Chappaz publishes article in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
April 11, 2013 - Assistant professor of geochemistry and Institute for Great Lakes Research scientist Anthony Chappaz, along with co-principal investigator Dr. Jennifer Glass from the California Institute of Technology, recently published in the recognized geochemistry journal, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Their article is entitled "Molybdenum geochemistry in a seasonally dysoxic Mo-limited lacustrine ecosystem."
Molybenum (Mo) and nitrogen biogeochemistry are intrinsically associated, with Mo being required for the nitrogenase process to occur. The research site, Castle Lake in northern California, had previously been widely studied regarding nitrogen biogeochemistry, however Chappaz's research is the first of its kind to focus specifically on Mo, and sheds new light on the Mo sources influencing this lake. It also is the first to provide Mo isotopes' measurement for a dysoxic environment.More details about this article and Dr. Chappaz's research can be found by visiting his GEM Lab website.
U.S. Senator Carl Levin stops by to discuss Great Lakes research
April 8, 2013 - U.S. Senator for Michigan,
Carl Levin, recently sat down with Institute for Great Lakes Research director Donald Uzarski, CMU President George Ross, CST dean Ian Davison and assistant professor of biology Andrew Mahon to discuss current issues being investigated here in Michigan throughout the Great Lakes basin and new global, collaborative efforts with Jiangxi Normal University in China to address watershed health issues in Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake. Research being done by IGLR scientists continues to be groundbreaking, with Mahon’s most recent research showing that at least some Asian carp have found their way into the Great Lakes – but they are not as widespread as previously thought – disputing previous studies.
Senator Levin was thanked for his support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Stop Invasive Species Act. With a $10M federal grant and support from Levin and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the IGLR team is taking the lead to protect and preserve surrounding coastal wetlands – critical to enhancing water quality in the Great Lakes, which represent 21% of the world’s surface freshwater supply.
Mahon and research team find that Asian carp DNA is not widespread in the Great Lakes as previously thought
April 5, 2013 - Assistant professor of biology and Institute for Great Lakes Research scientist Andrew Mahon, along with scientists from the University of Notre Dame and The Nature Conservancy, recently published their research on Asian carp DNA throughout the Great Lakes in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
Silver and bighead carp - which gorge on plankton that all fish consume - are of particular concern to the Great Lakes ecosystem, since they are large fish that can quickly reproduce and unravel the food chain that supports a $7 billion fishing industry. In their latest study, the research team found that at least some Asian carp have found their way into the Great Lakes, but there is no evidence that they are as widespread in the Great Lakes basin as previously thought.
Between September 2009 and October 2011, Mahon and his colleagues collected more than 2,800 water samples from parts of the Great Lakes and tributary rivers. Laboratory analysis yielded 58 positive hits for bighead or silver carp in the Chicago Area Waterway System, a network of rivers and canals linked directly to Lake Michigan, and 6 in western Lake Erie. Some of the Chicago eDNA was found in Lake Calumet, where a live bighead carp was caught in 2010 and three others were snagged in 1995 and 2000.
The results of their research contradict earlier government studies that have said many of the positive water samples detecting Asian carp DNA in or near the lakes in recent years could have come from other sources, such as excrement from birds that fed on the carp in distant rivers, or via boats and other pathways. While these previous studies acknowledged the presence of eDNA, government researchers disagreed that the findings signaled the presence of live fish.
Dr. Christopher Jerde, lead investigator on the latest study and a scientist at the University of Notre Dame, said, "Looking at the overall patterns of detections, we remain convinced that the most likely source of Asian carp DNA is live fish."
Conducted by experts who pioneered the use of genetic data to search for the aggressive fish, Mahon and his colleagues' investigation builds upon a growing area of research to find invasive species when they are at low abundance and when they can be potentially managed.
The paper's co-author, Mahon, said, "When we first discovered DNA from Asian carp at the Calumet Harbor and Port of Chicago, we were concerned that Asian carp may already be widespread in the Great Lakes, but because of our collaborations with state and federal partners, we now have a better picture of the Asian carp distribution. We are optimistic that with continued vigilance, it will be possible to prevent Asian carp becoming established in the Great Lakes."
Click here to read the full research article, "Detection of Asian carp DNA as part of a Great Lakes basin-wide surveillance program."
CMU biology faculty and research team introduce new screening method to detect abundance of invasive species in water
March 6, 2013 - Central Michigan University IGLR researcher and assistant professor of biology Andrew Mahonand a group of researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the University of Notre Dame and The Nature Conservancy have identified a genetic method of surveillance to detect the abundance of invasive species in water.
The study is the first to utilize the common genetic technique known as PCR screening to detect the relative abundance of a particular Asian carp species by testing for residual environmental DNA in water samples.
The findings of their recent study have been published in PLOS ONE, the electronic journal of the Public Library of Science, an open-access publisher of research from all areas of science. Access the article here.
"Our study shows the percentage of DNA positive samplings we find is directly related to the number of that particular species of fish in the water," said Mahon, lead scientist on the study. "This validates the use of eDNA surveillance sensitivity for the detection of multiple species of Asian carps in water systems."
Researchers compared genetic material found in water samples to the number of fish found in a 2.6-mile stretch of river in the Chicago canal system after it was treated with retenone and the fish carcasses were collected.
"Our results showed a positive correlation between the number of genetic samples and the abundance of fish after the canal was treated," said Mahon.
This testing provides for another tool for environmental management agencies to use in determining whether invasive species are present in the water.
"This genetic testing method, along with other traditional options currently being used such as netting, electro fishing, and hook and line sampling, offers an additional tool for detecting invasive species and one more option in the battle against these species getting into our waterways," said Mahon.
USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center scientists Margaret Hunter and Leo Nico are co-authors on the study, providing expertise, genetic samples and information on black carp.
Media Contact: Kathy Backus, 989-774-1702
Chappaz publishes article in Environmental Science & Technology
February 19, 2013 - IGLR researcher and assistant professor Anthony Chappaz and his collaborator, Dr. Jeff Curtis from the University of British Columbia - Okanagan, just published a research article entitled, "Integrating Empirically Dissolved Organic Matter Quality for WHAM VI using the DOM Optical Properties: A Case Study of Cu-A1-DOM Interactions," in the Environmental Science & Technology journal. They demonstrated that the type of dissolved organic matter (DOM), as well as the A1 competition, affect the Cu complexation by DOM. More importantly, they provide a new method to integrate these changes for the widely used software, WHAM, that predicts metal speciation (and therefore toxicity) in aquatic systems.
More details about this article and Dr. Chappaz's research can be found by visiting his GEM Lab website.
36-foot vessel gifted to CMU from Roger Kesseler
October 22, 2012 - Roger Kesseler, retired vice
president and controller of The Dow Chemical Company, served on the CMU
Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2006. A 1958 graduate of CMU, he
received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1989 and CMU's
Distinguished Service Award in 1996. He has served on the CMU
Development Board since 1986, of which he is currently an emeritus
member, and is a current member of the CMU College of Medicine's
Steering Committee in Midland.
Roger recently donated his boat - a
36-foot 2002 Sea Ray Sundancer - to CMU. The RV Kesseler will be used in
northern Lake Michigan at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island
and the Institute for Great Lakes Research.
Roger has supported many initiatives at
CMU, including the College of Business, the Park Library renovation and
addition, the James C. Gillingham Academic Center at the CMU Biological
Station on Beaver Island, the Education and Human Services building,
numerous scholarships - including Centralis scholarships, the Kesseler
Residence Hall and CMU Athletics.
CST graduate earns award at International Association of Great Lakes Research meeting
October 20, 2012 - College of Science and Technology biology graduate Lindsay Kolich has been awarded the HYDROLAB/IAGLR Student Poster Paper award from the International Association of Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) meeting in June 2012 in Cornwall, Ontario. Her poster was titled, "Effects of the dreissenid invasion on the genetic structure of Lasmigona costata (Bivalvia: Unionidae) in the Lake St. Clair delta and surrounding tributaries," and was co-authored by biology graduate student Matthew Rowe and IGLR researcher and assistant professor of biology David Zanatta.
Kolich will receive her award - a $250 check, a one-year membership in IAGLR (for 2013) and a subscription of the Journal of Great Lakes Research - at the 2013 IAGLR conference to be held in Purdue, Indiana from June 2-6.
Kolich's award-winning poster can be downloaded here.
Funding for this project came from the Michigan DEQ Coastal Zone Management Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act.
Chappaz publishes article in Environmental Science & Technology
October 19, 2012 - IGLR researcher and assistant professor of chemistry and earth and atmospheric sciences Anthony Chappaz and his collaborators from University of
California–Riverside and Arizona State University just published an article entitled ‘Isotopic Fingerprints of Anthropogenic
Molybdenum in Lake Sediments’ in the renowned environmental journal: Environmental Science &
Technology (ACS publications). They propose to use molybdenum isotopes as a
new method to identify contamination sources in lacustrine sediments.
Mahon receives EPA grant to battle invasive species in
October 2, 2012 - IGLR researcher and assistant professor of biology Andrew Mahon is
leading the CMU research team that recently received a $356,154 Great
Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant from the United States
Environmental Protection Agency to combat invasive species in the Great
Lakes basin, including the much-feared Asian carp.
Mahon's project, "Assessing Aquatic Invasive Species Risk in the Erie
Canal Corridor" will assess the risks presented by aquatic invasive
species (AIS) to the Erie Canal Corridor (ECC). Mahon and CMU
researchers will catalogue non-native species in the Mohawk-Hudson River
and Lake Champlain basins and identify currently restricted AIS that
have potential to spread into the ECC. By using environmental DNA
surveys, they will help identify the current range of priority AIS,
potential invasion pathways and future surveillance needs.
Mahon and his colleagues are using laser transmission spectroscopy to
provide real-time, DNA-based testing to detect invasive species such as
Asian carp and zebra mussels in freshwater. This new, easy-to-use,
inexpensive technology paves the way for field-based identification of
harmful species in samples from ships' ballast water, ports and other
at-risk areas before contamination and spreading into marine ecosystems,
including the Great Lakes.
The findings of their recent study have been published in the
"Journal of the Royal Society Interface," a prestigious international,
peer-reviewed scientific journal that features reviews and research
articles showcasing the interface between the physical sciences,
including mathematics and life sciences.
"Early detection of invasive species is critical in the effort to
manage potential ecological and economic damage caused by harmful
species entering fresh waterways," said Mahon. "Laser transmission
spectroscopy is a powerful tool for this, offering real-time, DNA-based
species detection in the field."
Economic damage caused by invasive species has been estimated at
approximately $120 billion annually in the U.S. In the Great Lakes, more
than 180 species have been introduced, mostly through the discharge of
ship ballasts. Dreissenid mussels, also known as "zebra mussels" and
"quagga mussels," cause $150 million in damage annually by clogging
water intake pipes in power plants, municipal water supplies and
"Ships take on water in their home ports and transport that to other
regions, taking native species with them to regions where they don't
normally exist," said Mahon.
These introductions to freshwater and marine ecosystems have prompted
a need for quick, inexpensive field-based technology to identify
harmful species in water samples. The method Mahon and his team have
created, using laser transmission spectroscopy, is user-friendly and
easy to implement. Screening can be done on the ships in port.
"LTS is a quantitative detection platform for rapidly measuring the
size, shape and number of nanoparticles in a water sample," said Mahon.
The goal of this research is to provide management agencies and
policy makers the most accurate techniques and superior tools, matched
with the best science available, in order to prevent the invasion of
harmful species into fresh waterways.
"If you catch species early in the process, you can alleviate the
potential for invasion," said Mahon. "LTS is an additional tool in the
box and can be an effective surveillance method used to keep harmful
species out of our lakes and waterways."
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. Over the
last three years, the GLRI has provided $172 million for the prevention,
detection and control of invasive species in the Great Lakes ecosystem.
A full list of EPA 2012 grants for projects to combat invasive species is available online here.
Over 500 explore new mesocosm facility at boathouse
July 17, 2012 - Over 500 people attended an open house at the CMU
Biological Station's boathouse on Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Biological
Station director Don Uzarski and station manager John Gordon hosted the
event, which offered the community an opportunity to see the refurbished
boathouse, once owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the
mesocosm facility being developed by CMUBS to simulate experimental
aquatic ecosystems in 270-gallon tanks.
Faculty and staff were on hand to provide information about Great
Lakes research projects currently underway by faculty and students, and
to offer activities including fish prints and sand key chains for
Standing empty since it was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in
1973, the boathouse was purchased by CMU in 2006 and restored to
continue serving as a boathouse for CMUBS and now a research facility as
well. CMU received funding from the National Science Foundation in 2011
to construct the mesocosms, large tanks designed to simulate lake
environments under controlled conditions for research projects.
Asian carp eDNA found in Lake Erie samples
July 14, 2012 - IGLR researcher and assistant professor of biology, Andrew Mahon, along with researchers from the University of Notre Dame and The Nature Conservancy, have detected the presence of environmental DNA from Asian carp in Lake Erie water samples.
The six positive samples were among 417 taken from Lake Erie in August 2011, and more than 2,000 samples taken from the Great Lakes Basin since 2010.
While the findings suggest the presence of Asian carp, it is uncertain whether the fish are actually there since there is no physical evidence that the fish have migrated to the Great Lakes. However, the discovery of eDNA in the water samples is unsettling because positive test results are regarded by scientists as an indicator of the species' recent presence.
described Lake Erie as the lake that could suffer the biggest harm from an
Asian carp incursion. Carp ingest huge amounts of plankton, a crucial
nutrient for many fish. Although the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume, Erie has the most
abundant fish population due to its relatively warm temperatures and
plentiful food supply.
Protecting the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp is of utmost importance in order to preserve Michigan's sport and commercial fishing industries.
Officials with Michigan, Ohio and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are planning to take more water samples next week.
>> Click here for the joint press release issued by the Michigan and Ohio Departments of Natural Resources on July 13, 2012.
Old Coast Guard boathouse to serve the Great Lakes in a whole new way
May 2012 - Dr. Donald Uzarski, director of the CMU Biological Station and director of the Institute for Great Lakes Research is enthusiastic about the work accomplished this winter to turn the old boathouse into a state-of-the-art experimental mesocosm facility.
Each 250-gallon tank represents a small, experimental aquatic ecosystem that will be filled with water from Lake Michigan. Research scientists will be able to study a seemingly endless variety of aquatic life and also be able to replicate identical conditions in two or three other mesocosms, leading to sound scientific data.
“Each tank is like a mini Lake Michigan,” said Uzarski, who explained that all factors in the environments could be carefully controlled, including the temperature, the nutrients, species and even simulated wave action. “We can manipulate it in a controlled state,” he said.
What is especially unique about CMU’s mesocosm facility is the ability to access warm surface water as well as deeper, colder water from a depth of around 25 feet.
The large lamps hanging over the tanks can be raised and lowered and also shaded for experiments.
A 32.5-foot research vessel will be added to the facility sometime next winter. It will allow for the deploying of scientific equipment in deep water and will have a small laboratory aboard. Since it has grown a bit from the initial plan for a 28-foot boat, it will not fit in the boathouse but be moored at a slip in the harbor. The main floor of the facility also houses CMU’s Zodiac and the upstairs is currently being used for storage.
Uzarski says creating the Institute for Great Lakes Research has
sparked a huge interest resulting in major increases of students and the
addition of six researchers hired for the program. “We are just packed
with the number of people brought in by the Great Lakes Institute,” said
An open house event to show the facility to the community will be held in July during Museum Week.
CMU museum faculty are also creating an interactive Great Lakes education exhibit for visitors which will be located at the boathouse.
The old Coast Guard flagpole is being renovated for the tower and the flag will soon fly proudly again over the old boathouse, a place that will now serve the Great Lakes in a whole new way.
Article courtesy of Elaine West featured in Beaver Island's "NorthernIslander" community newsletter; Photos courtesy of Steve West