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Improvement to Facilities at CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island

ABSTRACT<br/><br/> <br/> A grant has been awarded to Central Michigan University, under the direction of Dr. James Gillingham, to improve the facilities at Central Michigan University Biological Station (CMUBS) on Beaver Island in Northern Lake Michigan. CMUBS has been in operation as an academic arm of CMU since 1966 and annually offers facilities for research and education to students and faculty from all over North America and beyond. Enrollments in undergraduate and graduate courses offered at CMUBS have grown steadily over the past two decades, and CMU has shown support for this growth through the periodic upgrade of the academic facilities at CMUBS. The addition of faculty, staff and student residence units, remodeling and upgrading existing service facilities and the planned construction of a media center reflect this support. Since 1966 and up to a little more than a decade ago, research was conducted at CMUBS on an intermittent basis. In spite of the attractive and easily accessible pristine habitat on this island and the wealth of biological problems that could be answered involving the surrounding ten-island archipelago, research activity was historically limited to a few faculty within the Department of Biology at CMU. In 1989, in an attempt to stimulate the development of an active and on-going research program at CMUBS, the first building devoted totally to research was constructed. Although this provided adequate laboratory space for several years, by the mid 1990s this research building reached its capacity. A recent and rapid increase in interest in undergraduate, graduate and faculty research at CMUBS not only created a significant shortage of research space, but brought into focus the need for basic research equipment that would allow field-gathered aquatic and terrestrial data to be processed and analyzed on site at CMUBS.<br/> <br/> This grant will be used to 1) construct an addition to the existing research building and 2) purchase several basic, but essential, equipment items. The research building addition will be constructed and functionally attached to the existing facility and will effectively double its size. A water still with storage tank and an automatic autoclave sterilizer will replace existing but inadequate similar pieces of equipment and an ultra-low temperature freezer and computerized weather station will provide equipment items never before available at CMUBS.<br/><br/> These improvements will not only indirectly give further support to the long-standing quality teaching program at CMUBS, but will significantly augment its research program in such a way as to allow such new avenues of research to be pursued such as microbial ecology, molecular ecology and geographical biodiversity. These improved facilities will allow CMUBS to more effectively attract both faculty and graduate student researchers from other universities thus providing them with opportunities to study at a field station strategically located in northern Lake Michigan and would provide CMU faculty and students (undergraduate and graduate) a unique opportunity to gain experience from well-know researchers.

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