On January 18 the University of Michigan Water Center Announced 15 projects it would fund “in response of our call to advance water research capabilities at the University of Michigan.” Five of these projects are based in full or in part at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). They are:

• Andrew Ault and Kerri Pratt, “Construction of a Mobile Laboratory for Rapid Deployment of Advanced Instrumentation for Detection of Lake Spray Aerosol

• Paul Drevnick, “Ion Chromatography System

• Valeriy Ivanov, “Advancing Ecohydrologic Research at the U of M

• Luke Nave, “Developing Watershed Research at the UM Biological Station

• Chris Poulsen, “Hydrological Cycling and Variability in Terrestrial Environments

Most of the grants facilitate continuation of previous research at the station. For example, Ault (Environmental Health Sciences) and Pratt (Chemistry) requested funds to develop a mobile laboratory for field sampling of atmospheric aerosols produced from wave-breaking on the Great Lakes. They initially explored this topic during a summer 2014 project using the station’s PROPHET (Program for Research on Oxidants: Photochemistry, Emissions and Transport) tower. This next stage is focused on studying the effects of aerosol generated from harmful algal blooms. The mobile laboratory will provide the ability to assess the contributions of lake spray aerosol emissions at various coastal and inland locations around the Great Lakes.

Likewise, Poulsen (Earth and Environmental Sciences) has used experiments at the Biological Station and elsewhere to document the usefulness of using stable isotope measurements to study water behavior – mixing, evaporation, condensation, etc. – at the land-water boundary. His Water Center grant will pay for equipment to increase the accuracy and speed of isotope analyses. He will use the equipment in future boundary-layer hydrology studies.

UMBS research scientist Paul Drevnick and Luke Nave both had equipment purchase grant requests funded. Drevnick will purchase an ion chromatograph to augment existing equipment at UMBS and in the UM Chemistry department. The new chromatograph will be faster, easier to automate, can perform more types of analyses and will generate far less chemical waste than existing chromatographs. “It will allow us to easily measure anions and cations in water to support teaching and research programs at UMBS,” Drevnick notes.

Nave’s grant will fund the purchase of sensors for measuring water levels in the Honeysuckle Creek watershed. Nave and Drevnick only recently began developing the watershed – located west of Burt Lake on the southern end of UMBS property – as a study site. It will be used “to understand hydrologic, biogeochemical and trophic processes operating across terrestrial-aquatic interfaces, with particular focus on the cycling and hydrologic transport of organic matter and mercury through soils, sediments, stream, ground, and lake water.”

The Water Center is part of the Graham Sustainability Institute. It supports Great Lakes restoration and protection through professional development, education and research funding, and synthesizing and sharing information.