Three of the 15 Water Center grants awarded for 2016 by The Graham Sustainability Institute went to researchers in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Professors Vincent Denef and Tim James, and Luke Nave, assistant research scientist.

Projects were submitted in response to the Water Center’s call to advance water research capabilities at the University of Michigan during fall 2015. The Water Center designed a competition to identify activities and equipment purchases most likely to enhance U-M’s competitiveness in response to major calls for water research proposals. Each team will receive up to $20,000 to enhance water research capabilities on campus.

The Water Center received 22 applications from researchers across campus, with a total request of nearly $400,000. Selected projects support 15 faculty teams representing eight U-M academic units. “Projects selected for support were those believed to increase the likelihood that teams would receive future funding from a federal agency or other source," according to the Water Center.

Denef’s project is titled “The difference a species makes: how do quagga mussels change the benthic habitat microbiome?”

James’ project is “Building real-time quantitative PCR capabilities for the monitoring of harmful algal blooms and their parasites across the Great Lakes Region.”

Nave works at the U-M Biological Station with project collaborators Paul Drevnick, assistant research scientist with the School of Natural Resources and Environment and UMBS, and Professor Branko Kerkez, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Nave's project is called “Developing watershed research at the U-M Biological Station.” His faculty mentors are Professors Mark Hunter, George Kling and Knute Nadelhoffer.

Research results will be posted on the Water Center website summer 2016.