Spring 2021 eNewsletter

Spring Announcements


CIGLR Completes Program Review, April 12-14, 2021

The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) is hosted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CIGLR’s 5-year, $30 million cooperative agreement was awarded by NOAA on May 16, 2017 to form a research institute focused on sustainable management of the Great Lakes. Since that time, researchers from CIGLR, the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), nine universities across the Great Lakes region, as well as multiple nongovernmental organizations and private businesses have worked together to study the most pressing issues in the Great Lakes, including weather and climate, invasive species, harmful algal blooms, and protection of ecosystem services.

To maintain a long-term collaborative partnership with a Cooperative Institute beyond its initial five-year award period, an extensive review must be completed by a NOAA Science Advisory Board during the 4th year of the award. Based on the results of the review, NOAA may choose to issue a new noncompetitive award to CIGLR for an additional five years beyond the initial 5 year award. CIGLR’s 4th year review took place virtually and was conducted in two parts: a science review and an administrative review. The science review (April 12-13, 2021) evaluated the quality of CIGLR’s research and consisted of presentations from CIGLR research scientists and consortium partners that highlighted successful, ongoing research projects and thriving collaborations between CIGLR and NOAA GLERL researchers. Presentations highlighted CIGLR’s research focused on Great Lakes harmful algal blooms (HABs), hypoxia, climate and weather modeling, observing systems, hydrodynamic and ecosystem modeling, invasive species, human dimensions, and stakeholder engagement. The science review chair was Dr. Michael Donahue, Vice President and Director of National Coastal and Ecosystem Restoration Practice with AECOM.

The administrative review (April 14, 2021) examined the procedures associated with grants management at CIGLR and the University of Michigan. The panel evaluated CIGLR’s accomplishments since the last review, and reviewed processes and procedures for both pre- and post-award compliance of grant policies. The administrative review chair was Deborah Lee, Director of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL).

CIGLR Master’s Students Win Outstanding Student Conference Poster from the American Meteorological Society!

This poster (click to enlarge) was presented by master’s students Danielle Cohn, Inigo Peng, and Miye Nakashima from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability at the 2021 American Meteorological Society (AMS) 20th annual student conference. The students were awarded Outstanding Student Conference Poster for their poster on their master’s project research with the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR).

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) celebrated its 20th annual student conference in January, 2021. The AMS is the premier scientific and professional organization in the United States promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. Each year, hundreds of graduate students attend this meeting to share their novel research with the AMS community.

This year, master’s students Danielle Cohn, Inigo Peng, and Miye Nakashima from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability were awarded the prestigious Outstanding Student Conference Poster from AMS. Their master’s project research with the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) on Great Lakes Ice Cover: Extending Data Record Back to the 1890s, Identification of Key Teleconnection Patterns was recognized as one of the top graduate student research projects at the conference. The students are mentored by Drs. Ayumi Fujisaki-Manome (CIGLR), Philip Chu (NOAA GLERL), and Yuchun (Yoyo) Lin (CIGLR). Congratulations to the entire team!

Dr. Casey Godwin Receives Research Faculty Recognition Award!

Congratulations to CIGLR Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Casey Godwin on receiving the 2021 University of Michigan Research Faculty Recognition Award. The University of Michigan Office of Research established this award to recognize members of the Research Faculty for significant scholarly contributions to their field of study. Specifically, this honor recognizes the impact of Dr. Godwin’s research in applied biogeochemistry in the Great Lakes.

“This award is richly deserved and I am thrilled that the University of Michigan is able to recognize Casey’s excellence and significant research accomplishments,” shares CIGLR Acting Director, Dr. Thomas Johengen.

Thank you for the exceptional work you do every day for our Great Lakes and their communities! Congratulations, Casey!

Heidi Purcell (front) and students testing Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) field portable assays with the specific application of detecting HAB toxins in freshwater. Photo Credit: Thomas Johengen.

Research Institute Spotlight: Heidi Purcell
Detecting Harmful Algal Bloom Toxins in Freshwater

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a widely recognized plight in the Great Lakes region. Rapid detection of the presence and concentration of HAB toxins are vital for ensuring public safety and environmental health. Accurately and efficiently detecting and measuring HAB toxins requires specific, accurate, and time/cost efficient technologies. Standard methods for detecting and quantifying toxins such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LCMS) are highly accurate, but tend to be time, cost, and labor intensive. This creates a significant time lag between sampling and data generation, and limits the number of samples that are analyzed.

Recently, the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) evaluated prototype field portable assays for rapid detection of HAB toxins in freshwater. CIGLR’s Research Area Specialist Intermediate Engineer Heidi Purcell has been working on the ACT project for several years. “As Great Lakes Technical Coordinator for ACT, I helped evaluate these prototypes both in the field and in the lab,” says Heidi Purcell. “The manufacturer, MBio, has used the information from our evaluation to improve their design before making the 2nd generation field portable assay kits commercially available. Their kit detects both microcystin and cylindropermopsin from a water sample in approximately 30 minutes.”

“Currently, CIGLR Acting Director and Research Scientist Dr. Thomas Johengen and I are working with Bowling Green State University, MBio, University of Toledo, Ohio State University and LimnoTech to further evaluate the MBio Gen 2 field kit,” says Heidi. “Our team is incorporating these field sampling kits into existing HAB sampling programs on Lake Erie. Kits also will be made available for water treatment plant managers, beach managers, and citizen scientists.” Ultimately, the goal is to expand HAB toxin sampling in Lake Erie by fully validating the portable assay kit against data collected from established HAB research programs, and train resource managers and citizen scientists to use them properly.

The ACT evaluation reports are available at: https://www.act-us.info/evaluations.php