Category: Research

Marcarelli, Coble in print

Amy Marcarelli (Bio Sci) is one of the authors of A critical assessment of the ecological assumptions underpinning compensatory mitigation of salmon-derived nutrients. In the May online issue of Environmental Management.

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Marcarelli, Ashley Coble (GLRC) and Evan Kane (SFRES) authored Ammonium and glucose amendments stimulate dissolved organic matter mineralization in a Lake Superior tributary in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.

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Earlier this month, Coble also had another paper, Strontium source and depth of uptake shifts with substrate age in semiarid ecosystems, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences based on her MS research at Northern Arizona University.

Original Tech Today article


Campus view – Biology facilities

MTUFor the next several days the University’s home page has an areal view of campus. Prominently shown in the shot are several facilities that Biological Sciences uses for research and instruction including:

The Great Lakes Research Center

The Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building

The R.L. Smith Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Building.

You’ll also notice at the bottom of the photo the University’s research vessel the SV Polar; Dr. Marcarelli just happens to be on the vessel when this shot was taken, working on her collaborative water millfoil invasive species project.


Huckins and others receive new funding

From Tech Today:

Casey Huckins, (Bio Sci/GLRC) is the principal on a research project that received a $331,979 research grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The project is titled, Innovative and Multifaceted Control of Invasive Eurasian and Hybrid Watermilfoil Using Integrative Pest Management Principles.

Also involved in the project are Amy Marcarelli (Bio Sci), Erika Hersch-Green (Bio Sci) and Colin Brooks (Michigan Tech Research Institute).

This funding is part of the new MDNR Michigan Invasive Species Grants Program (MISGP)


Amy Marcarelli Receives NSF CAREER Award

May 4, 2015—

By Mark Wilcox

Research 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.

She’s looking at two biological processes: nitrogen fixation and denitrification. Nitrogen fixation is sort of like a magic show where microbes take nitrogen out of thin air, turning it into a usable form for all organisms. The trick is in the biogeochemical process, which partitions and cycles chemical elements and compounds between the living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. The process is more or less reversed in denitrification, with the gases released into the atmosphere. The result should be a net reduction in nitrogen loads in rivers and streams. Although nitrogen fixation could offset nitrogen losses from denitrification, we know little about where and when it occurs in streams and rivers, and how it responds to human activities.

Marcarelli is looking to apply updated analytical techniques and models to test alternative hypotheses regarding how the balance between nitrogen fixation and denitrification influences nitrogen loads in streams and rivers.

With funding from the CAREER award, Marcarelli and her team will help create more accurate nitrogen budgets and models which are needed to better understand and manage the human effects on nitrogen cycling at both regional and global scales.

The CAREER awards are prestigious grants from the NSF to young faculty who effectively integrate research and teaching. Marcarelli was awarded a 5-year, $794,661 grant to continue her research into nitrogen fixation and denitrification.

Not only will her research look to affirm, or disprove, long-held beliefs, but also to create a more ecologically-savvy citizenry by integrating ecosystem ecology techniques into K-12 and undergraduate education.

Read the rest of the article at the Michigan Tech news feed


Fruit Fly Genetics Reveal Pesticide Resistance and Insight Into Cancer

June 5, 2015—

For being so small, fruit flies have had a large impact on genetic research. Thomas Werner, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, has bridged the miniscule and the massive in an effort to better understand the mechanisms behind several unique features of fruit fly genes.

Over the past week, several studies that Werner co-authored have been published in PLoS ONE, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Education. All are linked by Drosophila—a genus of fruit flies—and the insights that fruit fly genetics provide on human health, specifically cancer-causing genes.

More here


Kerfoot Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles KerfootProfessor Charles Kerfoot (BioSci) has received the 2015 IAGLR Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Great Lakes Research. The award recognizes important and continued contributions to the field of Great Lakes research for 20 years or more. In a letter notifying Kerfoot of the award, Douglas D. Kane, president of the IAGLR, congratulated him on an “incredibly productive and significant career.”

Dr. Kerfoot will be presenting at IAGLR 2015 (http://www.iaglr.org/iaglr2015/) on how Bythotrephes affects zooplankton community composition, at the University of Vermont in late May.

Charles Kerfoot Charles Kerfoot Charles Kerfoot


Tang, Werner awarded Research Excellence Funds

REF Awards Announced

The Vice President for Research Office announces the Research Execellence Fund Awards. Thanks to the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.

Infrastructure Enhancement Grants:

  • Stephen Kampe, IMP/MSE. Environmental Test Chamber
  • Sean Kirkpatrick, BRC/Biomed Eng. Repair and Upgrade Advanced Fluorescent Microscope
  • Will Cantrell, EPSSI/Physics. Acquisition of a Cloud Condensation Nucleus Counter
  • Cary Chabalowski, Chemistry. Acquisition of a DNA Synthesizer
  • Andrew Burton, ESC/SFRES. Remote Data Acquisition

Scholarship and Creativity Grants:

  • Joel Neves, VPA
  • Chelsea Schelly, SS
  • Marika Seigel, Humanities

Research Seed Grants:

  • Xiaoqing Tang, Bio Science
  • Feng Zhao, Biomed Eng
  • Snehamoy Chatterjee, GME
  • Loredana Valenzano, Chemistry
  • Thomas Werner, BRC/Bio Sci
  • Seyyedmohsen Azizi, SoT
  • Sunil Mehendale, SoT
  • Jingfeng Jiang, BRC/Biomed Eng
  • Tarun Dam, Chemistry
  • Amy Schrank, ESC/SFRES
  • Zhen “Leo” Liu, CEE
  • Don Lafreniere, GLRC/SS
  • Steve Elmer, KIP
  • Amber Roth, ESC/SFRES
  • Sigrid Resh, ESC/SFRES


2015 SURF Awards recipients for Biology and BMB students

The following students in Biological Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular are recipients of Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Recipients (SURF) Awards for 2015:

Student Name Student’s Major Advisor/Department Project Title
Peter Nouhan Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Thomas Werner / Biological Sciences Uncovering the Enhancers of the Pigmentation Gene Yellow
Ryan Van Goethem Biological Sciences Amy Marcarelli / Biological Sciences Impact of Stamp Sands on Aquatic Macrophyte Communities, Myriophyllum spicatum, and Myriophyllum spicatum x sibiricum Hybrids in the Portage Waterway
Virginia Van Vianen (HI) Biological Sciences Erika Hersch-Green / Biological Sciences The Effects of Increased Anthropogenic Nitrogen on Plant Characteristics and Pollinators

Additional University recipients can be found at: http://www.mtu.edu/research/archives/awards/surf/

This is the description of the award from the University web site:

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

SURFs are open to all Tech undergraduates who have at least one semester remaining after the summer.

Annual awards of up to $4,000 are available. Program requests for applications are announced in TechToday beginning in November, with applications for these annual awards due January 30, 2015.

Fellowship recipients will conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor, during the summer semester.

Fellowship recipients are required to:

  • Submit interim reports of their progress through the summer
  • Attend meetings of SURF award recipients
  • Present their research