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Biology News

July 24, 2017
With fewer predators, chipmunks enjoy island life
CMU grad student finds critters aren't as vigilant about their safety
For the chipmunks on Michigan's Beaver Island, life's a bit like a class with a substitute teacher: It's easy to slack off and not pay attention.  But for their cousins on the mainland, ceaseless vigilance remains the ticket to staying alive.  Shannon McWaters, a first-year graduate student at Central Michigan University, is studying the level of chipmunk watchfulness on and off the island. She's finding the island critters are taking full advantage of the relative dearth of predators such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons, weasels and hawks.
...read the rest of this story here



July 5, 2017
Beaver Island attracts next generation of Great Lakes scientists
REU Students at Mesocosm FacilityWhen you talk with Great Lakes scientists Jessica Kosiara it helps to be ready for terms like "trophic level fish" and "wetland food webs".  It's the language of her profession, aquatic ecology.  Don't worry, Kosiara will break it down for you.




June 28, 2017
The last line of defense, say CMU scientists on Beaver Island, Lake Michigan
When Don Uzarski graduated from college, a career as a Great Lakes scientist wasn’t in his plans.  He had majored in computer science in college and taken a programming job.  “That lasted about a day,” Uzarski told Great Lakes Now as he was revving up the engine on the Great Lakes research vessel “Chippewa” off Beaver Island in Lake Michigan.  Uzarski re-tooled to become an aquatic ecologist after realizing that the passion and interests he developed from living near lakes in his youth were meant to be his profession.  Fast-forward a couple of decades andProfessor Uzarski now directs the Institute for Great Lakes Research at Central Michigan University.



May 30, 2017
Tiny world of microscopy opens up giant career prospects
Here are five reasons why CMU program deserves a hard look
Remember the first time you looked at a leaf or an anthill through a magnifying glass? Or a fly's wing through a science-class microscope? Multiply that thrill by 3 million times.  

That's what undergraduates in Central Michigan University's microscopy program experience when they take the controls of powerful electron microscopes in the university's new Biosciences Building — equipment that students at other schools might not get to touch until grad school.




May 22, 2017
CMU part of group receiving $20 million to keep tabs on Great Lakes
Biologist says grant cements university's role as key research institution
Boat House and MV Chippewa in Beaver IslandCentral Michigan University will be one of nine research institutions participating in a new effort to head off crises on the Great Lakes.

It's quite a feather in CMU's cap, according to Donald Uzarski, a biology professor and director of the CMU Institute for Great Lakes Research. The university currently is a Level 2 research school — rankings are similar to divisions in college sports — but Uzarski says this proves CMU can hold its own with anyone.

...Read the rest of this story here

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May 19, 2017
CMU biologist receives $740,000 early career award
Xantha Karp will use grant to study mysteries of organism development
The ways organisms develop, and how they adapt when things go wrong, fascinate biologist Xantha Karp.

For Karp, an assistant professor in Central Michigan University's College of Science and Engineering, they're part of "the big, big question."

Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, Karp will receive $740,000 over the next five years to follow her passion in depth. This month the foundation announced Karp received its Faculty Early Career Development Program award.
...Read the rest of this story here

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May 2, 2017
Invasive species gang up on native crayfish
Invasive species in the Great Lakes are ganging up against native species.  A study looking into invasive zebra and quagga mussels’ relationship with invasive rusty crayfish illustrates how the harm they cause together can be greater than either of them alone.  “What we found was that these invasive crayfish are really good at exploiting the resources provided by the (invasive) mussels,” said Mael Glon, who worked on this research while pursuing a Master’s degree at Central Michigan University. “I don’t just mean eating them, because they are eating them, but they’re also eating what grows from what’s filtered from the mussels.”
...Read the rest of this story here

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March 16, 2017
Joanne Dannenhoffer receives President's Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity.
The President's Award recognizes outstanding senior faculty members for their scholarship of national and international merit.  Dannenhoffer is one of the country's leading plant structural biologists, with three main focuses in cellular molecular characterization of seed storage products, developmental anatomical studies of phloem - the sugar-conducting tissue in plants - and paleo botanical studies of fossil plants.  Among her many research projects, Dannenhoffer also serves as a ......


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March 2, 2017
Nutrient imbalances in the Great Lakes, once under control, have begun to reappear, bringing with them harmful algal blooms and toxic water conditions. These algal blooms are responsible for killing wildlife and shutting down beaches. Central Michigan University graduate student Laura Moore is looking to find the culprit.
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​​January 18, 2017
Media from around Michigan were invited to tour the new Biosciences Building at Central Michigan University.  See what they had to say.

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January 10, 2017

CMU Biological Station looks ahead and reflects on busy and vibrant 2016 season

2017 promises to be another busy year at CMUBS.  Please join us for another series of Field Trips, Seminars and Scientific Cruises once again focusing on changes in the Lake Michigan Food Web.  The event schedule will be updated weekly so please check back often.

Here's a brief look back at 2016:

-CMUBS celebrated its 50th year anniversary of becoming a Biological Station with the annual open house celebration at Whiskey Point boathouse seeing a record crowd taking part in activities, touring the M/V Chippewa, Mesocosm, exploring the various research that is ongoing at CMUBS and reminiscing over the past 50 years.  In addition, a special evening honoring the people responsible for the success of CMUBS was held at the main CMUBS campus.

-Researchers from CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research installed a one-of-a-kind monitoring system on board the Beaver Island Boat Company's Emerald Isle Ferry that collects data on climate change factors and water quality issues in the Great Lakes.  For more information visit: https://www.cmich.edu/colleges/cst/iglr/pages/lakemichigandata.aspx

-Research Experience for undergraduates continued in 2016 and will again in 2017.  This program has brought some of the brightest undergraduate students from across the country to CMUBS.

-M/V Chippewa took trips on 26 days with a total of 164 aboard in 2016 using the CTD and ROV on nearly every trip.

- Mesocosm Facility at the Whiskey Point Boathouse was once again in use this past summer.  Be sure to stop by the boathouse on Tuesday July 18th during museum week to see what research is taking place in 2017.​

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​​December 28, 2016
IGLR at CMU is looking forward to continuing its work in 2017
The Institute for Great Lakes Research at Central Michigan University has been sampling wetlands and watersheds throughout the basin since 2010.


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December 1, 2016
What do you mean fish are swimming in the walls?
A conversation with CMU’s first-ever aquatic vivarium manager
The living wall and two freshwater aquariums are like natural works of art adorning the first floor hallway of Central Michigan University's new Biosciences Building. Michael O'Neill — CMU's first-ever aquatic vivarium manager — is the point person for maintaining these and the building's vivarium, which includes water tanks and temperature-controlled spaces that replicate real-life aquatic conditions for research.

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November 10, 2016
New Residents Move into the Biosciences Building

You'll notice some new additions the next time you walk the halls of the new Biosciences Building at CMU.  A group of Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Sea Lamprey have made a new home in the two fish tanks on display in the North hallway.  

"We are just starting out and getting the aquarium going," said Michael O'Neill, CMU Aquatic Vivarium Manager, "we are going with exhibiting Michigan fish that are both native and non-native to the local waters."

Currently the Brook trout, the state fish of Michigan, are the only fish on display that are native to Michigan. 

The rainbow trout and brown trout (native to Germany) were introduced as a sport fish as well as to help control populations of an invasive species, the alewife. 

The sea lamprey are native to the Atlantic Ocean and were introduced accidently through shipping canals.  They nearly decimated the Lake trout population (another native Michigan fish) within the great lakes.  There are currently efforts by the DNR and Fish and wildlife to reduce their populations in local waters.  

"We plan to add other species in the future. I think the next possible species will be the Lake Trout and some bass species." Said O'Neill 

The tanks also exhibit fish that are part of the research going on at CMU. 

Dr. Kevin Pangle and his Graduate Student, Carson Prichard, are working together with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to improve our understanding of steelhead population biology in Lake Michigan and its tributaries. The name 'steelhead' describes a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) that exhibits a migratory life history. Juvenile steelhead that are born in tributaries to the Great Lakes will make a downstream migration at 1-2 years old into the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes provide more abundant prey resources than the rivers in which steelhead are born, and as a result, steelhead grow to larger sizes than non-migratory rainbow trout.

Each year, adult steelhead return to rivers and streams connected to the Great Lakes to spawn. This means that steelhead are able to support two large recreational fisheries – an open lake summer trolling fishery and an inland, river angling fishery in the fall thru spring months. Fishing for steelhead is very popular; since 1990 the annual lake wide recreational angling harvest of steelhead in Lake Michigan has ranged from about 30,000 to 130,000 per year. This figure does account for the inland fall-spring fishery whose harvest likely exceeds the summer trolling fishery.

Although about 1.3 million steelhead are stocked within the Lake Michigan basin each year, a large portion of the Lake Michigan steelhead population is comprised of wild naturally reproduced fish. Rivers that have suitable-sized gravel (into which the eggs are laid), and cool summer water temperatures within the thermal requirements of juvenile steelhead, support natural reproduction. Many Lake Michigan tributaries support steelhead natural reproduction, however, the extent to which natural reproduction in each of these tributaries contributes individuals to the Lake Michigan steelhead population is unknown.

The Lake Michigan steelhead population comprises what is known in fisheries science as a 'mixed-stock fishery' because it is composed of individual fish originating from many different tributaries, or stocks. Mixed-stock fisheries present difficulties for fisheries management because the composition of the mixed-stock fishery is often poorly understood. This makes it challenging to understand the role of certain influences, such as harvest, on the individual stocks, which are typically reproductively isolated, but are mixed during the period of harvest.

Their research utilizes natural markers uniquely imprinted on wild fish originating from different Lake Michigan tributaries to estimate where individual adult steelhead were born. The technique we are using is called otolith microchemical analysis. Chemical traces in otoliths (fish ear bones) can be used to reconstruct the environmental history of fish. This is because:

1)    Otoliths grow incrementally, implying that elements incorporated as the otoliths grow may be representative, chronologically, of the environments in which a fish has resided, and

2)     Otoliths are metabolically inert, meaning elements incorporated into the otolith structure are permanently retained (i.e., not subject to resorption).

Several previous studies have demonstrated relationships between the concentrations of certain elements measured in fish otoliths and the abundances of these elements in the environment. By measuring the concentrations of certain elements within the region of an otolith corresponding to the juvenile portion of that fish's life, we may be able to infer where it was born and reared. By generating diagnostic otolith microchemical signatures from streams across the Lake Michigan basin using juvenile steelhead, we can then apply these diagnostics to assess the natal origins of wild steelhead caught in the open-lake trolling fishery. This research will help fishery managers understand stream-specific recruitment success, spatial and temporal patterns in adult steelhead movement, and how these relate to angler harvest.

Adult steelhead otoliths (ear stones). The otoliths grow concentrically around the core. Each dark/light stanza corresponds to one year of growth. The light region in the center corresponds to the juvenile portion of the fish's life, and is the region on which we perform our analysis.  We perform our analysis on a cross-section of the otoliths by gathering data along a transect from the core (center) of the otolith to its edge, representing the life of the fish from birth to capture.

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October 26, 2016

CMU's Fabiano Botanical Garden Wins KMB's President's Award

Each year, Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. recognizes programs that enhance the beauty of our state and award those who significantly contribute to environmental improvement, clean up, beautification, site restoration, and historical preservation.

The CMU Fabiano Botanical Garden at Central Michigan University was recently awarded The President's Award, the highest award given, from Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. The President's Award is given to exceptional programs, projects, or individuals who most exemplify the goals of Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc.

For 30 years, Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. has recognized programs around the state that involve environmental clean-up, historical preservation, site beautification and restoration, native species protection and environmental educational programs for children and adults.

Annually four awards are given: The President's Award, the Michigan Award, the Distinguished Service Award, and an Award of Merit, in five classifications: City, Count and State Government, Community Groups, Youth-Schools and Clubs, Business or Industry, and Individuals.

To learn more about Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. visit their website HERE.

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October 25, 2016
Biology Graduate Student Wins Student Writing Award

Nicole Watson, a Graduate Research Assistant in Dr. Kevin Pangle's lab at Central Michigan University, recently brought home the Student Writing Award through the American Fisheries Society for her article titled Wild: Determining Natal Origins of Juvenile Steelhead Using Otolith Chemical Analysis.

The American Fisheries Society Student Writing Award is presented to a graduate or undergraduate student who submits an outstanding short report about their original research that combines scientifically sound writing with an appeal to a general audience.

A similar version of the article was published in the Fall 2015 edition of Dun Magazine; an online magazine directed toward women fly fishers.

After graduation Nicole plans to pursue doctoral research in fisheries biology, working with native fish species either in rivers/streams or in the Great Lakes.

"I am leaning towards focusing on inland trout research and would like to use a holistic approach to fisheries conservation and management," Watson said. "We can not simply focus on the species of interest and ignore all other abiotic and biotic factors. We must consider the entire ecosystem of the fish and ensure a healthy environment that satisfies the needs of the fish through habitat, prey availability, etc."

She plans to become a fisheries research biologist in the Au Sable River region. "I have recently been elected to the board of directors for Anglers of the Au Sable, a conservation group focused on the protection of the Au Sable River," she said.

Watson attributes her award to a strong and supportive thesis committee and a great thesis research project.

Nicole has also presented her data at professional conferences including the American Fisheries Society, the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, International Association of Great Lakes Research, and to several angling groups including the Saint Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers, the Ann Arbor Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Gary Borger Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  ​

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September 22, 2016
University unveils Biosciences Building
The ribbons are cut and Central Michigan University’s new Biosciences Building is officially open. 

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September 19, 2016
Biosciences Building open to biology classes next semester
After two years of construction and $95 million, Central Michigan University is ready to open its largest capital project in history.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, the university will host a grand opening for the newly-completed Biosciences Building. In January 2017, the 169,000 square-foot facility will house faculty from the biology department, and offer classes to students studying the biological sciences.

...Read the rest of this story HERE at CM Life

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September 7, 2016
Chasing Pokemon to illustrate biology
CMU professor turns popular game into classroom tool
In the first lab session of his Honors biology course Foundations of Evolution and Diversity, Brad Swanson chose a trendy, unconventional vehicle to illustrate his point. Using the mobile game "Pokemon Go," Swanson split his class into three teams and unleashed them onto Central Michigan University's campus with a single directive: gotta catch 'em all.


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August 9, 2016
On board the MV Chippewa
Throughout the summer, residents and those visiting Beaver Island have the opportunity to participate in one of our scientific cruises.  We head out approximately four nautical miles to an ancient island that has been forested.  We cross over water that is roughly 150 feet deep to an area that is 30 feet deep.  Our ROV (Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle) is then hooked to a large monitor so those on board can watch what happening under the water as CMU reserachers take their samples.  
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Click HERE to download the video​
In this video watch the ROV follow the CTD (also known as a Sonde, an instrument used to determine the conductivity, temperature, and depth) to the bottom and then again as it lifts back to the surface.

The ROV also finds a 6,000-7,000 year old tree stump from a time when Lake Michigan was called Lake Chippewa and the Beaver Island archipelago was​ connected to the mainland via Waugshance Point.

​​It is here, while the ROV sits quietly on the bottom, that you can get an idea of how many of the invasive fish, Round Gobies, are covering the entire bottom of the lake.

Finally, the ROV follows the Ponar Grab Sampler (a device used for taking sediment samples from the bottom) to the bottom, watches it "grab" its sample, and back to the vessel.  In just this one "grab", several hundred zebra mussels, another invsasive species, were found.​
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July 18, 2016
Stuck on the island...happily
CMU's Biological Station on Beaver Island celebrates its 50th anniversary
CMU's "northern campus," as some call it, is an island only accessible by plane or boat and sometimes neither, when the weather's nasty.  People still leave the keys in their cars here. The community school is one building for K-12, and fewer than 100 students attend. It's a place where everybody really does know your name.


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June 6, 2016
One Central Michigan University student will attend a 10-week program at CMU's Biological Station on Beaver Island to work on projects related to the Great Lake ecosystems.

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​May 24, 2016
Beaver Island Boat Company lends ferry to Central Michigan University Researchers
Researchers from Central Michigan University’s Institute for Great Lakes Research will be collecting data from the Great Lakes and using part of Beaver Island Boat Company’s fleet to help collect data to be used in their study.



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May 20, 2016
Biology senior, Baleigh Schuler, receives 2016 Honors Outstanding Senior Project Award

Baleigh Schuler, student Shane Wery, and Honors Associate Director Maureen HarkeBaleigh Schuler, a biology major, has been recognized as the 2016 Outstanding Senior Project Award in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, fields.

Baleigh's project is titled "Incongruencies between Geometric Morphometrics and DNA Barcodes in Delineating Species of Pyganodon Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae)."  This study combined morphological, genetic, and statistical techniques in the identification of a shell-based species of freshwater mussels.

Baleigh's advisor, Dr. David Zanatta said, "Baleigh worked largely independently on this project while at the CMU Biological Station. She developed the hypotheses, assimilated and interpreted the results, and produced a well written manuscript.  This outstanding project has spawned further research that will attempt to answer the question of potential hybrids that the results of this study revealed."

Dr. Zanatta also shared that, "Bailey is among the hardest working and disciplined students I have ever met. This is reflected in her grades, her personality, and her commitment to science and research. I am thrilled that she has been accepted to several MD programs and I am confident that she will continue to shine with a career in biomedical research."

Independent faculty reviews focused on how "well written' the final report was, recognizing that, although it was for a specialized audience, they were still able to follow the complete project because of the clarity of the writing from introduction to conclusion!

Baleigh presented her project at both the Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon in 2014 and at the American Malacological Society meeting at the UofM Biological Station in Pellston, Michigan.  She is currently preparing the paper to be submitted to the American Malacological Bulletin.

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​​​May 17, 2016
Researchers get fresh Great Lakes data from aboard Beaver Island ferry
Tourists traveling by ferry between northwest Michigan and Lake Michigan's Beaver Island will be riding with some groundbreaking cargo this summer...


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May 2, 2016
Painting a picture of recent changes in the Great Lakes
CMU researchers use ferry to monitor climate change and water quality issues
Beaver Island Boat Company's Emerald Isle ferrytravels across Lake Michigan between Charlevoix and Beaver Island up to four times a day during busy summer months. It's a 32-mile trip one way and takes a little more than two hours to complete.

Along with transporting passengers, vehicles and goods, those hours will now be critical for painting a picture of the recent changes in the lake.
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April 15, 2016
Biology s​tudent awarded CMU's first-ever Goldwater Scholarship
Photo of Kristopher KieftThe first Gold​water Scholarship in Central Michigan University's history has been awarded to Kristopher Kieft, an Honors student majoring in biology. Kieft was one of 252 scholars chosen from a competitive pool of 1,150 national nominations.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship Program was created to encourage outstanding undergraduate students to pursue research careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Kieft, a junior from Rothbury, believes the nationally competitive scholarship will be a key part of his acceptance into a graduate school program where he plans to continue his research in emerging viruses.​​​​

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April 14, 2016
CMU Students Present Research at Annual Meeting​
Students from Dr. Karp's lab at the C. elegans meetingGraduate and undergraduate students from Dr. Xantha Karp's and Dr. Jennifer Schisa's biology labs recently made the trip to the Midwest C. elegans Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The annual meeting brings scientists from across Michigan Students from Dr. Schisa's lab at the C. elegans meetingand neighboring states together to share the latest in Caenorhabditis elegans research.

All together, 16 CMU graduate and undergraduate students presented 7 different research posters at this year's meeting.


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​March 4, 2016
Shinging a spotlight on science
CMU Biosciences Building's interior puts science on display
The interior of Central Michigan University's Biosciences Building – scheduled for completion in September 2016 – is coming together as spring approaches. From the ground up, the new building will shine a spotlight on faculty and student research.


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March 4, 2016
Photo of the MV Chippewa in front of the CMU Boathouse on Beaver IslandBeaver Island to offer new summer courses
John Gordon’s mission for this summer is to get as many students as possible on the ferry destined to Beaver Island.

“To learn with an expert faculty in a small class size at the Biology Station on Beaver Island is really an unmatched learning experience,” said the Biological Station manager. “You couldn’t get that anywhere else. It’s the uniqueness of the island.”

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February 3, 2016
Investigating Lake Michigan's food web
Research looks into rapidly changing ecosystem
A CMU aquatic ecologist recently served as guest editor of a special-issue academic journal dedicated to recent changes in Lake Michigan's food web.


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​​January 28, 2016
CMU biology M.S. student awarded Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award
Amanda Chambers accepting her awardOn Monday, January 25, 2016 M.S. in Biology student, Amanda Chambers, was awarded the Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Janice Lee Fenske Memorial Award is a competitive award among students from across the Midwest and is awarded to students, "for their achievements in the field of fisheries or wildlife management". 

Amanda is in her last semester of her M.S. program in Dr. Daelyn  Woolnough'​s lab and is studying the upstream/downstream variation of native freshwater mussel assemblages in the Chippewa and Pine Rivers.  

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January 20, 2016

CMU biology faculty and students presented their research findings at the American Society for Cell Biology's annual meeting in San Diego this past December.

Dr. Cynthia Damer, along with two masters students, April Ilacqua and Elise Wight, and three undergraduates, Matthew Buccilli, Bria Graham, and Samantha Perry presented their research investigating the function of a group of novel genes called copines using the model organism ​​Dictyostelium discoideum. 

Dr. Steven Gorsich presented research from Michelle Steidemann's graduate thesis on oxidative stress, P-bodies, and stress granules during yeast spore development.  He also presented information on the Biology Department's new curriculum and how it aligns with the vision of the department. 



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January 19, 2016
CMU biology student named a semi-finalist for a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant
A National Screening Committee for the Institute of International Education (IIE) announced recently that Alyssa Shepard, a senior Honors student from Holland,MI, has been selected as a semi-finalist for a 2016-17 Fulbright U.S. Stud​ent Program grant. Shepard is competing for a grant to study Cancer Cell, and Molecular Biology at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

Being selected as a semi-finalist at the national level is an honor in itself and Shepard now moves to the next stage of selection at the international level. Finalists will be announced this spring.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understandingbetween the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primarysource of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S.Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreigncountries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients ofFulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, aswell as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over160 countries worldwide.

Fulbright recipients are among over 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Fulbright U.S. StudentProgram is administered by the Institute of International Education.

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January 13, 2016
Xantha Karp and a student examining nematodes on a computer monitor CMU biologist receives grant from National Institutes of Health

1.  Central Michigan University's Xantha Karp, assistant professor of biology, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to further her research into stem cell biology.

2.  ​More than a quarter million dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health was recently awarded to a microbiologist from CMU in order to bolster a certain type of stem cell research.  Dr. Xantha Karp is a CMU professor, and the lead microbiologist on this stem cell research project.​
...Listen to the rest of this story from WCMU HERE

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December 16, 2015
Unlocking the secrets in our cells
CMU biologists make crucial finding in biomedical research
A recent study has identified new biological ingredients that may help scientists turn genes on and off in order to control processes contributing to disease.  A collaboration between...


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December 1, 2015
Grand Traverse: a Great Lakes reef restoration
Three species, 450 tons of rocks, and one chance for a comeback. Watch this video to learn how The Nature Conservancy and its partners are working to restore spawning habitat for Great Lakes fish.

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November 9, 2015
CMU has strong showing at this year's Michigan Microscopy and Microanalysis Society meeting
Both CMU biology graduate student, April Llacqua, and CMU chemistry & biochemisty graduate student, Swati Naik, brough awards home from this year's Michigan Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting.  Llacqua, studying in Cynthia Damer's lab, won Best Biology Student presentation while Naik, studying with Gabriel Caruntu, won Best Materials/Physical Science Student presentation.  In addition to the two awards, six CMU students were also there to present their research.​

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​October 29, 2015
TechCentury Magazine visits with CMU Institute for Great Lakes Research

"My time at CMU started with Donald G. Uzarski, who has one of the academic world’s truly cool jobs. Not only is he director of the CMU Institute for Great Lakes Research, he’s also director of the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island."


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October 1, 2015
EPA awards CMU $20 million in six years for Great Lakes research
Second $10 million coastal wetlands grant to help protect the lakes' future and economy of 8 states and 2 Canadian provinces 
Central Michigan University researchers will continue to lead efforts to protect and restore coastal wetlands vital to the overall health of the Great Lakes, thanks to a second $10 million grant announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


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September 28, 2015
CMU Receives $492,285 National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program Grant 
A team of researchers from the Central Michigan University Biology and Chemistry & Biochemistry departments has been awarded a $492,285 grant from the Major Research Instrumentation Program at the National Science Foundation.  Jennifer Schisa, professor of biology lead the project, with contributions from Gabriel Caruntu, associate professor of chemistry & biochemistry, Brad Fahlman, professor of chemistry & biochemistry, Eric Linton, associate professor of biology, and Joanne Dannenhoffer, professor of biology. 

The grant funds will be used to purchase a Hitachi Model HT7700 120kV high-contrast/high-resolution digital transmission electron microscope (TEM).  The new TEM will be housed in the Microscopy Facility of the new Biosciences building on the campus of Central Michigan University, and will replace the outdated Philips CM-10 that has been in use since 2001.

The new HT7700 TEM will be configured with a newly developed, high-resolution objective lens (EXALENS), a STEM system with EDS (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), and for Selected Area Electron Diffraction (SAED) to analyze crystals.  These capabilities will allow faculty and student researchers working with nanomaterials and polymers to collect their data on campus rather than having to travel to an outside institution.

"The HT7700 TEM will greatly improve the research capabilities of faculty and student researchers in the biology and chemistry & biochemistry departments, and in the Central Michigan University College of Medicine," said Caruntu.

"It is a unique instrument in its ability to provide both high-resolution and high-contrast imaging.  Therefore, a single TEM cam image biological and materials science specimens equally well," said Schisa.  "The new TEM has state-of-the-art imaging technology that will allow biology researchers to substantially increase the quality and quantity of images of low-contrast biological samples."

"Materials science researchers working on nanotechnology-related projects need electron microscopy to visualize the morphological characteristics of the materials they prepare," said Caruntu. "As the surface/volume ratio increases dramatically upon scaling down the material, this knowledge is essential in understanding the role of surface on the macroscopic properties of materials."

The new instrument will not only allow for a level of research that previously did not exist at CMU, but it will enable the training of the next generation of scientists in modern methods used in analysis of biological and materials science samples.  The new TEM will be used by student researchers and in courses that serve undergraduate students, Biology Master's students, and Ph.D. students in the Science of Advanced Materials program.  All students will receive hands-on training so that they can independently operate the instrument and collect and analyze data.  Use of the TEM by undergraduate and graduate students will also add value to their research experiences at CMU, and make them more competitive in landing STEM-related jobs in a very technology-savvy job market.

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September 25, 2015
Mussel relocation aids dam removal project in mid-Michigan
Removing obsolete, unsafe and unnecessary dams from Michigan’s rivers and streams has been on the Department of Natural Resources’ to-do list for a long time, as fisheries managers strive to remove obstacles to natural fish movement.  In some case...​
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September 9, 2015
CMU's custom-designed research tanks replicate Great Lakes ecosystems
Central Michigan University researchers are changing the way freshwater ecosystems — particularly those in the Great Lakes — are analyzed. At CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island, custom-designed 250-gallon freshwater tanks simulate Lake Michigan ecosystems, and researchers can control light, temperature, nutrients, water quality and organisms within them. CMU is the only university in Michigan to have this kind of technology.
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September 8, 2015
Lyons Dam: Mussels on the move
A biology expert from Central Michigan University offered insight into the process for relocating the federally endangered snuffbox mussel...
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September 2, 2015
CMU helps restore reef for fish in Grand Traverse Bay
The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and CMU work together to increase native fish population
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August 20, 2015
The DEQ awards several grants to protect Michigan's Great Lakes coastal wetlands
Central Michigan University received the larges single amount...
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July 30, 2015
Research, impact and opportunity on Beaver Island. A special series highlighting CMU's Biological Station
Thousands of people are spending their summer enjoying the beaches and waters of the Great Lakes.  At the same time, CMU researchers and students are on an...
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July 29, 2015
CMU researchers look to control Great Lakes invasive species
Researchers at Central Michigan Universities Biological Station on Beaver Island are working hard on their summer projects.  One of their most important projects focuses on the problems being caused by several.....
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​July 28, 2015
On the Map: Beaver Island CMU facility
Our first stop on Beaver Island is a one-of-a-kind biological research facility operated by CMU.  Don Uzarski is director of CMU's Great Lakes Research Institute, and my captain when I went for a.....
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June 30, 2015
Greenhouse Garden Team grows new garden with plans to donate edible, medicinal plants
Nestled on the corner of Preston and Washington streets is a garden filled with cotton, tobacco, kiwi and a marshmallow plant.  A feature of the Fabiano Botanical Gardent, the Plants and Society Garden houses a variety of different plants for community members to learn about.
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​April 29, 2015
Biology Lab Awarded 3rd NIH Grant to Study Infertility
Dr. Jennifer Schisa's biology lab has been awarded a $325,976, three-year grant from National Institutes of Health titled "Mechanisms of RNP granule function in the germ line".  This is the third grant from NIH to the Schisa lab to support their studies aimed at understanding the basis for infertility and the increased likelihood of having children with developmental disorders as women age.  The broad goal is to identify the mechanisms used by eggs to maintain their quality when they must wait a prolonged time to be fertilized, and to understand how those mechanisms break down over time.  The NIH grant will support the research of several undergraduates and graduate students in the lab.​

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April 27, 2015
Institute for Great Lakes Research scientists developing prioritization tool for governmental use
Central Michigan University's Institute for Great Lakes Research is helping the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration identify and restore Great Lakes coastal wetlands and, in the process, make them more resilient to a changing climate.​
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April 19, 2015
Dr. Dave Zanatta Talks Molluscs on the Progressive Radio Network
Dave Zanatta is a malacologist, or one who studies molluscs. He is also a molecular ecologist and a conservation geneticist. He is a associate professor at Central Michigan University. Today we talk about molluscs., who are especially endangered.
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April 15, 2015
Great Lakes Research exhibit showcases university reserach
Faculty in the Institute for Great Lakes Research displayed their work to the public for the first time Wednesday in Rowe Hall's Museum of Cultural and Natural History.
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April 15, 2015
Donald Uzarski appointed to Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research
Institute for Great Lakes Research, Biological Station director adds wetland ecology expertise

Donald Uzarski, director of Central Michigan University's Institute for Great Lakes Research and the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island, has been appointed to the management council of the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research.
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​April 14, 2015
CMU receives $415,199 National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded Central Michigan University a Major Research Instrumentation Grant in the amount of $415,199 for the acquisition of a Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorter (FACS) along with the hiring of a technician to run and maintain the instrument for a period of 3 years.

A FACS has become a standard research instrument used by biologists studying life at the cellular level.

"Having access to a FACS will fulfill a basic and growing research need on campus," said Dr. Cynthia Damer, professor and Department of Biology Assistant Chair.  "A FACS will improve the research and training capabilities of our faculty." 

Flow cytometry is a powerful technique that can measure multiple physical characteristics of single particles, commonly cells, as they flow in a fluid stream one cell at a time past a point of measurement.

Thousands of cells per second are passed through one or more laser beams and the light that is emitted or scattered from the cell is detected and recorded.  The system converts the detected light signals into electronic signals that are processed by a computer software program.

Particle or cell properties that can be measured include number, size, shape, and fluorescence intensity.  The new fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) will allow for the sorting of these particles in separate tubes based on the size and fluorescence intensity of the particles.

While housed in the Biology Department, the FACS is being used for multidisciplinary research and teaching.  Faculty from four departments (Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Medicine) distributed among three colleges (Science and Technology, Humanities and Social and Behavior Sciences, and Medicine) are using the FACS to research cell biology, earth and ecosystem sciences, and biomedical sciences.

A few examples include; Dr. Hunter Carrick (Institute for Great Lakes Research and Department of Biology) who is using the FACS to evaluate the plankton biodiversity in the Great Lakes and Dr.'s Gary Dunbar and Julien Rossignol (College of Humanities & Social & Behavioral Sciences) who are using the FACS to isolate and purify induced pluriopotent stem cells for therapeutic treatment of central nervous system disease and injury.

"The FACS will allow our faculty to use new approaches to investigate research problems and will allow many of our faculty to replace the use of laborious fluorescence microscopy approaches with a more efficient and precise way to measure the fluorescence properties of thousands of cells in minutes."

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April 9, 2015
CMU will be well represented this Saturday at the Michigan C. elegans Meeting at the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids. 

Each year the Michigan C. elegans Meeting brings scientists from throughout the Midwest together to share the latest in Caenorhabditis elegans research, from cancer and epigenetics research to aging and neurodegenerative disease.

Graduate and undergraduate students from both Dr. Xantha Karp's and Dr. Jennifer Schisa's labs will be presenting talks and research posters at the 3rd annual event.

From Dr. Schisa's lab:

  • Michael Davis, MS student, will present a talk: Glucose-induced RNP remodeling in the C. elegans germ line.
  • Students from Dr. Schisa's lab presenting research posters:
    • Megan Karrick, MS student
    • Alicia Trombley, MS student
    • Dustin Haskell, MS student
    • Andrea Montalbano, undergraduate
From Dr. Karp's lab:

  • ​Isaac Smith, Undergraduate, will present a talk: DAF-16 regulates hypodermal cell fate in dauer larvae.
  • Students from Dr. Karp's lab presenting research posters:
    • Eric Montoye, MS student
    • Liberta Nika, MS student
    • Stephen Domingue, undergraduate
    • Jacob Bourgeois, undergraduate
    • Taylor Gibson, undergraduate
    • Rebecca Konkus, undergraduate
    • Kyal Lalk, undergraduate
    • Ben Prout, undergraduate (graduated in December)
    • Brittany Lardie, undergraduate (graduated in December)
 
Also at this weekend's meeting will be CMU alum, Megan Senchuk.  Megan spent her undergraduate years in Dr. Schisa's lab at CMU.  She later went on to earn her Ph.D. from Harvard, and is now a lab manager/researcher at the Van Andel Research Institute.

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April 8, 2015
CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research featured in Michigan Blue Economy Report
New report details growing water-based economy, includes recommendations for action.

Central Michigan University's Institute for Great Lakes Research is featured in a new report documenting Michigan's Blue Economy. ​​

IGLR director Donald Uzarski and IGLR research scientist Matthew Cooper helped contribute to the report, which is designed to spur strategic actions to expand and grow the state's already impressive Blue Economy and help Michigan to become the world's freshwater and water innovation capital.

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April 3, 2015
Working together to save the Great Lakes
At yesterday's 2nd annual Great Lakes Science in Action Symposium Senator Debbie Stabenow, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force and author of the Defending our Great Lakes Act, said CMU's Great Lakes research is urgent and necessary for protecting water quality around the Great Lakes and that invasive species are a real and immediate threat to Michigan's economy.  

If you were unable to attend, you can view​ the symposium here

      Additional Great Lakes Science in Action news:
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April 3, 2015
CMU Well Represented at the 2015 joint meeting of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee

Dr. Daelyn Woolnough, CMU Biology Professor and Institute for Great Lakes Research Scientist, and CMU graduate students Trevor Hewitt, Shaughn Barnett, Amanda Chambers, and Jordan Hoffmann, recently presented their research at this year's event among some familiar faces.


Joining them at this years joint meeting were:
  • ​Matt Rowe, CMU Alumnus now on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Traci Geifer, CMU Alumnus now working at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Erin Bertram, CMU Alumnus, currently pursuing an advanced degree at the University of Texas, Tyler
  • Dr. Teresa Newton, CMU Alumnus now working at the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center as a Fishery Biologist and Current President of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society
Also at this year's meeting was Kandis Cazenave, undergraduate from Mississippi State who spent last summer as a Research Experience for Undergraduates student at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island.  Her poster,  "Environmental drivers of shell shape in a freshwater gastropod from inland lakes and coastal Lake Michigan" (co-authored by Dr. David Zanatta, CMU Biology Professor and Institute for Great Lakes Research Scientist), won Honorable Mention; normally a distinction given to graduate level research.

"CMU is a continual leader in malacology (the study of mollusks)," said Dr. Woolnough. "We were recognized throughout the conference for our leadership in this field."

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February 25, 2015
Dr. Gorsich and students to present and Genetics Conference

Dr. Steve Gorsich, and three CMU students, Michelle Steidemann (graduate), Alyssa Litwiller (undergraduate), and Megan Postema (undergraduate), will be presenting their research, "Oxidative stress and RNP granules in spore survival” at the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference in Pacific Grove, CA on March 18th.

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February 20, 2015

Dr. Carrick and his students investigate how invasive species impacts Lake Michigan food web.

Dr. Hunter Carrick and his students are working as part of the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative in Lake Michigan.  This program involves the cooperation of universities, state, provincial and federal agencies including the USGS, NOAA, the EPA, and Environment Canada.  Dr. Carrick and his students work focuses on how the invasion of quagga and zebra muscles has impacted the lower food web of Lake Michigan over the last 25 years.

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February 20, 2015

Dr. Wiline Pangle receives collaboration grant

Dr. Wiline Pangle, in collaboration with Drs. Batzner (School of Music), Kendall (Barston Artist in Residence), and Trommer-Beardslee (Department of Communication and Dramatic Arts), received an Innovation, Collaboration and Engagement (ICE) grant for their cross-disciplinary collaboration called "Movements for the new proscenium".  The collaboration involves music, dance, design, biology, and technology, and will culminate in a biology-inspired dance performance on May 3rd in the Kiva space on Central Michigan University's campus.

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February 6, 2015​

Dr. Phil Hertzler to present at Aquaculture America in New Orleans

Dr. Phil Hertzler, Professor of Biology at Central Michigan University, will present "Developmental expression of shrimp germ line and mesoderm genes found by transcriptome analysis of embryos"  at Aquaculture America 2015 in New Orleans February 19-23.​

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February 6, 2015
Dr. Brad Swanson invited to genetic symposium 

CMU Biology professor, Dr. Brad Swanson,  was one of 30 participants invited to a symposium on the genetics of black-footed ferrets in Fort Collins, CO 1/19-1/20.  The black-footed ferret was, during the 1980s, the rarest mammal on the planet with only about 10 known individuals.  Since then the captive breeding program has resulted in their reintroduction at multiple sites across North America (Canada, the USA, and Mexico).  The symposium examined what has been done in the past and what should be incorporated into the species survival plan for the future with respect to genetics.  Dr. Swanson’s lab is the repository for the genetic samples from the Conata Basin, SD reintroduction site. 

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​​
​Anna Monfils

CMU plays part in NSF grant to further digitize biodiversity collections

In a nation wide effort to digitize biodiversity collections, The National Science Foundation has awarded 6 new grants in the NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections Program totaling roughly $7.5 million. This 4th round of grants brings the number of participating institutions to 200, in all 50 states.

A vast amount of information about biodiversity exists in drawers and on shelves in museum collections, making access to that information difficult.  "These collections have immense scientific value," said Dr. Anna Monfils, Director of the CMU Herbarium and Associate Professor of Biology at Central Michigan University. 

"Herbarium collections have been used to document how invasive genotype have invaded the U.S., how climate change and increased carbon dioxide can be linked to changes in plant morphology as it relates to gas exchange, and the impacts of hurricane Katrina and the recent oil spill in the gulf. We can get DNA off these specimens. Specimens collected years ago are being studied and new species are being discovered in the archives."  

The NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections Program address the need for greater accessibility to this data by making it available online.  The data generated will be publicly available through iDigBio's specimen portal, which already contains over 20 million specimen records.  

Central Michigan University will be "providing high resolution images, geo-referenced locations and specimen data for identified aquatic invasive species found in our Herbarium collection," Monfils said.  

In addition, Dr. Monfils will compile the Aquatic Invasive Species specimen data from 9 different Michigan institutions and provide that to the larger collaborative effort as well as work with Symbiota, a library of web tools built to aid biologists, taxonomists, and environmental educators, to develop a Great Lakes portal to the data. 

"This effort is designed to integrate data sources so we can examine Aquatic Invasive Species through time and space," Monfils said. 

The research done with this funding will make available information that is inaccessible to most scientists, policymakers, and educators. Certain specimens, some dating back to the 1600's, are stored across the country in drawers and on shelves. Because of this the existence of many specimens goes largely unknown and gaining access to them is difficult. A comprehensive cataloged digital collection will allow instant access to information that scientists might have never known was there.  ​

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Philip Hertzler

Shrimp in detail: Hertzler secures funding for applied research

Philip Hertzler had the embryonic development of shrimp down to a science.

Now CMU's shrimp embryology expert has the funding and equipment he needs to examine shrimp development at a microscopic scale, allowing him to observe germ cells as they develop into sperm or eggs.

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization - one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world - has awarded Hertzler an AU $450,000 grant over three years. Hertzler also has access to the college's new laser scanning confocal microscope, which is paired with a high-tech computer and provides better imaging precision.

"We don't know where these cells are located in the embryos," says Hertzler, who is involving some of his students in the research that will greatly enhance the shrimp farming industry. "The main goal of the research is to identify how the germ cells form in the shrimp. If we know how the germ cells form, we can prevent them from forming."

The grant marks the first time CSIRO has awarded projects to groups outside of Australia. Hertzler's project - "Novel biotechnologies for prawn fertility control" - is part of a larger project titled "Sex ratio and sterility for commercial animal production," a collaboration among the University of Queensland, University of Newcastle, Simon Fraser University (Canada), CMU and CSIRO partners.

The shrimp industry, according to Hertzler, is looking to maximize its economic potential, just as the beef, pork and chicken industries have used traditional breeding methods to improve the quality and production of their animals.

Hertzler and his students are isolating genes from shrimp that are known to be involved in germ cell specification in other animals. Identifying how germ cells form can assist in developing sterile shrimp. Since sterile shrimp develop as females, which grow larger than males, this project has great implications for shrimp aquaculture.

"This makes a huge economic impact. The shrimp farming industry is focused on the selective breeding of shrimp," Hertzler says. "The key to protecting this intellectual property is to ensure the shrimp can't reproduce. This prevents them from interbreeding with wild shrimp populations so that shrimp farmers continue to return to the suppliers for genetically improved stock."

Shrimp consistently rank No. 1 in the National Fisheries Institute's "Top Ten" of seafood consumed each year - ahead of canned tuna, salmon, Alaska pollock and tilapia. In 2009 shrimp accounted for more than 25 percent of the nearly 16 pounds of seafood Americans ate per capita.​​​​

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