Wisconsin Sea Grant Announces $2.8 Million to Fund Great Lakes Research, including projects at UW-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute announced a $2.8 million 2018-20 omnibus grant to fund Great Lakes research, including three projects involving the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

“The world’s largest freshwater system surrounds Wisconsin to the north and east. The lakes fuel our economy and enhance our quality of life,” said Jennifer Hauxwell, Sea Grant’s director of research. “We are fortunate that some of the best freshwater researchers are located in Green Bay. Throughout the yearlong process that brought us to the point of kicking off this research, we drew on the expertise of scientific leaders from around the globe and nation who reviewed the proposals to ensure the projects were of a high caliber. We also relied on a council of external advisors from numerous Wisconsin sectors to ensure the inquiries would be relevant to our state’s needs.”

Project details are:

  • Walleyes, lake whitefish and yellow perch are prized game fish and all can be found in Green Bay. What is the interaction of these species, though, as they search for food and act as predator and prey in the bay? Patrick Forsythe, a UW-Green Bay professor of natural and applies sciences, is part of a large research team that will look into these poorly understood and overlapping behaviors to better inform how the fishery is managed.
  • UW-Green Bay Scientist Christopher Houghton and Forsythe, once again, along with two additional scientists from other institutions, will examine what sort of macro-invertebrates—such as larval insects, worms and a species called diporeia—live in the deepest parts of Green Bay. This will provide a better understanding of the bay and how it can best be managed.
  • UW-Green Bay researchers Kevin Fermanich, Paul Baumgart and Michael Zorn will join forces with researchers from two other institutions to refine a set of bay management tools, as well as engage all regional groups involved in land and water use. The underlying goal is to address the hypereutrophic conditions that are a persistent problem for Green Bay.

The entire two-year grant will support a total of 19 projects that explore the freshwater seas. In addition to the UW-Green Bay-based work, scientists on the Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Stevens Point, Superior and Whitewater campuses of the University of Wisconsin System, as well as at Northland College, will be funded.

In projects other than those at UW-Green Bay, researchers will look at methods to prevent Great Lakes beach contamination, causes and possible ways to lessen the destruction of dangerous waves and high water levels, and more.

Nearly 100 researchers, staff and students will be engaged in this work, Hauxwell said.

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Conceived in 1966, Sea Grant is a national network of 33 university-based programs of research, outreach, and education for enhancing the practical use and conservation of coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources to create a sustainable economy and environment. The National Sea Grant Network is a partnership of participating coastal states, private industry, and the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. seagrant.wisc.edu