Gary L. Fahnenstiel

Gary L. Fahnenstiel
  • MS Biological Sciences 1980

Gary Fahnenstiel was born in Saginaw, Michigan and has lived in the state his entire life. Gary earned his BS in Biology and Chemistry at Eastern Michigan University in 1978, but his vocation started at Michigan Technological University, where he had the chance to engage in research on Lake Superior as a MS student in Biological Sciences (’80). He pursued a doctorate at the University of Michigan (’86) and worked as a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Gary has had a long and productive career engaged in the study of the Lakes. He has published more than 130 scientific papers. The recognition he received from this research has translated into numerous opportunities to help shape the research programs on the Great Lakes by serving on numerous national and international committees. For example, Gary served as a member of the Steering Committee for the Great Lakes Initiative of the National Coastal Ocean Program at NOAA and was associate editor of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Great Lakes Research and co-chair of NOAA’s Coastal Ocean Program, Great Lakes Development Team.

Recently Gary has been deeply involved in projects related to the impact of nonindigenous species and climate change on the Lakes. He has been the leader of the Center for Great Lakes and Human Health Harmful Algae Bloom Program, a member of the International Cyanobacteria Workshop-Organizing Committee, the Steering Committee for NOAA’s Eutrophication Program, and the Organizing Committee for the National Science Foundation’s Coastal Ocean Processes Program in the Great Lakes.

These efforts have prompted wider recognition of Gary’s research contributions. He received the Chandler-Misener Award for outstanding scientific paper from the International Association of Great Lakes Research; the Lifetime Achievement Great Laker Award from the Healing Our Waters Coalition/National Wildlife Federation; and the NOAA National Environmental Hero Award for development and implementation of volunteer LakeWatch program.

Gary notes that without the valuable experience and education he received at Michigan Tech, his life journey would have been very different and likely less rewarding. This summer he rejoined Tech as a Senior Scientist in the newly opened Great Lakes Research Center.

From 2012 Induction to the College of Sciences and Arts Academy