Our laboratory carries out active research on zooplankton ecology and evolutionary biology. Studies focus on zooplankton behavior, life cycles, evolution and ecological relationships. Recent projects funded by NSF/NOAA Coastal Oceans Cooperative Program, NSF Biocomplexity Program, NOAA National Undersea Research Program, NOAA Sea Grant Program, and EPA. Work has been done in Great Lakes (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan) and in small, inland lakes (Sparkling Lake, NSF LTER site; Portage Lake, MI).
In the laboratory, we are developing experimental approaches to paleoecology. These procedures involve removing resting stages from sediment cores for laboratory genetic studies and evaluation of ecological characteristics (competitive ability, preditor-prey interaction). In addition, we use sediment cores to determine the long-term development of regional planktonic communities.
In the field we conduct experimental chamber studies to examine coupling between ground water and lakes, checking seepage, delivery of limiting nutrients and impacts of stoichiometry on benthic and planktonic organisms. In the KITES projects, we examine metapopulation dynamics of coastal zooplankton. We also study the transport and fate of copper/mercury delivered by mining activities to Lake Superior.
Keweenaw Interdisciplinary Transport Experiment in Superior
KITES is a five year program developed to investigate the Keweenaw current in Lake Superior. A portion of this project involves how the Keweenaw current transports individuals and resting eggs around the lake, creating a "coastal corridor". Details include genetic characterization of resting egg "seed banks", hatching of eggs, cloning, sequencing, and testing how ancestral individuals differ from present-day populations.
Episodic Events- Great Lakes
The EEGLE project addresses the impact of Episodic Events on the transport of biological, chemical and geological materials in the Great Lakes. We examine sediment transport and how different zooplankton populations develop in nearshore and offshore water. In addition, we investigate how episodic events (large storms) purge seed banks and maintain genetic diversity.