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

“End of Summer” Science Camp Starts Sep. 1

launchingEnd of Summer Science Camp T-Th, Sept. 1-3, 9am – 4 pm:
(For children entering) Grades 1-3: Nature at the Nara Center
(For children entering) Grades 4-6: Science & Nature Explorations in the Great Outdoors
Coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach at the Great Lakes Research Center

Grades 1-3: Nature at the Nara Center
Enjoy time outdoors at the Nara Nature Center exploring trails, wildlife, and plants! Make nature observations, play games, and do nature crafts as a fun way to end summer vacation. DROP OFF at the Nara Nature Center.

Grades 4-6: Science & Nature Explorations in the Great Outdoors
This group will spend the 1st day at the Great Lakes Research Center engaged in forays around campus. On Day 2 & 3, we’ll explore the Keweenaw Land Trust’s Marsin Nature Area with bug, wildlife and aquatic experts. There will be time to play games, read stories, write poetry, daydream, and record observations in journals. Ahhhh, those relaxing last days of summer! Weather permitting, we’ll have water activities! DROP OFF at the Great Lakes Research Center. An MTU van will transport students to Marsin Center on Wednesday & Thursday. Please note on the registration form if you will drop off your student at the Nara Nature Center at 9:30 am and pick up at 3:30 pm.

See the Flyer: 2015 End of Summer Science Camp (PDF)

Register Online: Registration: Summer Science Camp or Register by August 24.
Cost: $135 per student Limited to: 20 students (Gr. 1-3) & 15 students (Gr. 4-6)
Pay by credit card: MTU Cashier @ 487-2247 ~ Space not reserved until payment received.
Students bring their own lunch Questions? Call Joan Chadde or Lloyd Wescoat at 487-3341

Lake Superior Day at Copper Harbor 2015

img_0099by Joan Chadde

The beauty and bounty of Lake Superior was celebrated Sunday July 26th at the Third Annual Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor. Community volunteers, along with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, organized the festival with lots of special activities at the 6th Street Dock along the Copper Harbor Boardwalk. Activities included:

Community picnic ($5 donation suggested)
Canoe races and kayak demonstrations
Interactive art (paint the model freighter)
Remotely-Operated-Vehicle demonstrations by Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center
Presentation on the health of Lake Superior by Great Lakes scientist Martin Auer (CEE)

Live music, poetry and more
From 1-4 p.m. a special highlight is the opportunity for festival attendees to find out how scientists study the Great Lakes by taking a 40-minute scientific excursion aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, Agassiz. The excursions are part of the Ride the Waves Program funded by a grant from General Motors. The Agassiz went out every 45 minutes from the Isle Royale Queen dock.

The Agassiz made seven trips for a total of 118 passengers with 82 adults and 36 youth. Participants from many places throughout Michigan and beyond, including a family from France taking the year to bike across North America.

Lake Superior Day is celebrated throughout the Lake Superior basin on or close to the third Sunday in July in many communities around Lake Superior.

Daily Mining Gazette Lake Superior Day

Channel 6 News Video Clip

Find out more:

Lake Superior Magazine

Lake Superior Day 2015
Lake Superior Day 2015
Lake Superior Day
Lake Superior Day
Lake Superior Day
Lake Superior Day

Scientific excursions aboard MTU’s research vessel Agassiz at Strawberry Festival


Nearly 100 community members went home on Saturday afternoon with a greatly enhanced understanding of Great Lakes science and were inspired to care for the lake. Several youth are super engaged now and want to learn more.

This was the 10th year at the Strawberry Festival, and the outreach program continues to reach new people locally and visitors to the area! 7 excursions went out on the Agassiz.

See Photo Gallery

Here are a few highlights from the evaluation responses:
“The Agassiz program is great as is; no improvement needed!”
“Fun & educational”
“New info they learned—many said plankton & bloodworms”
“Importance of good quality water”
“Share info with others, will teach my children & grandchildren, encourage them to take care of our water resources”
“This sounds like a type of job that I’d like to do when I’m older” (13 years old)
“How to save the Great Lakes ecosystem”
“Would like to learn more about interdependence & effects on other organisms”

The outreach program shows ‘How do scientists assess the health of Lake Superior’ as the focus of these free scientific excursions that were offered at the Strawberry Festival.

The public was invited to sign up for FREE 40-minute scientific excursions aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel Agassiz.

On each scientific excursion, a Dr. Marty Auer, an MTU Great Lakes scientist, demonstrated the use of sampling equipment to collect plankton and sediment, evaluate water clarity, temperature, and turbidity that tell us about the health of the lake, i.e. Chassell Bay. Participants saw the connection between land uses and the health of the Great Lakes.

Remotely-Operated-Vehicle (ROV) demonstrations were also be conducted from the Chassell Marina dock throughout the afternoon.

“Copper Country residents and visitors are encouraged to learn how scientists study the Great Lakes and what factors contribute to a healthy lake,” explains Joan Chadde, education program director. “These scientific excursions for the public have been offered at the Strawberry Festival since 2006 and have been extremely popular. Youth and adults enjoy the opportunity to interact with Great Lakes scientists and get their questions answered.”

The event is coordinated by the Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. This year, the program is funded by the GM Ride the Waves Program putting more than 500 Copper Country youth and adults on the water each year to learn about the Great Lakes and promote STEM careers, along with support from the Michigan Tech Center for Water & Society, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, and the Chassell Lions Club.

Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics & Environmental Education:
Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center
Michigan Tech Center for Water & Society
Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative





Seminar: The Enigmatic Biscayne Aquifer

IMG_18352Friday, July 10, 11 AM – Noon; GLRC 202

The Enigmatic Biscayne Aquifer

Michael Sukop, PhD, PG, CHg; Professor, Florida Climate Institute Executive Board Member and liaison to Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact; Lead Principal Investigator South Florida Water, Sustainability, and Climate Project; Florida International University, Miami FL


The karstic Biscayne Aquifer is an eastward-thickening wedge of limestone that serves as a designated sole-source aquifer for 5.5 million people. Its karst is eogenetic (formed during early burial) and in many cases characterized by thick and laterally extensive zones of touching-vug porosity from burrowing shrimp. The vugs are commonly about 2 cm in diameter and the porosity is commonly 50% or more, leading to very high permeability. Given its importance, the Biscayne Aquifer may be the best-studied aquifer of such high permeability, but consistent values of its hydraulic conductivity (K) have been elusive.

Our work has approached this problem with numerous methods and over a broad range of scales, including

● detailed Lattice Boltzmann Models (LBM) at pore scale,
● LBM and laboratory measurements at core scale,
● high-resolution borehole scale geostatistical and flow modeling based on borehole images,
● borehole scale slug testing, and
● aquifer test meta-analysis

Results indicate that there are systematic variations of 5 orders of magnitude in typical maximum K values obtained from these different techniques. Naturally, some of this is due to real variations in the physical samples tested, but the method used is the principal source of variation.

Frequently overlooked limitations of laboratory permeability measurements of core samples truncate the distribution of core K values. Slug tests in appropriately-constructed wells are generally underdamped and appear to underestimate K in this aquifer (returning maximum results comparable to those of a sand aquifer), possibly due to the Darcian flow assumption that underlies the available analyses methods for such tests. Aquifer tests are difficult to conduct in this aquifer and are often inconclusive.

LBM applied at numerous scales tend to converge and agree with simple pipe flow expectations and specialized laboratory measurements on a 0.1 m diameter core. LBM K results at small scale are consistent with LBM K from 2.72 m3-volume scale explicit pore/solid aquifer models based on novel geostatistical extrapolation of borehole optical images.


Keweenaw Geoheritage Tours

geoheri2The Keweenaw Peninsula is a place of natural beauty with a fascinating mining history. Join local expert Bill Rose in reading the landscape to learn how the Copper Country came to be the way it is today.

Each one-day field trip explores one of four major events in Earth’s history that make up the strong geoheritage of the Keweenaw: Lavas, the Keweenaw Fault, the Jacobsville Sandstone and Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior. Participants can expect to cover a lot of ground and be outside all the time.

The trip dates are as follows:


July 27 – Lavas and the Keweenaw Rift
July 28 – The Keweenaw Fault
July 29th – Jacobsville Sandstone
July 30th – Copper Mining Waste of Lake Superior Today

Travel is a combination of van transport, short walks and trips aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel, the Agassiz. Trips are limited by boat capacity to 17 people. Each day trip costs $145 and includes lunch and snacks, boat and van transport.

For more information, trip descriptions and registration please visit the Keweenaw Geoheritage website. For specific questions, please email Erika Vye at

Investigate the Great Lakes at the Portage Lake District Library

The Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library hosted a special evening program for all ages on Monday, June 29, focused on the Great Lakes and what lives here. Participants began the program at the library where several activity stations were set up indoors and outside. Participants had the option to participate in a scientific excursion aboard the Agassiz research vessel, traveling from the library to the Great Lakes Research Center where they visited a laboratory to use microscopes in order to peer at the tiny organisms and examine a variety of fish.

Station Activities
Station 1: What Lives in a Stream? (all ages) – Children explore the diverse and sci-fi looking macroinvertebrate organisms that live in the stream and tell us if it’s a healthy stream. Outside at picnic table

Station 2: Fishing: Is it big enough to catch & keep? (all ages) – Did you know there are limits on the size of fish that you can catch and keep? Fish for trout, sturgeon, pike and other Great Lakes fish species—then identify them and check to be sure they’re “keepers”! Community Room

Station 3: Scientific Excursion on Agassiz (7 years & up, youth & adults) Board at dock west of the Library

Station 4: Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center Lab – Compare fish mouth adaptations, view cool plankton under microscopes, and put together a Lake Trout food chain.

Station 5: What Lives in the Great Lakes Watershed? – Use sidewalk chalk and draw life-size Great Lakes creatures that live in the lakes. Outside on sidewalk

Station 6: Sandy Beaches—Are They All the Same – Make a sand ID card and compare the color, texture, and size of the sand particles from different beaches on the Keweenaw Peninsula, around Michigan, and beyond! Bring in a sand sample from your favorite beach for comparison. Community Room

Station 7: Read a story about the Great Lakes – join a local author to read some special Great Lakes stories. Children’s Reading Corner

Station 8: Could a Fish or Frog Live in This Water? – Measure the pH (acidity) of different liquids and determine whether a fish or frog could survive. Community Room

Chris Alquist, librarian, observed, “Thanks so much for another great event! Every activity was interesting, and the kids were engaged and learning!”

More than 80 attended, there were four full Agassiz scientific cruises with 18 participants each.

Here are a few of the parents’ comments:
It was exciting to ride the Agassiz and we learned a lot (about plankton)! It was interesting for all of us! (2)
I like that there were many activities. I like the college students involved.
It gave my daughter a good feeling of going into a college lab.
Amazing creatures all around!
Great time! Everyone was helpful!!
Your programs are always extremely educational & fun!
Both my children had activities that suited them well—plankton, pH levels.

Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented "Investigate the Great Lakes"
Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented “Investigate the Great Lakes”

Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented "Investigate the Great Lakes"
Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented “Investigate the Great Lakes”

See more photos at the Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center Flickr Photo Gallery “Investigate the Great Lakes”

For more information, contact: Joan Chadde at 487-3341 at the Great Lakes Research Center or Chris Alquist at 482-4570 at the Portage Lake District Library. This program is funded by General Motors and the Portage Lake District Library.

Portage Library Flyer 06.29.15

Science and engineering camp at GLRC

Twelve Baraga county students are participating in a KBOCC STEM outreach-funded Great Lakes Science & Engineering Camp at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes research center coordinated by Joan Chadde at the Center for science & environmental Outreach. The KBOCC program provides free science and math enrichment opportunities to middle and high school students in Baraga county. During the school year the KBOCC department provides afterschool and Saturday workshops music, science, math, and engineering .


WLUC TV article and video “Science and engineering camp keeps brains fresh for summer break”

More Photos at Flickr Gallery

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.

Read More