Professor, Biological Sciences
Director, Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center
Adjunct Professor, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
- PhD, University of Michigan
Dr. Kerfoot's laboratory specializes on the food web structure, ecology and paleoecology of lake communities.
Recent projects in the laboratory include: 1) studies of the exotic spiny waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus), a 3-year project ($300K) funded by the National Park Service; 2) developing a large ($7M) stamp sand restoration project in Grand (Big) Traverse Bay, Lake Superior; in collaboration with US Army Corps of Engineers; 3) continuing work on late winter blooms associated with ice loss in the Great Lakes and quagga mussel effects in Lake Michigan. The latter studies partly supported a PhD graduate student and include a chapter of his thesis. Publications included a recent paper in Limnology & Oceanography (on the "doughnut" winter bloom) and an award-winning (Chandler-Meisner Award) publication in Journal of Great Lakes Research on how quagga mussels are making the "doughnut" disappear.
Another long-term project, done in collaboration with Michigan Tech Research Institute and NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab is GLOS (the 5-year, $1M Great Lakes Observing System), which involves deploying a series of coastal buoys in Lake Superior to gather information on water temperatures, the frequency and intensity of storms associated with global climate change.
The proposed stamp sand restoration project includes corrective measures to mitigate stamp sands migrating along the coastal zone from a 22.7 M metric tonne tailings pile at Gay in Grand Traverse Bay. Our lab, in collaboration with MTRI and USACE Vicksburg colleagues, has received funding for 4 LiDAR over-flights of the bay, allowing unparalleled mapping of bottom topography and migrating sediments. In addition, we have discovered previously unnoticed buried river channel and canyon dating back to the Lake Superior low stand (Houghton Low; ca. 6,800 yrs ago). Publications include a recent one in Limnology and Oceanography and a forthcoming one ("in press") in the Journal of Great Lakes Research. A recently received NOAA Coastal Zone award (with Noel Urban, CEE) augments environmental research at the site.
The 3-year project on the spiny waterflea centered on determining the spread and foodweb effects on this exotic microcrustacean. We have worked to track the spread of Bythotrephes across the northern Great Lakes, as it is transferred from harbors and embayments into inland lakes. The Parks we covered included Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI), Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI), Isle Royale National Park (MI), Apostle Islands (WI), Grand Portage (MN) and Voyageurs (MN). We have identified how the species is spread by recreational fishing activities and have worked with the park service in implementing control measures. The research has supported 2 PhD students and 1 Ms student. The Ms student has just accepted a full-time ranger position at Voyageurs National Park. A paper on the subject was just published in the journal Biological Invasions and several more are in progress.
Links of Interest
- Aquatic Ecology
- Kerfoot, W.C., M.M. Hobmeier, F. Yousef. B. Moraska LaFrancois, R.P. Maki, J.K. Hirsch. 2016. A Plague of Waterfleas (Bythotrephes): Impacts on Microcrustacean Community Structure, Seasonal Biomass, and Secondary Production in a Large Inland-lake Complex. Biol. Invasions. 18: 1121-1145 doi: 10.1007/s10530-015-1050-9
- Kerfoot, W.C., N.R. Urban C.P. McDonald, R. Rossmann, H. Zhang 2016. Legacy mercury releases during copper mining near Lake Superior. J. Great Lakes Res. 42: 50-61 doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2015.10.007
- Kerfoot, W.C. and Savage, S.C. 2015. Multiple inducers in aquatic foodwebs: Counter-measures and vulnerability to exotics. Limnol. Oceanogr., 61: 382–406. doi: 10.1002/lno.10223
- Rowe, M.D., D.R. Obenour, T.F. Nalepa, H.A. Vanderploeg, F. Yousef, W.C. Kerfoot. 2015. Mapping the spatial distribution of invasive dreissenid mussels on the winter-spring phytoplankton bloom in Lake Michigan. Freshwater Biology 60:2197-2454 doi: 10.1111/fwb.12653
- Kerfoot, W.C., M.M. Hobmeier, F. Yousef, S.A. Green, R. Regis, C.N. Brooks, R. Shuchman, J. Anderson, M. Reif. 2014. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Multispectral Scanner (MSS) Studies Examine Coastal Environments Influenced by Mining. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf 3:66-95 doi:10.3390/ijgi3010066
- Yousef, F., W.C. Kerfoot, R. Shuchman, and G. Fahnenstiel. 2014. Bio-optical properties and primary production of Lake Michigan: insights from 13-years of SeaWiFS imagery. J. Great Lakes Res. 40 (2); 317-324 doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2014.02.018
- F. Yousef, W.C. Kerfoot, C.N. Brooks, R. Shuchman, B. Sabol, and M. Graves. 2013. Using LiDAR to reconstruct the history of a coastal environment influenced by legacy mining. J. Great Lakes Res. 39 Supplement 1: 205-216. doi:10.1016/j.jglr.2013.01.003
- W.C. Kerfoot, F. Yousef, S.A. Green, R. Regis, R. Shuchman, C.N. Brooks, M. Sayers, B. Sabol, and M. Graves. 2012. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and multispectral studies of disturbed Lake Superior coastal environments. Limnol. Oceanogr. 57(3), 749-771. doi: 10.4319/lo.2012.57.3.0749