Fall 2023 eNewsletter

Fall Announcements


Accepting proposals: 2024 CIGLR Programs

CIGLR is accepting proposals from Regional Consortium members for a suite of programs that aim to build collaborative partnerships through career development opportunities, visionary science, and impactful outreach. Please visit the full program announcements for descriptions, eligibility, and application information. Contact CIGLR Managing Director Mary Ogdahl (ogdahlm@umich.edu) with questions.

Honoring Mike Fraker by Supporting Future Scientists

A memorial fund honoring Michigan Sea Grant Research Program Manager and University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) researcher (and former CIGLR Assistant Research Scientist), Michael Fraker, PhD, will support his passion for student research and engagement by expanding student opportunities such as undergraduate internships, graduate student research fellowships, and more. Please consider joining us in honoring Mike’s passion by contributing to the Michael Fraker Student Research Memorial Fund.

CIGLR Welcomes New Assistant and Associate Research Scientists

Abby Hutson, PhD, joins CIGLR as an Assistant Research Scientist after two years as a CIGLR Postdoctoral Research Fellow collaborating with Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome, PhD, and the climate modeling team at NOAA GLERL to improve the simulation of precipitation within the Great Lakes region and advance our understanding of its potential impact in a changing climate. 

“I am thrilled to continue working with the strong group of interdisciplinary researchers at CIGLR!” said Hutson. “As an atmospheric scientist, it is rare to be able to work so closely with hydrologists, lake modelers, ecologists, and social scientists. I am excited to contribute to CIGLR’s goal of conducting comprehensive research within the Great Lakes through atmospheric modeling, and look forward to strengthening the meteorology research community within the region.”

Prior to working with CIGLR, Hutson studied storm-scale dynamics within supercell thunderstorms, using both observations and numerical modeling to identify outflow characteristics associated with tornado formation.

“I began my research journey studying small-scale storm dynamics in the Great Plains – a vastly different topic than what I am doing now,” said Hutson. “But, having grown up within the Great Lakes region, and learning about the pressing need for an increased understanding of how Great Lakes weather will evolve in our changing climate, I grew attached to the research!”

Hutson will be working on multiple aspects of weather and climate in the Great Lakes, including providing downscaled future climate model data tuned for the Great Lakes region, improving the understanding of how lake-effect snow is simulated in operational models, and analyzing trends in large-scale storm activity and how it may contribute to the Great Lakes hydroclimate.

“I am eager to model the Great Lakes weather and climate for projected future scenarios,” said Hutson. “The atmosphere plays a significant role in the lake dynamics (and vice versa), hydrology, and even biology of the Great Lakes. Although we may never know exactly how our environment will change in the future, it is our goal to understand the range of possibilities in which our climate will evolve. This, in turn, will allow us to prepare for the range of evolution we will see in important aspects of the Great Lakes system, like lake levels, ice cover, flooding, and harmful algal blooms.”

Dani Jones, PhD, joins CIGLR as an Associate Research Scientist after a decade with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), where they specialized as a physical oceanographer on the Polar Oceans Team.

During their tenure at BAS, Jones developed research programs in ocean adjoint modeling and machine learning. Reflecting on this experience, Jones shared, “I’m a big fan of tools, such as adjoint models and unsupervised clustering algorithms, that can point you towards new hypotheses and new ideas for further exploration.”

“I am honored to join CIGLR – it is a truly special institute for many reasons, including its fantastic people and its integration across the university, NOAA GLERL, and the wider Regional Consortium.”

Jones is establishing CIGLR’s new Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, leveraging the institute’s extensive observing assets, datasets, modeling capacity, interdisciplinary expertise, and numerous partnerships. “Ultimately, we are hoping to harness these techniques to address environmental challenges and hazards facing the Great Lakes and the communities they support.”

CIGLR Welcomes New Members to Our Team.

Aubrey Arnt is a Research Engagement Specialist working with Riley Ravary, PhD (CIGLR) and Megan DiCocco (CIGLR) to facilitate the co-design of research to produce socially useful research products.

John McClure is a Research Engagement Specialist working with Riley Ravary, PhD (CIGLR) and Megan DiCocco (CIGLR) to facilitate the co-design of research to produce socially useful research products.

Kyla Semmendinger-Raney, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Yi Hong, PhD (CIGLR) and Lauren Fry, PhD (NOAA GLERL) to advance decision support tools for Lake Ontario outflow regulation using advanced many-objective optimization approaches. 

Lucas Vanderbilt is an Environmental Genomics Specialist working with S. Rao Chaganti, PhD (CIGLR) and the harmful algal bloom (HAB) research team to manage the genomic parameters for western Lake Erie and Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron.

Jamie Ward, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working with Yi Hong, PhD (CIGLR), Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome, PhD (CIGLR), and Lauren Fry, PhD (NOAA GLERL) to understand how atmospheric influences on Great Lakes water supply can be used to improve future water level forecasting.

7th Annual Photo Contest Winners

With an unwavering passion for water, the Great Lakes, and science, photographers from CIGLR seek to tell their stories through the lens. For the sixth year in a row, the CIGLR Photo Contest entries feature images that inform, inspire, and amaze. The artful stories that emerge offer shared experiences and adventure through our Great Lakes research. Learn more about CIGLR through our photographs on our Flickr website.

Category: CIGLR at Work, 1st place; Caption: Laurentian Distant Rain; Photo Credit: Paris Schofield

Category: CIGLR Scenery, 1st place; Caption: Isle Royale Sunset; Photo Credit: Mike Shriberg

Disturbance Ecology: Effects on Great Lakes Harmful Algal Blooms and Phycology, A CIGLR Summit

The Ohio State University Stone Lab hosted the September 2023 CIGLR Summit focused on cyanobacterial blooms. Harmful algal bloom experts from the U.S. and Canada discussed the latest ideas of why so many lakes are now experiencing blooms. Photo Credit: OSU Stone Lab.

From September 27-28, 2023, a team of experts led by scientists from Ohio State University, Environment Climate Change Canada, United States Geological Survey, Essex Region Conservation Authority, Great Lakes Commission, and NOAA GLERL convened to discuss potential management strategies of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) in the complex Laurentian Great Lakes system. The group also addressed the existing research and knowledge gaps in understanding how Great Lakes algal communities respond to changing environmental conditions. Many aquatic ecosystems that are experiencing increasing cyanobacterial dominance and associated cHAB events are not warm, eutrophic, or otherwise impacted in an absolute sense. However, many are undergoing rapid change as a result of climate change, watershed modifications, and non-indigenous species.

To ensure varied perspectives and contributions to the summit, specialists from the fields of phycology, limnology, molecular biology, microbiology, numerical ecology (modeling), and resource management were invited to assess interactions between Great Lakes algal communities and cHABs. The group is preparing a review paper of the summit outcomes for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The paper will include a critical review of proposed cHAB drivers in lake systems, gaps in data and research, and recommended research priorities to provide a path towards improved management of cHABs on short and long time scales. The summit also established a framework for facilitating collaboration and coordination among Laurentian Great Lakes cHAB researchers interested in examining effects of multiple stressors on phytoplankton communities. For more on the summit and associated products, please visit the summit webpage.