Lake Superior Ecosystems Research Center
Director: W. Charles Kerfoot, PhD
Lake Superior Ecosystems Research Center (LaSER) is directed and
staffed by faculty in biological sciences, forestry, geology, and
environmental engineering. Participation is open to faculty interested
in interdisciplinary projects.
The center's research focuses on
basic ecosystem processes within the aquatic and terrestrial portions of the Lake
Superior watershed. The long-term goal is to understand the ecosystem and to predict
the ecological consequences of future change in the land, water, and atmosphere
of the Lake Superior basin.
Graduate activities at the center
include projects on exotic species (such as lamprey, spiney cladocerans, and zebra
mussels), work with remote-sensing data (gathered by earth-orbiting satellites),
submersible dives (using the Seward Johnson ship and the Johnson Sea Link submersible),
mining impacts on Lake Superior food webs, and Isle Royale ecosystems.
Tech's setting near the world's largest freshwater lake (Lake Superior)-and
the many nearby lakes, rivers, streams, and the extensive woodlands
that cover Michigan's Upper Peninsula-provides an exceptional array
of aquatic and terrestrial research sites. Field research is supported
by special equipment such as our thirty-foot, diesel-powered boat
(the R.V. Navicula) used for sampling on Lake Superior, and several
smaller boats for inland lakes and rivers. The "Lake Lab"
has sixty-four controlled-environment aquaria, a greenhouse, and
individual research laboratories. Chemical and other analyses of
environmental samples are supported by special facilities for work
with water and soil, in addition to individual analytical facilities
in faculty/graduate student research labs.