Category Archives: News

Nancy Auer Published by Marquette Monthly

The piece below was written by Nancy Auer and was published in the April 2017 edition of “Marquette Montly.”

THE GIFT OF WATER

by

Nancy A. Auer

Have you ever thought deeply about the perfection of our planet Earth?  It is perfectly placed in the solar system to receive the perfect amount of sunlight to keep life thriving and balanced.  All life requires water—from the the deepest sea vent organisms living in total darkness in water temperatures reaching 195 F., to penguins standing on ice incubating their eggs for 70 days in the -35 F temperatures of Antarctica.  Water, in all its forms and in an astounding range of temperatures, is life giving to whatever lives and breathes on planet Earth. Even Earth’s one perfect moon, when aligned with the sun, gives life by strengthening the tides, which freshen the water in bays, estuaries, and intertidal areas, and in so doing, moves out wastes that will in turn become nutrients for ocean organisms.

Perhaps my focused attention on water comes from my teaching and research in general biology, zoology, fish biology and biological oceanography at Michigan Tech University. The health of every organism and plant on Earth depends upon water, and we can no longer abuse, disrespect, or ignore this impressive Gift of Water.

I have been fortunate to live most of my life near water. When I was a child in Minnesota, each summer I road my bike almost daily to the beaches of Lake Minnetonka, where I swam for hours, until my skin turned into prune-like wrinkles. At age 18 I left home to attend college in Duluth, Minnesota, so that I could be near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, waters that seemed especially to call to me.  My college roommates and I would go winter camping or summer canoeing in remote regions of northern Minnesota, where the rivers and lakes were inhabited with loons and where we heard the howl of the wolf.  In college, on Earth Day 1970, I lead a group called Students for Environmental Defense in celebrating and calling for the protection of the waters of the Queen of the Great Lakes—Lake Superior.

After college, my husband and I chose to live and make our careers on Lake Superior, and both of us have done a majority of our academic research on the water and organisms in the Great Lakes region. We both also teach courses in which we hope to inspire care for the big lake and also awareness of the precious connection between water and all life.  We feel blessed by our opportunity to live intimately with water and to witness what an extraordinary gift it is.

Beside the teaching and research of academic life, a second thread has run through my life, which is practicing a religious belief and, related to that, seeking for evidence of something beyond the individual self—something greater, a spirit in my life and in the lives of others. For me, that something, which is beyond our immediate grasp, is a spirit imbedded in our human connection to the earth and all other living organisms.

A large portion of my academic life has been dedicated to the conservation of an ancient fish, the Lake Sturgeon, which is also the largest freshwater fish in the Great Lakes region. One spring day, while working to gather data from spawning sturgeon, I stood in a river and held up my palm in which an egg, a small sturgeon embryo, remained in a pool of water. The tiny size of this soon-to-hatch fish exemplified for me the vulnerability of all creatures.  This embryo was a bit of life about to start a journey of growth and maturation that might result in a seven-foot adult sturgeon that could live to be 100 or even 150 years old. I eased my hand back into the water to protect that single embryo, and as I did so, I said a prayer for its great journey.

Just as each human is important, each animal and plant is important, and all of us are deeply connected by the gift of water. It is when we experience the spirit of such interconnections that we can more readily understand and accept our need to care for and reverence our waters. When we practice respect and reverence for the gift of water, we begin to see a greater connection to all life, and we begin to extend that spirit of reverence to the whole Earth. It is my hope that by acknowledging the remarkable Gift of Water, we can renew our spirit of reverence for all life on Earth.

Water Stewardship Tips:

  • To monitor your household usage of water, stop your usage of water and monitor your water meter for two hours. If the meter does not register the same number two hours later, you have a leak in your home that needs to be investigated.
  • To avoid over-watering a lawn, water in the evening to prevent evaporation, and use an empty tuna fish can as a gauge — once the can is full of water, the grass roots are sufficiently saturated.

Editor’s note:  This column was written by a member of the Northern Great Lakes Water Stewards, a faith-based initiative, establishing collaborative partnerships to monitor, restore, and protect the lakes and streams of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Muxue Zhang Awarded Third Place at ACS 2017 Student Research Symposium

Muxue Zhang, a graduate student in environmental engineering, was awarded third place at the 2017 Upper Peninsula American Chemical Society Student Research Symposium held in Marquette at Northern Michigan University on March 25, 2017.

Zhang, a second-year master’s student, presented on her thesis work about predicting the reverse osmosis (RO) rejection of toxicologically relevant organics for direct potable reuse application in wastewater reclamation processes.

She works with Daisuke Minakata (CEE). Her work is part of a funded water reuse project looking at the intrinsic interactions between a wide variety of organics and RO membrane using computational chemistry tools.

Muxue Zhang

 

 

Congratulations to the World Water Day Poster Award Winners

World Water Day was celebrated at Michigan Tech University during the week of March 20 with this year’s theme being “Wastewater.”  There were many activities held throughout the week including a student poster competition. Congratulations to the 2017 World Water Day poster award winners!

Original Research – Based on student’s thesis work

1st Place:  “High-Tech Analysis of Low-Cost, Low-Tech Methods for Sustainable Class A Biosolids Production:  Set Up and Initial Pilot-Scale Data”

  • Christa Meingast
    co-authors: Jennifer Becker and Eric Seagren

2nd Place: “Drought Forecast Modeling and Assessment of Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change on Lower Colorado River”

  • Mohammad Samady
    co-author: David Watkins

3rd Place: “Factors Affecting Fish Mercury Concentration in Inland Lakes”

  • Mudgha Priyadarshini
    co-authors: Noel Urban, Ashley Hendricks and Wabanungoquay Alakayak

Coursework/Informational – Based on coursework or literature-based research

1st Place: “Reducing Sewer Corrosion Through Holistic Urban Water Management”

  • Noah Bednar, Bruce Carlstrom, Grace Kluchka and Michelle Nitz

2nd Place: “Regulations & Their Role in Human & Environmental Risk Management: Microplastics in the Great Lakes”

  • Michael Candler, Emily Shaw, Nicole Wehner and Bradley Wells

3rd Place: “Using the Four R’s in the Design of De Facto Potable Reuse Water for Enhanced Public Health”

  • Kyle Hillstead, Anya Leach, Juli Mickle and Caryn Murray

 

Pengfei Xue Interviewed on Lake Climate Projection

image98360-persHOUGHTON — A Michigan Technological University researcher is leading the effort to create a comprehensive model for the complicated and diverse climate of the Great Lakes region.

Pengfei Xue developed a model combining climate and water models with assistance from Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

“When we have that component, the entire water cycle and surface water cycle would be complete. Then we could estimate the water level change over years.”

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

This blog post was re-posted from the Michigan Tech Physics Newsblog with permission from Heather Dunn from Michigan Tech’s University Marketing and Communications department.

Former Deputy Oceanographer of the Navy to Speak

Science and technology have been an integral part of the Navy for the past 70 years.  The period from 1960 to the 1980s was an important time in the history of oceanography and underwater acoustics in the Navy.  Understanding the ocean and development of new sensing and observational technologies remain as important today as they did for many decades.  In his presentation titled, “The Ocean, the Navy ad challenging career and technical opportunities” former deputy Oceanographer of the Navy, Robert S. Winokur will discuss Navy careers and the opportunity to work on key real-world challenges.  Winokur also served as the Assistant Administrator of the National Environmental Satellite Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Winokur’s talk, scheduled for Thursday, October 6 at 5 PM in GLRC 202, will provide an opportunity to discuss how civilians support the Navy, the importance of oceanography and science and technology for future naval capabilities, and a perspective from a career that included underwater acoustics and naval oceanography, environmental satellites, and ocean policy.

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With 47 years of federal service, Robert Winokur has provided testimony on a number of occasions on oceanographic ships, climate services, satellite and space programs, ocean observing systems and environmental data services to Senate and House subcommittees for the Navy and NOAA.

Winokur’s visit to campus is sponsored by the SENSE Enterprise, the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, and the Great Lakes Research Center.

October 3 SENSE Seminar: Surviving a Great Lakes rip current

In the last few years, deaths in the Great Lakes as a result of dangerous nearshore currents (longshore currents, rip currents and structurally induced currents) have increased at an alarming rate, averaging 11 fatalities and 25 rescues per year.  Warmer temperatures, increased water levels and storm intensity, and more people at the beach have all contributed to this threat. Mr. Jamie Racklyeft has experienced a near fatal encounter with a Great Lakes rip current and will describe his personal experience and resulting motivation.

On Monday, October 3rd at 5 PM, Racklyeft will talk about his experience and effort to help others avoid the dangers associated with nearshore currents.  His talk, What it’s like to drown: Surviving a Great Lakes rip current, will be held in the East Reading room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

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Jamie Racklyeft leads the new Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium with members from eight Great Lakes states and Ontario who partner to increase awareness and safety to end drownings in the Great Lakes.

 

Racklyeft is a Lake Michigan rip current survivor. Exhausted and hopelessly battling the relentless current and waves off Van’s Beach in Leland, Michigan in 2012, he knows he’s lucky to be alive. Since then, he has dedicated himself to helping people avoid, escape, and save others from dangerous currents by applying human-centered design thinking principles and communication strategies.

Currently a Communication Director at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR), Racklyeft has been in the communication profession for more than 30 years, serving research, corporate, healthcare, non-profit, academic, and entrepreneurial fields. He now leads the new Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium, with members representing all eight Great Lake states and Ontario, working together to end drowning. Racklyeft earned a Master’s in Education from Wayne State University and a Bachelor’s in General Studies from the University of Michigan, focusing on communication, psychology, and art history.

Rachlyeft’s visit and talk is hosted by the SENSE Enterprise, the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, and the Great lakes Research Center.

 

Geoheritage: Stamping Through History

Michigan Tech’s on-line research blog “Unscripted: Science and Research” recently published a feature on the geoheritage of the Copper Country.  Geoheritage explores the geological and human history of an area.  Every summer, aboard the university’s research vessel R/V Agassiz, Geotour participants learn about the history of mining in the region and are given a unique viewing of its expansive legacy while researchers from the Great Lakes Research Center  explain the scientific necessity to monitor and understand its evolving impacts.  Click here for the full feature.

Geoheritage Image
Geotour participants aboard the R/V Agassiz. Photo courtesy of University Marketing and Communications.

Xinyu Ye Selected as Best Student Poster Presentation at the 20th Conference on Air-Sea Interaction

Environmental engineering PhD candidate Xinyu Ye was selected as having the best student poster presentation at the 20th Conference on Air-Sea Interaction earlier this month.

Sponsored by the American Meteorological Society, the conference was held August 15-19 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Her poster, “Lake-Atmosphere Feedbacks in a Coupled Regional Climate Model Over the Great Lakes,” is about the two-way coupled regional climate modeling over the Great Lakes, which fits well with the research theme of Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

Xinyu Ye Best Poster 8_29_16

Buy a Fish Campaign Announced

Alumni and friends are invited to show their support of fresh water research, education and outreach at Michigan Tech. “As Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) continues to evolve into a world-class facility where faculty, students and staff engage in multidisciplinary initiatives, donor support is critical in helping us carry out our mission,” explains Guy Meadows, Director, Great Lakes Research Center and Robbins Professor of Sustainable Marine Engineering. The Buy a Fish program provides an opportunity to recognize individuals and families who contribute to the GLRC. Funds committed through the Buy a Fish campaign will support student development opportunities, new research, and facilities improvements.

Since its construction, the Center has quickly become a premiere location for events offering state-of-the-art meeting technology and a beautiful waterside location. “We’re thrilled to offer donors to the GLRC an opportunity to show the thousands of annual visitors to the facility their commitment to the Center, our mission, and our people,” comments Meadows. The Buy a Fish campaign allows individuals to purchase a personalized acrylic fish that is creatively displayed on a donor wall located in the first floor lobby.

Working with a local company, Industrial Graphics, the donor wall and sample fish will be installed in time for Michigan Tech’s 2016 Alumni Reunion. The fish measure 10 ($250+ donation), 12 ($500+ donation) and 14 ($1,000+ donation) inches in length and will be attached to the display using brushed silver standoffs at varying depths. The wall display is constructed of cabinet-grade birch veneer with a vinyl graphic overlay adding a subtle wave pattern. The fish will be arranged in groups or “schools” based on the giving year.

Artist Rendering of Donor Wall Display

Image above: Artist rendering of the Buy a Fish donor recognition wall in the first floor lobby of Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. Image below: Sample donor fish.

Sample Donor Fish

On Thursday, August 4th, from 3:00-4:00 PM, the GLRC will dedicate the display. Fish purchased by July 25th will be featured at the August 4th dedication. To buy a fish on-line, use the Support the GLRC link on the Center’s website and specify your two lines of personalized text in the special instructions box. Employees of Michigan Tech can also elect their donation through payroll deduction by contacting the Michigan Tech Fund.

Summer Outreach at the GLRC

Summer is a great time for outreach! Martin Auer, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at the GLRC, discuss the 2016 science camps presented by the GLRC. The introduction is followed by a news clip from WLUC.