News and Events

Wednesday, September 9 - Sunday September 13, 2015
  • 23rd North American Diatom Symposium
  • CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island
Dr. Hunter Carrick, professor of biology at CMU, will host 80 aquatic scientists from across North America and beyond at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island for the 23rd North American Diatom Symposium (NADS).

The September 9-13, 2015 event will consist of sessions and workshops including 70 professional presentations (7 of which will be presented by CMU students), poster presentations, and numerous interactive sessions on aquatic science.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network and socialize in a student friendly atmosphere, participate in a 3K run, go on local field collecting trips, even pick up diatom related valuables in a lively auction.

Diatoms are an algae with a distinctive, transparent cell wall.
  They are found in nearly every habitat where water is found and form part of the base of aquatic food webs.  They are widely used in environmental assessment and monitoring. 

The North American Diatom Symposium (NADS) is a biennial meeting held at field stations throughout the United States and Canada.
  The meeting was first held in 1970 at Cedar Creek in Minnesota. Since then the gathering has been hosted at field stations in Florida, Colorado, Manitoba, Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

NADS is an informal society, and all are welcome to attend.

Learn more about the North American Diatom Symposium at their website:

​Sign up for summer courses on Beaver Island

March 4, 2014 - Are you a student looking to get courses in over the summer? If so, consider taking some on Beaver Island - "America's Emerald Isle" - in northern Lake Michigan! Home to the CMU Biological Station, Beaver Island was recently named one of the best island getaways in the continental U.S. by CBS News. Click here to watch the video.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the classes being offered and sign up for your island adventure today! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact John Gordon, CMU Biological Station Manager at (989) 774-4400 or

Using fish ear bones to help protect coastal wetlands

September 30, 2013 - Don Uzarski, CMU professor of biology and director of CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research and the CMU Biological Station, and his research team are reading information stored in the ear bones (otoliths) of fish to track fish movements. 

The otoliths in fish grow daily in layers, similar to rings in a tree trunk. Biology graduate student Lee Schoen and Jim Student, director of the Center for Elemental and Isotopic Analysis in the CMU College of Science and Technology, are taking thin slices of the otoliths and running them through a laser-equipped mass spectrometer, which picks up trace elements that the ear bones integrate from surrounding water, enabling the researchers to track the fish's pattern of visits to particular coastal wetlands.

Uzarski says, "We're basically trying to find out exactly how important these coastal wetlands are to the overall energy base or food web of the entire Great Lakes ecosystem." 

Their research aims to provide the hard data necessary for better choices to be made about managing, restoring and protecting the Great Lakes basin's coastal wetlands. 

Learn more:

​CMU unveils new Great Lakes research vessel

June 21, 2013 - Central Michigan Photo of the MV Chippewa on the waterUniversity students and faculty are able to increase their scientific research on the Great Lakes thanks to the purchase of a 38-foot vessel by the CMU College of Science and Technology.

Don Uzarski, director of CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research, said students studying areas of science from ecology to botany will benefit from the utilization of the RV Chippewa.

"With respect to Great Lakes research, this was one of the last pieces of the puzzle to get us out into that open water of the lakes that we couldn't do before with smaller vessels," Uzarski said. "We're very strong in research in wetlands and in the nearshore region; now we're hoping to take it out to the offshore."

The vessel will help further the work of the Institute for Great Lakes Research, which recently received a $10 million federal grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct Great Lakes wetlands preservation research alongside a team from nine other universities and three government agencies.

"I have about 20 faculty who study various aspects of the Great Lakes with a goal of understanding the ecology of these vital ecosystems," said Ian Davison, dean of the CMU College of Science and Technology. "This vessel will enhance their capacity to provide the information that is needed to protect and preserve them."