Research Labs and Vessels
Analytical Laboratory for Great Lakes Exploration
The Analytical Laboratory for Great Lakes Exploration (ALGE) allows researchers from a variety of fields to access an ever-growing collection of front-line analytical tools. ALGE provides separation technology, spectrometry, and spectroscopy for molecular and ionic species important to both basic and applied research.
The lab supports sample preparation and analysis in gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy, analytical microscopy, and protein and DNA analysis.
Current projects include:
- Transfer of heavy elements through food webs
- Transfer of organically bound silica, copper, and mercury from wetlands and rivers into lakes
- Biochemistry, metabolomics, eco-toxicity, and biomarkers in the geosphere and ambient environment
Thermo Scientific ITQ 1100
Offers gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, pulsed positive-ion/negative-ion chemical ionization, and quantification and spectral consistency range to the fentogram level.
Thermo Scientific ELEMENT 2
This inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometer is capable of rapidly measuring elemental and isotopic composition of heavy metals in tissues, water, soils, and sediments.
- Agilent 8453 UV/VIS diode-array spectrophotometer
- Toledo-Mettler microbalance
- Nanodrop spectrophotometer
- Veriti 96W PCR machine
- Gel electrophoresis equipment
- Zeiss Axioskop and Leica DM-R research microscopes
Aquatic Ecology Lab
Study threatened and endangered species ecology in both large-scale and small-scale wet-lab setups in the Aquatic Ecology Lab. This lab has large stream units, which allow us to rear and hold fishes—and other organisms—at a variety of temperatures and light conditions. Our large circular tank also enables us to study fish-group behavior.
The outdoor portion of our lab features mesocosms for studying larger fish—their growth, predator/prey interactions, and invasive species impacts.
Current projects include:
- The effect of varying concentrations of substances, like road salts, on aquatic organisms
- Organism interaction studies, like predator/prey densities
- Large-fish (lake sturgeon and coaster brook trout) life history studies
Living Stream System
Six fully programmable tanks, allowing control of temperature, light conditions, and flow rates. Control of these variables allows us to perfectly recreate conditions in the Great Lakes, which is critical to our studies of native-organism life histories.
Located on the waterfront near the Center, the mesocosm consists of 30 1,100-liter water tanks that will complement work in the Aquatic Ecology lab.
Aquatic Ecosystem Ecology Lab
This lab studies biogeochemical cycles and linkages between physical, chemical and biological structure and function in streams, rivers and lakes.
Our research falls into 3 general categories:
- Ecosystem function responses to stream and lake restoration
- Consequences of subsidies at different trophic levels for stream ecosystems
- Biogeochemical linkages between streams and lakes
Cardiovascular and Electrophysiology Lab
This lab aims to understand how the central autonomic system regulates cardiovascular function and body fluid and sodium homeostasis. The focus of lab research is to identify the neural mechanisms of sympathetic activation in cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders. Multi-level approaches—ranging from the whole-animal study to ion-channel recordings, molecular biology and gene manipulation—are currently being applied to research projects. This research represents shared interests between the Departments of Biological Sciences and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology.
Location: Dow 414
Contact: Qinghui Chen
Clinical and Applied Human Physiology Laboratory
The Clinical and Applied Human Physiology Laboratory is primarily focused on developing and implementing preventative lifestyle strategies for those with metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors such as visceral obesity, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoproteins, pre-hypertension, and pre-diabetes. These strategies may include interventions such as: specific exercise programs, dietary modification, stress reduction, and adequate sleep. The laboratory has a secondary focus on sport-specific exercise assessment and prescription for hockey players and endurance athletes.
Location: Dow 731
Contact: John Durocher
Environmental Bioremediation Lab
Research is focused on the application of plant biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology and microbiology in solving environmental problems using phytoremediation and plant-microbe interactions. Current research projects include: Phytoremediation of lead paint contaminated soil using vetiver grass, understanding the mechanism of lead tolerance by vetiver grass using proteomics and metabolomics, Role of vetiver and vetiver root-associated microorganisms in uptake and transformation of antibiotics, phytomremediation of heavy metals in mining- impacted soils, Use of vetiver grass for uptake and transformation of RDX, biofuel production from plants grown on marginal lands.
Location: Dow 511
Contact: Rupali Datta
Invasive Species Lab
Location: GLRC 103
Contact: Charles Kerfoot
Explore the impacts of exotic species throughout the Great Lakes region in the Invasive Species Lab. The lab is named in honor of Dr. Lisa Drake, a distinguished physical scientist studying aquatic invasive species at the Center for Corrosion Science and Engineering in Key West, Florida.
As serious threats to the Great Lakes food web continue to mount, the Invasive Species Lab provides a first-rate facility for researchers to use to monitor, predict, and mitigate exotic invaders. Invasive species being studied in the lab include quagga mussels, zebra mussels, spiny water fleas, Daphnia, and other introduced micro-crustaceans.
Current projects include:
- Documenting food-web impacts of exotic species in the Great Lakes and inland lakes
- Determining effects of global climate change on the inter-related Great Lakes system
- Using sediment cores to examine long-term hypotheses of evolution
- Evaluating regional effects of mining on lake ecosystems
Primary Productivity and Plankton Ecology Lab
Location: GLRC 217
Contact: Gary Fahnenstiel
Deepen our understanding of carbon cycling processes or help monitor the Great Lakes’ waters in the Primary Productivity and Plankton Ecology Lab. With a powerful collection of analytical tools, Center researchers study the lower food web—from algae blooms to plankton lifecycles.
Together with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lab members also keep tabs on the lakes’ health by monitoring levels of chlorophyll, phosphorous, phytoplankton, and soluble nutrients, among others.
Current projects include:
- Developing algorithms to model productivity in the Great Lakes from remote sensing equipment data
- Monitoring Great Lakes health
- Assessing the impact of harmful algae blooms in Saginaw Bay and in western Lake Erie
Water-testing equipment used to analyze a variety of characteristics—from chlorophyll levels to pigments to soluble nutrients.
Situated along the banks of the Keweenaw Waterway—and connected to Lake Superior—Michigan Tech’s campus is a haven for freshwater science researchers. Providing ready access to the islands, open waters, and many embayments of Lake Superior, the RV Agassiz offers students, faculty, and staff from Michigan Tech, other universities, government laboratories, and industrial partners an opportunity to explore the science of this mighty natural resource.
Locations: Great Lakes Research Center
Contact: Jamey Anderson
Northern Watershed Studies
The Northern Watershed Ecosystem Project conducts long-term research, inventory, and monitoring in a small network of legally-protected research sites located in National Parks and Preserves. The project goal is to gain understanding of the structure and function of representative ecosystems and their response to stressors. Most sites have been under study for 20+ years. The network of sites represents a diverse set of natural ecosystems from the northern hardwood-boreal ecotone to the taiga-tundra tree line.