Category Archives: Research

Great Lakes News Briefs


Algae Bloom Insight
Gary Fahnenstiel, senior scientist at the Great Lakes Research Center, provided insight into an Ohio River algae bloom in an ABC News article. The article, written by Associated Press Writer John Seewer, was carried by several major news outlets throughout the country including and Stars and Stripes.

Mass Spectrometer
Tech Century, a science and engineering news website published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, reported on Lynn Mazzoleni’s (Chem) team effort to acquire a mass spectrometer for Michigan Tech, using a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation award. The instrument will be located in Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes
Research Center, part of its new Microanalytical Facility, a core facility specializing in mass spectrometry equipment.

Toward Undersea Persistence
Nina Mahmoudian (MEEM) has received a $57,708 grant from the Office of Naval Research for her research project titled, “Toward Undersea Persistence.”

Monitoring the Water Condition
WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids reported on Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center work with Enbridge Energy to monitor the water conditions around Enbridge pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

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Governor Rick Snyder at Great Lakes Research Center

snyder1aMichigan Governor Rick Snyder toured the Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center on Thursday August 13. He was given a presentation by GLRC staff on four current projects, including a collaboration to provide real-time environmental monitoring of the water conditions in the Straits of Mackinac.
Links to the several news media articles follow:

WJMN Video: “Governor Snyder’s U.P. tour continues at MTU”

Keweenaw Now: “Gov. Snyder visits Michigan Tech’s GLRC”

The Keweenaw Report “Snyder Visits Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center”

UpperMichiganSource WLUC TV Governor Rick Snyder views new buoy at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center

Dianda Pleased with Michigan Tech, Enbridge Partnership

Daily Mining Gazette article “Snyder Visits Tech”

Daily Mining Gazette article “Oh buoy: MTU sentinel will track state of Straits”


Lake Superior Research Experience for Grad Students

IMG_6377BL5421 Lake Superior Explorations for Graduate Students Summer 2015

This is a field intensive Biological Sciences course at the Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University with significant time spent on research vessels (R/V Agassiz or NOAA R/V 5501) where students learn the use of a variety of state-of-the-art techniques to characterize biological communities and measure important physical and biological processes.

Instructors: Nancy A. Auer, Amy Marcarelli, Gary Fahnenstiel, Casey Huckins, (all Biological Sciences.) and Marty Auer (CEE) and Guy Meadows, Director of GLRC.

Explorations take students to several Lake Superior environments, weather permitting, including the Ontonagon River, Huron and Keweenaw Bays and several sites along the western shoreline of the Keweenaw Peninsula. This voyage of discovery targets ecosystem processes, seeking signals of their presence along boundaries in time and space, including day/night sampling and over gradients found at the interface between tributaries and the open lake, along the major axis of embayments and across the coastal margin.

Areas of coverage include: Collection of standard light, temperature, DO profiles, use of drogues/drifters to track current, Autonomous vehicle application, Sonar profiles, Primary production by microbes and algae, day and night comparisons of zooplankton, benthos and fish, and ROVs to observe these organisms, and standard PONAR and sediment collection.

Click here to see the Photo Gallery for Lake Superior Explorations at the Great Lakes Research Center BL5421

See videos of Lake Superior Explorations for Graduate Students

Lake Superior Explorations at the Great Lakes Research Center BL5421
Lake Superior Explorations at the Great Lakes Research Center BL5421

Nina Mahmoudian Receives a Young Investigator Program Award from Office of Naval Research

image123120-horizOnly 36 faculty across the US were invited to join the Young Investigator Program (YIP) from the Office of Naval Research this year; additionally, only a small percent of faculty receive the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Nina Mahmoudian, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, is one of a select few to receive both in the same year.

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Working Together to Build Drought Resiliency

image122501-horizDrought in the southwest has left only a trickle running through irrigation ditches on farms outside El Paso, Texas. The Rio Grande — called Rio Bravo in Mexico — is what supplies that trickle, struggling to meet water demands in three US states and five in Mexico.

As drought continues, and demand grows, researchers like Alex Mayer from Michigan Technological University are looking to new models to improve the region’s drought resiliency. Mayer, a professor of environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, is part of a unique team looking at water resources along a section of the Rio Grande. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the US Department of Agriculture, has awarded the project a $4.9 million grant to study water shortage and climate change for the next five years in the region.

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Amy Marcarelli Receives NSF CAREER Award

image121680-horizResearch indicates human activities have altered the global nitrogen cycle as much or more than the global carbon cycle. Yet it seems the public is far less aware of these changes.

In the world of aquatic biology, it’s a long-held belief that what goes up, must come down. As human activity causes nitrogen loads to go up along the banks of rivers and streams, nitrogen levels go down through another process. Amy Marcarelli, a Michigan Technological University associate professor in biological sciences, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study this nitrogen conversion balance.

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Listening Under the Ice

image121598-horizThe watery world under winter’s ice is a mystery. It’s also a world full of sound. Now, as the days lengthen and the ice is retreating, researchers at Michigan Technological University are wrapping up their first winter season of underwater acoustic studies.

Learning more about acoustic properties underwater — and specifically under the ice — is important for designing acoustic communication networks and quiet underwater vehicles. These networks and vehicles have a range of applications. Environment monitoring is an example, encompassing everything from ice movement to the habits of aquatic critters to keeping tabs on chemical conditions.

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Michigan Tech World Water Day 2015

IMG_3709Michigan Tech celebrated World Water Day on March 23, 2015. Professor Peter Goodwin presented a lecture on “River Restoration and Flood Management”. Goodwin is the director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho and also served as the science director for the California Delta Program. He is the DeVlieg Presidential Professor in Ecohydraulics and Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho.

The Center for Water & Society World Water Day poster competition was held at the Great Lakes Research Center. Awards were made in two categories: Original Research (presentation of thesis or project research) and Coursework/Informational (presentation of coursework or literature-based research).

Original Research
1st place: Jennifer Fuller
Developing a Sustainable Solution to an Urgent Problem: Pharmaceuticals in the Water Cycle
2nd Place: Anika Kuczynski
Shining Light on Cladophora in the Great Lakes
3rd Place: Marcel Dijkstra
Ecosystem function in Lake Superior: The impact of “big heat” (2012) and “big chill” (2014)

1st place: Hayden Henderson group
Decentralized Wastewater Treatment (DEWATS): San Francisco del Valle, Panama
2nd Place: Erica Coscarelli group
LEED Certification of the Van Pelt and Opie Library
3rd Place: Sarah Harttung
Hawai’ian Coral Reef Sedimentation from Industry and Its Impacts

More Details, News Articles, Photos and Video

Michigan Tech Celebrates World Water Day
Michigan Tech Celebrates World Water Day
Panel "What role will dams play in future water resource management?"
Panel “What role will dams play in future water resource management?”

Mapping the Great Lakes’ Wetlands

image119918-horizFluorescent bands of color outline the Great Lakes on a new, comprehensive map of the region’s coastal wetlands. This publicly available map is the first of its kind on such a broad scale — and the only one to trump political boundaries. Both Canadian and US wetlands are shown along more than 10,000 miles of shoreline.

The Great Lakes is an important focus of Michigan Technological University research. The coastal wetlands map is an extension of that focus, expanding on previous maps created through the Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI).

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