The Central Michigan University is awarded a grant to renovate a former boat house and install a series of 12 mesocosm tanks that will allow CMU faculty, students, and visiting investigators at the CUM Biological Station (http://www.cst.cmich.edu/CMUBS/) to conduct controlled and replicated ecological experiments on the pelagic and benthic ecosystems of Lake Michigan as well as beaches and wetlands and to address key ecological questions dealing with the response of these habitats to multiple stressors (e.g., climate change, nutrient enrichment and introduction of non-indigenous species). The proposed renovations will directly impact the research of at least ten faculty members at Central Michigan University, as well as collaborators from other institutions and visitors to CMUBS. For more than 30 years Central Michigan University has operated a Biological Station (CMUBS) on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. Until recently the primary focus of research at CMUBS has been on the Island's diverse array of undisturbed terrestrial ecosystems, and the station has also supported an active summer undergraduate and graduate education program. <br/><br/>The improvements will support the University's growing strength in freshwater biology and related disciplines (e.g., geochemistry, remote sensing and GIS) as well as the importance of the lakes to Michigan and the mid-western and north-eastern US. The proposed renovations will significantly enhance the ability of faculty, graduate students and visitors to CMUBS to conduct research on a variety of aquatic and wetland organisms and to address ecological questions related to key topics such as non-indigenous species, endangered species, lake level cycles and global climate change. The new facility at CMUBS will provide additional opportunities to engage interested students in STEM learning and encourage their progress toward STEM-related research and graduate study. It will further enhance the academic success of underrepresented and first-generation college students through many CMU programs including Upward Bound, GEAR UP, Ronald E. McNair Baccalaureate Achievement Program, NSF's URM: "BUMP Into Research at CMU!". The mesocosm facilities will provide enhanced opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations with other institutions. The new facilities will significantly improve the overall scientific infrastructure dedicated to understanding the Great Lakes, and hence augment our understanding of, and ability to protect and manage, one of the most important freshwater systems in the world. Users of the facility will integrate research findings and perspectives into the diverse array of university courses and K-12 presentations that they routinely offer, and the research projects and underlying philosophy will be broadly disseminated through publications in the primary literature, reviews/overviews, seminars, symposia and meetings on an international scale.
An Experimental Mescosm Facility at the Central Michigan University Biological Station