estuary views

Research Coordinator is primarily responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating the Lake Superior NERR research program. Dr. Schooler interacts with the research advisory committee, other research institutions, and individuals to fulfill the research objectives of the Lake Superior NERR Managment Plan. He also serves as a liaison with the scientific community, promoting data utilization and acting as the primary contact for scientists performing research in the Reserve. Dr. Schooler also works with the Education and Coastal Training Program Cooridinators to ensure that the research program fills the needs of the Education and Outreach Programs.


Lake Superior NERR Research Staff are also responsible for the operation of the System Wide Monitoring and Sentinel Site Programs at the Reserve. The SWMP program provides researchers, resource managers, educators, and other coastal decision makers with standardized network of data sondes and sampling/monitoring measures. The SWMP program was initiated at our site in 2012. We expect to establish a Sentinel Site in 2013. The Sentinel site will link a wide array of meterological stations with SWMP stations and other Reserve monitoring projects to evaluate how coastal ecosystems are responding to climate change.




Lake Superior NERR Research Strategic Plan






Ongoing Research

Project Title: Landscape regulators of biogeochemical pattern and process in the St. Louis River Estuary (Map of Sites)

Funding agency: Minnesota Sea Grant & Wisconsin Sea Grant

Duration: 2/1/2012-1/31/2014

Emily Stanley, UW-Madison (Principal Investigator)
Jacques Finlay, University of Minnesota (Principal Investigator)
Robert Sterner, University of Minnesota (Principal Investigator)
Gaston Small, University of Minnesota (Post-doc)

Despite the importance of the St. Louis River estuary in supporting fisheries, harboring unique ecological communities, delivering water and materials to Lake Superior, and bolstering the regional economy, the underlying biogeochemical
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Project Title: The Influence of Habitat Type and Microbial Community Structure on Mercury Methylation in St. Louis River Estuarine Sediment (Map of Sites)

Funding Source: NOAA Graduate Research Fellowship

Investigator:Emily Graham, M.S., Doctoral Student
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
University of Colorado Boulder


Many aspects of estuarine disturbances have been investigated during the past two decades due to their potential to serve as natural environmental filters for pollutants; however, recent advances in environmental microbial genetics
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Project Title: Fish contamination in the St Louis River Estuary: May 2012 Sampling

Investigator:FWS, USGS, and EPA

We will be sampling for 20 white suckers and (hopefully) 20 smallmouth bass in each of these areas (for a total of 80 fish). All fish are weighed, measured, have a gross examination (for tumors, deformities, etc) and blood sample.
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Project Title: Patterns of nutrient limitation in the St. Louis River

Freshwater Estuary

Investigator: Richard Kiesling, USGS


Short Abstract = The purpose of this project is to develop an understanding of the nutrient-dependent trophic status of the St. Louis River Estuary (SLRE). The study will document the trophic relationships between nutrients, phytoplankton, and zooplankton at fixed stations within the lower river from below Fond du Lac dam to the confluence with Lake Superior.

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Project Title: Stressor Gradients and Spatial Narratives of the St. Louis River Estuary

Funding Source: MN and WI SeaGrant

Investigators: George Host and Richard Axler, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth
Janet Silbernagel, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin Madison
Nick Danz and Jeff Schuldt, Natural Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin Superior
David Hart, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Annette Drewes, Save Our Rice Alliance, Bemidji, MN
Mark Wagler and Jim Mathews, Local Games Laboratory, University of Wisconsin Madison
Cynthia Hagley and Jesse Schomberg, Minnesota Sea Grant

The St. Louis River Estuary, the mouth of the largest contributing US watershed to Lake Superior, is simultaneously an EPA Area of Concern and a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). The estuary is a complex mosaic of high quality Click Here to Expand Full Abstract

Project Title Resilience in Areas of Concern:  A comparative study of the engagement of stakeholders in environmental governance of Great Lakes coastal zones

Investigators: Kathleen Williams
UW-Milwaukee, Department of Geography
Doctoral candidate/research assistant

While the literature supports the participation of stakeholders and the public as a desired attribute and one that will enhance resilience to hazards, including climate change, little of the literature has focused on the Great Lakes. Many of the studies
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Project Title Biological control of purple loosestrife in the St Louis River Estuary (Map of Sites)

Investigators: Dr. Shon Schooler and Dr. Ralph Garono
Lake Superior NERR

Purple loosestrife is an exotic wetland plant from Europe that was introduced in the early 1900s and has spread across temperate North America. The plant can form monospecific stands and research has documented that is capable of reducing plant and animal diversity in its introduced
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Updated: 8/15/2012