January 2017


The winter winds may blow and ice may rim the shores of the Great Lakes, but Michigan Sea Grant is still hard at work. In Ann Arbor, East Lansing, and coastal communities around the state, Michigan Sea Grant staff are preparing for conferences, reviewing graduate fellowship applications, and connecting people with the beautiful, wintery Great Lakes.

Even though they’re spending less time in the field, this is still a productive season for Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators, who often use this downtime to write articles about exciting things going on in their regions or areas of expertise. Enjoy a sampling of their articles from November, December, and January in “From Extension.” And be sure to check the “Save the Date” section for many events coming up in the next few months.


Celebrating Sea Grant’s 50th anniversary

In 2016, the National Sea Grant College Program celebrated 50 years of putting science to work for America’s coastal communities. Our Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators live and work in coastal communities around Michigan. We celebrate their hard work and take this opportunity to introduce each of them. See previous and upcoming issues of Upwellings for more educator profiles.


Elliot enjoys being out on the water almost as much as he loves birding.

Elliot Nelson cherishes life in the Upper Peninsula

Elliot Nelson grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and now he’s back as the eastern U.P. Extension educator. Read about why he’s excited to serve this vibrant part of the state.


Justin Selden works extensively with Summer Discovery Cruises and the Great Lakes Education Program in Macomb County. Photo: Steve Stewart

Congratulations and best wishes to Justin

Congratulations to Justin Selden, who received the 2016 District 11 Top Performer Award for Program Instructors from Michigan State University Extension. Also, effective January 9, 2017, Justin began an Extension educator position with the Natural Resources work team with Michigan State University Extension. Justin will continue to work in Macomb County. Congratulations, Justin!

Coming soon to Michigan Sea Grant

On January 30, 2017, Michigan Sea Grant will welcome Kip Cronk, who will join the team as an Extension educator based in Bay City. Kip is a Michigan native who has lived and worked in the Saginaw Bay region since 2004. He comes to Michigan Sea Grant from the regulatory world, where he worked in invasive species outreach, environmental quality permitting, and pollution prevention. Welcome, Kip!


Research projects can feature field work, modeling, community engagement, or other strategies for gathering and distributing information. Photos: Michigan Sea Grant, Eric Anderson

Michigan Sea Grant Request for Proposals

Do you have an idea for an innovative Great Lakes research project? Michigan Sea Grant is soliciting proposals for research projects and graduate fellowships for the 2018-2020 funding period.

Michigan Sea Grant will support three types of research this funding cycle:

  • Integrated Assessment – Research that uses Integrated Assessment methods to address important social and ecological issues affecting the Great Lakes.
  • Core Research – Basic core research on issues currently affecting the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Graduate Student Research Fellowships – Graduate student (M.S. or Ph.D.) research fellowships for one or two years.

Funding for Integrated Assessment and Core Research will support two-year projects that start on February 1, 2018, and end by January 31, 2020. Fellowships may begin in 2018 (one- or two-year period) or 2019 (one-year period).

All proposals require a 50 percent non-federal match (one non-federal dollar for every two federal dollars requested). Funding is contingent upon NOAA approval and congressional appropriation of funds.

Pre-proposals for Integrated Assessments and Core Research projects are due by 5 p.m. on March 3, 2017. Proposals for Graduate Student Research Fellowships are due by 5 p.m. on May 26, 2017. Funding decisions will be announced in early September 2017.

For details on these opportunities, including application guidelines and funding levels, see: Michigan Sea Grant Funding Information.



Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Erie poster

This brand-new poster unpacks the history and science behind Lake Erie’s now-annual algal bloom. Learn why Lake Erie experiences so many harmful algal blooms and how scientists are using innovative tools to understand and hopefully control these blooms in the future. Complete with a timeline of milestones in the fight against blooms in Lake Erie, this poster is a useful guide for offices or high school and college classrooms.

Visit the bookstore for more details. 


From Extension

Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators write informative articles on a variety of subjects — from the latest on invasive species to online tools available to help anglers increase their catch. Below are a few of their most recent articles.

Are there tsunamis in the Great Lakes?

By Mark Breederland


Powerful waves on the Great Lakes can be dramatic and dangerous. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

The Great Lakes do experience tsunamis, but they’re not caused by earthquakes.

Biology’s new frontier could have big implications for Great Lakes fish

By Dan O’Keefe


Although steelhead are not native to Michigan, they have been spawning naturally in streams, including the Little Manistee River, since the late 1800s. Photo: Dan O’Keefe

New research shows that epigenetics, which investigates how genes are expressed, may play a major role in the domestication of hatchery trout.

Michigan’s underwater preserves offer unique views of Great Lakes maritime heritage

By Steve Stewart


A NOAA diver documents the bow of the wooden freighter Florida. Photo: NOAA/Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary

Michigan Sea Grant has played a key role in developing Michigan’s system of underwater preserves.

Winter fishing in Michigan on ice-free waters is worth the effort

By Mary Bohling

Photo by Dave Brenner/Michigan Sea Grant Anglers on the Detroit river in spring

Anglers on the Detroit River. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

A little preparation and planning can go a long way toward a safe, fun winter fishing experience.

Putting back the (Little) Rapids

By Elliot Nelson


Fishing using traditional methods in the Saint Marys River rapids circa 1902. Photo: Detroit Publishing Co.

River restoration efforts at the St. Marys Area of Concern should improve water flow and fish spawning habitat, boosting the river’s health.

NOAA Marine Debris Calendar celebrates student voices and student art

By Brandon Schroeder


Malley M., an eigth-grade student at All Saints Catholic High School in Alpena, displays her winning artwork. Photo: Courtesy photo

Alpena students bring a Great Lakes perspective to the global marine debris issue.


Save the date

Graduate Student Fellowship applications

January and February 2017

Applications close soon for four fellowships with Michigan Sea Grant or a partner organization. These paid fellowships run from one to two years and are designed for graduate students or recent graduates with a strong interest in marine and Great Lakes issues. Applicants from a wide range of academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Online applications are due in January and February. For deadlines and specific information about each fellowship offered, visit the fellowship page. **Note: The deadline for the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship has been extended to February 21, 2017**

2017ffestThunder Bay International Film Festival

January 20-29, 2017

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena hosts its International Film Festival this month. Between screenings, attendees can meet filmmakers, enjoy receptions and educational activities, and take field trips to wineries and neighboring theaters. Tickets and details are available online. 

Great Lakes Fisheries Educational Session

January 28, 2017

A Great Lakes Fisheries Educational Session will be held during the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference on Saturday January 28, 2017, at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City. The Great Lakes Fisheries Session will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no registration fee for this event. Topics will range from lake levels to cisco restoration, local seafood suppliers, cormorant management, and more. See the agenda for full details.

If you’re interested in attending or have questions, contact Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Ron Kinnunen at (906) 226-3687 or kinnune1@msu.edu.

Great Lakes Day

March 7, 2017

This year’s Great Lakes conference, held at Michigan State University during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week, will focus on the theme, “The Great Lakes: Moving Michigan Forward.” Keynote addresses will be given by Joan Rose, recipient of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize, speaking on global public health issues, and Jon Allen, director of the Office of the Great Lakes, presenting the next steps in Michigan’s Water Strategy. Other speakers will focus on issues relating to green infrastructure, agriculture, rip currents, the use of drones, acoustic telemetry, and “Dark Skies.”

To register on the web or find updates to the agenda, visitvisit the conference website. To register by phone, call (517) 353-3742.

Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) Conference

March 24-25, 2017, with pre-conference sessions on March 23

The 2017 Michigan Science Teachers Association conference will follow the theme, “Putting Legs on the New Science Standards.” The conference will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Online registration ends March 24, with early-bird registration until March 7. Conference fees range from $25 to $160. Learn more and register online.

Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium Conference

April 20-21, 2017

glwsc-conferenceDrownings in the Great Lakes rose 78 percent in 2016. Learn why and what you can do to help reverse this trend at the Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium’s (GLWSC) annual conference in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The GLWSC is a “community of best practice” that brings together first responders, community leaders, park rangers, research scientists, lifeguards, meteorologists, survivors, loved ones, and other water safety advocates to end drowning in the Great Lakes.

Welcoming groups and individuals involved in any aspect of water safety, this year’s conference will feature presentations on the latest research in wave science, beach warnings, and rescue equipment, as well as ideation sessions on the best methods for communicating risk and how communities can prevent and respond to tragedies.

IAGLR 2017

May 15-19, 2017

iaglr-300x117The 60th annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) will be held in Detroit on May 15-19, 2017. Four days of scientific sessions and speakers will focus on the theme, From Cities to Farms: Shaping Great Lakes Ecosystems.

Michigan Seafood Summit

May 16, 2017

The 2017 Michigan Seafood Summit highlights aquaculture, commercial fisheries, and local seafood in Michigan. The Summit will be held on May 16, 2017, in conjunction with the annual IAGLR conference in Detroit.

5th National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium

May 14 – 17, 2018

logo-nwwnMichigan Sea Grant, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network and additional waterfront-focused partners, is jointly hosting the 2018 National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium (note year). This four-day conference, to be held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids will be national in scope, while featuring presentations that emphasize the Great Lakes.