in Muskegon on May 6th.

A team of Science Instructors represented AWRI at the Groundswell Project Showcase in Grand Rapids on May 18th.

Members of the Biddanda Lab participated in the spring Muskegon Lake cruise on board W.G. Jackson on May 15th.

Bopi Biddanda participated in a workshop titled “Decadal scale science strategy for the Great Lakes: GL decadal planning” on May 9th. This was a session at the 66th annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research held in Toronto, Canada.

Bopi Biddanda attended and participated in the “65 years of US Fulbright-Spain Conference” on May 31st in Washington DC.

Bopi Biddanda reviewed manuscripts for the journals Journal of Great Lakes Research and Geobiology.

Bopi Biddanda was a student presentation award judge at the IAGLR 2023 conference.

Christina Catanese delivered the commencement address at her high school’s graduation ceremony on May 24th (Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA).

Sarah Hamsher and T. Cruz Garcia (former undergrad) analyzed diatom relative abundance data for a manuscript to document the condition of the Grand River with co-authors Eric Snyder (Biology) and Colin Assenmacher (former undergrad).

Sarah Hamsher developed a Women in STEM poster as part of the Biology Department’s DEIAB committee.

Kelsey Inman-Carter (undergraduate) and Davis Fray (graduate student) are analyzing next-generation sequencing data generated by Dr. Charlyn Partridge at AWRI. The metabarcoding analyses was used to explore the diatom epiphytes on starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) collected from Pentwater and Muskegon Lakes.

Mark Luttenton attended the Michigan Lakes and Stream Association’s annual conference.

Mark Luttenton met with a group of CLAS Unit Heads and Dean Drake regarding the Environmental Science Cluster.

Mark Luttenton is studying nutrient conditions in the AuSable River and Manistee River.

Mark Luttenton tagged fish for a telemetry study on the North Branch of the Au Sable River.

Mark Luttenton worked with MSU/DNR personal regarding Au Sable River resilience modeling.

Jim McNair completed a draft of a manuscript with Yucheng Feng (Auburn University) and John Hart dealing with estimating temporal decay or degradation rates of E. coli and a few Bacteroidales genetic markers in stream water with and without sediment.

Jim McNair worked on a manuscript with Dan Frobish, Emma Rice, and Ryan Thum, dealing with plotless study designs and nonparametric statistical methods for adaptive management studies of invasive plants.

Jim McNair submitted an abstract titled “Validity assessment of Michigan’s proposed qPCR threshold value for monitoring E. coli contamination at beaches” for the 2023 annual meeting of the American Water Resources Association.

Charlyn Partridge and Kate Geller travelled to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to train their crews on changing out their trap samples on May 11th.

Charlyn Partridge attended the MLSA conference May 5-6th at Crystal Mountain Resort. The attendees were very excited about the student session (It was the most popular one of the days). Everyone did well and represented AWRI very well. The conference will be held in Muskegon next year.

Rick Rediske was the EMCEE for the dedication of the AJ Birkbeck Memorial Bench on the White Pine Trail near the Former Wolverine Worldwide Tannery.  He also awarded the first AJ Birkbeck Scholarship to a MS student studying the formation of PFAS foam at WMU.   AJ Birkbeck was the legal advisor/strategist for the citizen’s group that exposed the PFAS pollution from tannery waste disposal in the Rockford Area. 

The Ruetz lab completed long-term monitoring of fishes in Muskegon Lake.

Carl Ruetz worked on a book chapter about fishes in coastal wetlands of large, freshwater lakes.

Carl Ruetz attended the Freshwater Sciences meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

Carl Ruetz reviewed a manuscript for the journal Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology and a proposal for the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.

Ryan Ruppert, undergraduate student in the Hamsher lab, worked on a National Science Foundation sponsored project this summer to explore the organellar genomes of diatoms.

Al Steinman attended meetings with GVSU Development in relation to the AWRI fundraising campaign in May.

Al Steinman attended a virtual meeting with the US National Academy of Sciences for the everglade’s restoration oversight committee.

Al Steinman was in Chicago for the Great Lakes Advisory Board (work group on climate resiliency for next GLRI Action Plan).

Al Steinman attended a virtual meeting of the Ottawa County Water Quality Committee.

Al Steinman attended several Community meetings for the West MI Symphony and Goodwill Boards during the month of May.

Al Steinman was interviewed by a Saugatuck High School student about microplastics for their Environmental Science AP class.

Kevin Strychar worked on a manuscript with Rick Rediske, Jim McNair, Charlyn Partridge, and several students here at AWRI comparing IFCM vs other methods for characterizing live vs. dead E. coli cells.

Amanda Syers attended the Groundswell Advisory Council meeting.

Sean Woznicki worked on revisions to a paper with Sarah Hamsher on species distribution modeling of starry stonewort (Biological Invasions).

Sean Woznicki worked on revisions to a paper with Amanda Buday and Dani DeVasto on community perceptions of AOC restorations in Muskegon and White Lake.

June Activities

AWRI hosted a professional development workshop for teachers on building Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles. The workshop was organized by Square One Education Network and it took place in the R.B Annis Foundation Classroom. 

Bopi Biddanda served on graduate student, Davis Fray’s, master thesis committee.  Davis Fray defended his thesis Microbial Mat Diversity in June.

Mark Luttenton completed the week-long wetland delineation course offered by the Wetland Training Institute in Portage WI. The course is taught by retired Corp of Engineer wetland office staff.

Jim McNair worked on a manuscript with Dan Frobish, Emma Rice, and Ryan Thum, dealing with plotless study designs and nonparametric statistical methods for adaptive management studies of invasive plants.

Jim McNair worked on a manuscript with Jiyeon Suh (GVSU Math) and Dean DeNicola (Slippery Rock University) dealing with impacts of scale-dependent disturbance on the stochastic dynamics of ecological communities.

The Partridge Lab monitored 100 eDNA traps for hemlock woolly adelgid.

Charlyn Partridge worked with the Rediske lab for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to extend the COVID grant for another year.

Charlyn Partridge’s lab worked with the Gun Lake trip on both sturgeon and wild rice projects. 

Charlyn Partridge’s paper looking at differential gene expression in the mammary gland tissue of rats that have experienced hypogravity (i.e., they were flown to the space station) compared to those experience normal gravity (Osman Patel (CMB) as lead) was accepted to the journal Biomolecules.

The outreach program was invited to be part of a partnership hosted by the Lakeshore Museum to provide funding to Muskegon County schools to support their transportation to STEAM experiences in Muskegon. The Lakeshore Museum received a grant from the Howmet Foundation to provide $200 per school per grade to offset transportation costs of field trips. Other organizations involved in the partnership include the Hackley Public Library, the Lakeshore Fab Lab at Muskegon Community College, the Muskegon Museum of Art, and the Silversides Museum. AWRI was able to provide this opportunity to 8 Muskegon County schools who participated in our outreach program during Spring 2023 (Ravenna Middle School and High School, Three Oaks Public, Muskegon Heights, Innovative Learning Center, Mona Shores Middle School, and Reeths-Puffer Elementary School and Middle School). 

Rick Rediske attended the public hearing on the Rockford Tannery PFAS Treatment Plan on June 6 and provided public comment.  He also drafted a comment letter on behalf of the Wolverine Community Advisory Group and submitted it to EGLE. 

Carl Ruetz became a Review Editor on the Editorial Board of Rivers and Floodplains (specialty section of Frontiers in Freshwater Science).

Carl Ruetz worked on a book chapter about fish in coastal wetlands of large freshwater lakes.

Carl Ruetz reviewed a manuscript for the journal Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology and a grant proposal for the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.

Al Steinman attended Project Clarity’s 10-year Anniversary celebration in Holland, MI on June 6.

Al Steinman attended a Project Clarity meeting at AWRI regarding the monitoring buoy on June 12.

Al Steinman went on a Consumer’s Foundation sponsored W.G. Jackson cruise in honor of Carolyn Bloodworth’s retirement on June 15.

Al Steinman attended virtually the International Joint Commission meeting to discuss the Ecosystem Services Valuation Project on June 20.

Al Steinman attended the Great Lakes Protection Fund - Great Lakes Impact Workshop in Evanston, IL on June 21.

Al Steinman attended virtually the Mona Lake Advisory Committee meeting to discuss the watershed management plan on June 22.

Al Steinman attended the Alliance for Great Lakes board meeting in Chicago, IL on June 23.

Al Steinman attended monthly Community meetings throughout the month of June for West MI Symphony and Goodwill.

Amanda Syers attended virtually the GLOBE Midwest Partners Summer Meeting.

The W.G. Jackson visited two Indiana ports from June 17-23. Though the Jackson has visited 34 ports of call over the past 25 years, this is the first time the vessel has taken an away trip since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vessel first visited Hammond (in partnership with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management), followed by Michigan City (hosted by the Sanitary District of Michigan City).

Sean Woznicki conducted fieldwork and held meetings in Serbia (June 18-23) with collaborators and other faculty at the University of Novi Sad (Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Water Management).

Sean Woznicki discussed potential collaborations with colleagues in Bulgaria (Space Research and Technology Institute-Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) stemming from NASA-Danube work.

July Activities

Bopi Biddanda attended and participated in a public hearing on the City of Muskegon’s Source Water Intake Protection Plan held at AWRI on July 11.

Bopi Biddanda attended the annual Executive Board meeting of Michigan Space Grant Consortium in Port Huron on July 20-21. Bopi serves on the Executive Board of MSGC and as GVSU’s Affiliate Representative to MSGC.

Travis Ellens, Carl Ruetz’s graduate assistant, successfully defended his thesis on July 11. The title of his thesis, “Seasonal impacts on top-down effects of fish on benthic macroinvertebrates and periphyton in a Michigan stream”.

Mark Luttenton attended the quarterly Board meeting of the Anglers of the Au Sable in July.

Mark Luttenton has been working with the GVSU personnel at the Traverse City campus to develop collaborations between AWRI and NMC.

Mark Luttenton has started a new collaboration with Jim Olson, founder of FLOW, on a new initiative focused on establishing monitoring networks within watersheds.

Charlyn Partridge reported the summer eDNA field season is going well.

The Partridge Lab, Steinman Lab, and EPA in Cincinnati, OH monitored Muskegon Lake for microcystin levels 3x per week for the harmful algal blooms project. While concentrations continue to increase, as of July 15, we were still below the 10,000 gene copies/mL needed to begin the project.

Charlyn Partridge and Elliot Fair (her technician) presented their wild rice work on July 19 at the Wild Rice Workshop hosted by Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.

Charlyn Partridge attended the quarterly board meeting for the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association on July 13.

Carl Ruetz hosted a virtual PI meeting July 6 for his GLFT-funded project titled Contribution of resident and migrant yellow perch to angler harvest in drowned river mouth lakes.

Carl Ruetz attended the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) 2025 Field Year on Lake Michigan Kickoff Workshop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 20-21. The goal of the workshop is to identify key research-related information needs that could be addressed in the 2025 field year with the goal of aiding Lake Michigan management. Carl talked on drowned river mouth lakes at the workshop.

The Ruetz Lab conducted Muskegon Lake long-term fish monitoring the week of July 17.

The Steinman Lab has been sampling all summer for the Bear Lake monitoring, Mona Lake celery flat restoration, Muskegon Lake long-term monitoring, and Little Black Lake, for summer intern projects.

Al Steinman met with Isabela Gonzalez (City of Muskegon intern) to be interviewed on Muskegon Lake restoration.

Al Steinman attended the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership meeting on July 11.

Al Steinman participated on a Wisconsin Sea Grant Panel July 19-20.

Al Steinman met with the National Academy of Sciences Everglades Oversight Committee on July 24.

Al Steinman attended several community meetings for West MI Symphony and Goodwill boards for the month of July.

Al Steinman hosted Jonathan Overpeck from the University of Michigan’s Samuel A Graham Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability visit and presentation on July 27.


Page last modified September 15, 2023