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* Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education
* Michigan Technological University Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Education


Research Vessel Lake Guardian provided by the Great Lakes National Program Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Group photo

Group Photo

RV Lake Guardian

About the RV Lake Guardian

See the whole Travelogue

Lake Superior route
Approximate areas traveled

Click on map at right to view larger map

The 180-foot research vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian is outfitted with state-of-the-art navigational, laboratory, and deck sampling equipment. Facilities supporting the ship’s primary mission in data collection include dedicated biology and chemistry laboratories that support monitoring of pollutant concentrations in the water, sediment, air, fish, and other flora and fauna. A galley, lounge, exercise space and 16 staterooms with bunks, desks, lockers, and computer LAN connections support the personal needs of crew, scientists and guests. To learn more about the ship, visit the website:

About the Course

The EPA's Lake Guardian research vessel returned on Saturday, July 15 to disembark sixteen undergraduate and graduate students, and middle/high school teachers who had the good fortune to participate in a week-long course aboard the ship from July 9-15. The one-week course was co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan Technological University.

Seven faculty and scientists from Michigan Technological University and the Upstate Freshwater Institute (Syracuse, NY) and the Stennis Space Center, Mississppi instructed the course. Topics addressed during the week include the Lake Superior food web, lake bottom sediments, toxic substances, fisheries, air quality, as well as, a demonstration of how Remotely-Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are used to learn about the Great Lakes.

The Lake Guardian is the research vessel used by the EPA to gather data concerning the chemical and biological conditions of the five Great Lakes, and to monitor pollutant concentrations. It is fitted with state-of-the-art navigational, laboratory and mechanical equipment. As part of its long-term trends program, the EPA conducts monitoring surveys of the Great Lakes every two years. The Lake Guardian has six laboratories and a variety of navigational and monitoring equipment used to gather data on the chemical and biological conditions of the five Great Lakes.

From Michigan Tech
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering:
Dr. Marty Auer, Lead Faculty
Dr. Noel Urban, Faculty
Dr. Judith Perlinger, Faculty
Mr. Sinan Abood, Instructor
Mr. Ziad Ahmed, Instructor
Mr. David Tobias, Researcher
Mr. Nick Ravenna

Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. Nancy Auer, Faculty

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Mr. Mark Gleason, Faculty

Department of Chemistry
Dr. Sarah Green, Faculty
Mr. Matt Seguin

Ms. Anita Quinn, Participant
Director, Research & Sponsored Programs, Michigan Tech

Dr. Alan Weidemann, Faculty
Naval Research Laboratory
Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

Mr. David O’Donnell, Researcher
Mr. Tony Prestigiacomo, Researcher
Upstate Freshwater Institute

Michigan Tech:
Kyle Bareither, Whitney Sauve, Carly Bock, Cory McDonald, Mark Rowe, Carl Schroeder, Lisa Tomlinson,

Teachers ( K-12) and students from other schools
Maxime Bridoux, SUNY – Dept. Environmental Chemistry, Albany, NY
Lisa Hoogenboom, Maine South HS, Buffalo Grove, IL
Robert Kaukola, ,GFW Middle School, Fairfax, MN
Ashley Parks, University of North Carolina
Sharon Heineman, Culver Academies HS, Culver, IN
Paul Rogalla, Indianola Middle School, Indianola, Iowa
Scott Graham Martin, American School of Japan
Ann Marie Miller, BS Water Science. NMU,
Marquette, MI


About the Institute

A team of faculty and scientists from Michigan Technological University (MTU) and U.S. EPA for went on a working cruise on Lake Superior in support of bi-national Great Lakes monitoring programs. Course participants attended lectures and labs led by MTU instructors, providing a comprehensive introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological features of Lake Superior and the ecosystem’s lower food web.

The course was designed for upper level undergraduates, graduate students, and science/math high school teachers. Participants engaged in the collection of research data, working alongside Michigan Tech and EPA scientists during the long days and nights characteristic of a scientific cruise. This unforgettable course provided a strong foundation in Great Lakes limnology as well as hands-on participation in Lake Superior research unavailable in traditional coursework.

The curriculum included lectures on limnological principles, demonstrations of sampling and analytical methods, case studies of current research, and group discussions. Cruise-long exposure to lower food web modeling was offered using EPA’s AQUATOX software. The modeling experience was intended to integrate field/laboratory observations with concepts critical to an understanding of lower food web dynamics. The class was divided into groups and rotated through laboratory, research and modeling modules to provide the best possible small group experience.

Course Credit
Participants earned 3 semester credit hours from Michigan Technological University. To receive credit, participants must complete pre-course readings, engage in all course activities and complete, by August 1st,:

• a cruise journal;
• an analysis of research data;
• a food web modeling exercise; and
• a contribution to the cruise web page
There will also be a final examination.

Professional Education
Credits earned from this course can be applied towards an 18 semester-hour planned course of study for teachers working toward their Michigan Professional Certificate or applied towards MTU’s Master of Science in Applied Science Education program. For more information, contact Dr. Bradley Baltensperger at 906-487-2460 or Participants enrolled in other degree program at Michigan Tech should inquire about the applicability of credits earned in this course. For more information: . Students from other institutions may inquire about credit transfer.


Western U.P. Center for Environmental Education Ecology of the Great Lakes
    Links to severa previous Great Lakes Ecology Institutes

State of the Lake (2003)
     A three-day conference entitled, Superior: State-of-the-Lake

Great Lakes and Lake Superior websites

US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office

RV Lake Guardian Website

RV Agassiz Research Vessel

Copyright © 2015
Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at Michigan Tech
Department E-mail:
Last Modified: July 20, 2015