University of Michigan Biological Station hosts public lectures, films
Carl Koehler of New York works on his research for the University of Idaho on a picnic table at the University of Michigan Biological Station campus in Pellston. He has been conducting research in Pellston since May on nitrogen deposition. (Aebra Coe/Saturday)
"People really like learning what's going on here at UMBS and hearing about the research we do," said Karie Slavik, associate director at the biological station.
Lectures are at 7:30 p.m. in the Marian P. and David M. Gates Lecture Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. All-camp lectures address broad topics and are aimed at a general audience. Research seminars focus on detailed questions, methods and results.
Every Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Gates Lecture Hall a screening of a different environmental film will also be presented for free to the public.
"It's really great when community members come and interact with the speaker and ask questions about these topics impacting their own lives," said Slavik.
Lectures already presented this summer that were directly applicable to residents of Northern Michigan include a feature on solar panel installation and another on wolf populations in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.
"I think it can help people who live here to understand their natural environment better," explained Slavik.
She said the biological station researchers and students are out in the field all over the region studying elements of the natural world that directly impact those who live here. She said these researchers understand the issues that affect the environment in Northern Michigan.
Two of the seven lectures in the series are outside guest speakers funded by endowments for that purpose. The other five are researchers within the biological station who are working on studies there.
The next lecture, on Tuesday, July 26, is endowed. Speaker Cayelan C. Carey is a Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation graduate research fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. Carey's research focuses on the interactions between eutrophication -- an increase in the supply rate of organic matter in an ecosystem -- nutrients and plankton communities in lake ecosystems.
Aquatic cyanobacteria are a type of phytoplankton commonly found in most freshwater and marine ecosystems that can occasionally create visible surface scums, known as blooms.
Cyanobacterial blooms are generally thought to have strong negative effects on food webs because of their toxins, poor food quality for zooplankton grazers, and post-bloom anoxia. Because the prevalence and duration of cyanobacterial blooms are increasing globally, Carey has conducted several field and laboratory experiments testing the effects of cyanobacteria in lakes in the northeastern U.S. and will present her findings at the station on July 26.
Some of the students and researchers at the station do presentations of their work on environmental sustainability to local organizations such as the Burt Lake Homeowners Association.
Slavik said, "The students really enjoy doing this because they feel like their work has a practical application and they can help others with their research."
The biological station property includes approximately 10,000 contiguous acres on and around Douglas Lake. All of it is open to the public and almost all of it is designated as a nature research area, with minimal disturbances allowed.
Because of the station's long history of education and research, the station has received special designations -- as a Biosphere Reserve from the United Nations Man and the Biosphere program, and as an Experimental Ecological Reserve from the National Science Foundation.
Outside the lecture hall, the biological station is installing a rain garden with the cooperation of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, which will be finished by the end of the summer. It is a way to manage water runoff so it doesn't get into freshwater sources and deposits it back into the ground to prevent erosion. Plants with deep root systems are employed to make this possible.
The biological station is located at 9133 Biological Road, Pellston.
For more information, contact the University of Michigan Biological Station at (231) 539-8408, May through August, or visit lsa.umich.edu/umbs.