Peter Alsip

Ecological Modeling Data Analyst

UM SEAS CIGLR
4840 South State Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108-9719

734-741-2259
peterals@umich.edu

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I work with scientists at CIGLR and NOAA GLERL in the development and application of spatially-explicit biophysical models of the Great Lakes. My current work focuses on applying this type of model in Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie to study aspects of lower trophic level dynamics such as sediment transport, tributary nutrient loading and transport, and other factors affecting spatial patterns in primary productivity. In the past, I have worked on several CIGLR modeling initiatives including my Master’s thesis in which I used a three-dimensional biophysical model and a fish growth model to evaluate Lake Michigan’s suitability for invasive Bighead and Silver Carp under various scenarios that considered the effects of climate change, variable nutrient loading, and dreissenid mussel filtration.

Education:
  • M.S. Conservation Ecology, University of Michigan School for Natural Resources and the Environment, 2018
  • B.S. Biology, Wisconsin Lutheran College, 2015
Research Interest/Area of Expertise:
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Fish Bioenergetics
Publications:

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M.D., Rutherford, E., Mason, D.M., Riseng, C., and Su, Z. 2020. Modeling the interactive effects of nutrient loads, meteorology, and invasive mussels on suitable habitat for Bighead and Silver Carp in Lake Michigan. Biological Invasions. (DOI:10.1007/s10530-020-02296-4). [Altmetric Score]

Robinson, K.F., P.J. Alsip, A.R. Drake et al. 2020. Reviewing uncertainty in bioenergetics and food web models to project invasion impacts: Four major Chinese carps in the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research. (DOI:10.1016/j.jglr.2020.11.003). [Altmetric Score]

Hartig, J.H., G. Krantzberg and P. Alsip. 2020. Thirty-five years of restoring Great Lakes Areas of Concern: Gradual progress, hopeful future. Journal of Great Lakes Research. (DOI:10.1016/j.jglr.2020.04.004). [Altmetric Score]

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M., Rutherford, E., Mason, D., Riseng, C., and Su, Z. 2019.Lake Michigan’s Suitability for Bigheaded Carp: The Importance of Diet Flexibility and Subsurface Habitat. (DOI:10.1111/fwb.13382). [Altmetric Score]

Presentations:

Alsip, P., Rowe, M. 2020 (Oral) A Biophysical Forecast System to Support Lake Michigan Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative 2020. NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory’s Internal Lunch ‘n Learn Series. Ann Arbor, MI. September 2020.

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M., Rutherford, E., Mason, D., Riseng, C., and Su, Z., 2020 (Oral). Modeling the effects of mussels, climate, and nutrient loads on Lake Michigan’s suitability for bigheaded carps. International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 63rd Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research. Virtual conference due to COVID-19. June 8-12.

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M., Rutherford, E., Mason, D., Riseng, C., and Su, Z., 2018 (Oral). Modeling Lake Michigan’s Suitability for Bigheaded Carp. Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) Fall Meeting. Toledo, OH. September 11-12.

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M., Rutherford, E., Mason, D., Riseng, C., and Su, Z., 2018 (Oral). Habitat Suitability Assessment for Bigheaded Carp using 3D Water Quality Data from Lake Michigan. International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 61st Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research. Toronto, ONT. June 18-22.

Alsip, P., Voglesong Zejnati, A., Knauss, C., Lisuk, J., and Seelbach, P., 2018 (Poster). Evaluating Organizational Process: A Conversation Framework for Exploring Stakeholder Advisory Group Operations. Great Lakes Areas of Concern Conference. Sheboygan, WI. May 16-17.

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M., Rutherford, E., Mason, D., Riseng, C., and Su, Z., 2018 (Poster). Modeling Bioenergetic Habitat Suitability of Invasive Bigheaded Carp in Lake Michigan. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, February 12-16.

Alsip, P., Zhang, H., Rowe, M., Rutherford, E., Mason, D., Riseng, C., and Su, Z., 2017 (Oral). Habitat Suitability Assessment for Asian Carp using 3D Water Quality Data from Lake Michigan. International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) State of Lake Michigan Conference. Green Bay, WI. November 6-9.

Alsip, P., Rice, N., Lott, S., Sturtevant, R.A., Martinez, F., and Rutherford, E., 2017 (Poster). The Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System Watchlist. International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 60th annual conference on Great Lakes Research. Detroit, MI. May 15-19.

In the News:

Video Library

Invasive species are perhaps the greatest stressor currently facing the Great Lakes aquatic ecosystem. Some of them, like the Asian carps, have been identified as potential invasive species. Asian carp are highly abundant in the Illinois River and have been captured 47 miles away from Lake Michigan. They threaten to invade the Great Lakes and disrupt aquatic food webs and fisheries through their voracious consumption of large volumes of plankton. CIGLR has produced models for Lake Erie that show if Asian carps were to invade, they would dominate the fish community and seriously devalue the vital recreational and commercial fisheries present there. Currently, Dr. Hongyan Zhang, Peter Alsip (University of Michigan graduate student) and colleagues are working to develop similar ecosystem models to assess the Asian carp threat in the other Great Lakes and their embayments.

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Asian carp are capable of surviving and growing in much larger portions of Lake Michigan than scientists previously believed and present a high risk of becoming established, according to a new modeling study from University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues. When diet flexibility and subsurface habitat were factored in, the amount of suitable Asian carp habitat in Lake Michigan increased dramatically, according to study lead author Peter Alsip, who conducted the research for his master’s thesis at U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability. “Subsurface habitat and the fishes’ diet flexibility were not evaluated in previous studies, and our findings indicate that these considerations had a noticeable effect on our suitability assessment,” Alsip said. “Lake Michigan’s low supply of plankton may not be as strong a barrier as previously thought.”