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GLIN==> News Release - MN Sea Grant Awards $738,000 for Aquatic Research

                                MN SEA GRANT
                                NEWS RELEASE
11/14/00                                          CONTACT: Marie Zhuikov
                                                          (218) 726-7677     

           Minnesota Sea Grant Awards $738,000 for Aquatic Research

The University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program recently chose ten research 
projects involving Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland lakes for funding.  The 
award money, which is provided by the National Sea Grant College Program and 
matched by the University of Minnesota, collectively totals $738,000.  The 
following projects that focus on biotechnology, aquaculture, coastal 
communities, exotic aquatic species, and the Lake Superior ecosystem, will be 
funded through University of Minnesota departments for 2001-2003: 

- Discovering the fate of Nemadji River sediments: Erik Brown and Nigel Wattrus,
Large Lakes Observatory (LLO), Gary Parker, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, and 
John Swenson, UMD Dept. of Geological Sciences.   

Researchers will integrate field data with computer models to examine how the 
Nemadji River delivers sediments to Lake Superior and the relative roles of 
currents, waves, and other physical forces in dispersing these sediments.  This 
study will help scientists, engineers, and port authorities understand how land 
use, harbor dredging, variations in lake levels, and climate-driven changes in 
lake circulation influence sediment deposition.

- Exploring the distribution and productivity of zooplankton in western Lake 
Superior:  Meng Zhou and Nigel Wattrus, LLO, Donn Branstrator, UMD Dept. of 
Biology, and Donald Schreiner, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources.

Researchers will explore physical and biological conditions in Lake Superior 
during critical periods of lake trout's life history by examining how 
zooplankton are distributed in space and time.  The collapse of the lake trout 
population in Lake Superior and subsequent efforts to rehabilitate the stocks 
prompted this project, which questions the flow of energy through part of Lake 
Superior's food chain.  

- The role of bacteria in moving PCBs into the Lake Superior foodweb:  James 
Cotner and Bopaiah Biddanda, Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and 
Deborah Swackhamer, Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health.

Researchers will examine how bacteria, which account for a relatively high 
(80-90%) amount of the metabolic activity in Lake Superior, might also 
contribute to the bioaccumulation of contaminants.  They will identify the 
factors that permit microbes to dominate relatively unproductive lakes and 
assess their relevance in transferring PCBs to lake trout and other higher-order

- Examining the bioaccumulation of contaminants in Great Lakes fish:  Deborah 
Swackhamer, Dept. of Environmental and Occupational Health.  

This study will examine which  contaminants, beyond proven and 
currently-monitored compounds, are accumulating in the tissues of Great Lakes 
fish.  By alerting health experts to the presence of toxic and persistent 
chemicals and the degree to which they bioaccumulate, this study will assist 
federal and state agencies that monitor contaminants.

- Identifying the sources of coliform bacteria in coastal ecosystems and their 
relationship to land use:  Randall Hicks, UMD Dept. of Biology, Michael 
Sadowsky, Dept. of Soil, Water and Climate, and Lucinda Johnson, Natural 
Resources Research Institute (NRRI).  

Researchers plan to determine the source and distribution of fecal bacteria in 
the Lake Superior Basin by refining molecular and metabolic fingerprinting 
techniques.  They will analyze strains of bacteria living in the intestines of 
animals including terns, gulls, deer, beaver, and humans, and compare them to 
bacteria in water samples from watersheds and the Duluth-Superior harbor.  Their
goal is to help wastewater treatment plants and governing agencies quantify how 
land use relates to sources of fecal pollution.

- Comparing the genetic diversity of coaster brook trout hatchery programs:  
Anne Kapuscinski, Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Researchers will compare genetic profiles of "coaster" brook trout hatchery 
broodstock to natural populations and will monitor genetic change within 
hatchery broodstocks.  These comparisons will guide hatchery managers in their 
efforts to retain wild genetic diversity in captive stocks and to maximize the 
genetic diversity in restoration attempts.

- Identifying critical elements of brook trout habitat in Lake Superior:  Jeff 
Schuldt and Lucinda Johnson, NRRI.  

Researchers will identify the fundamental characteristics of brook trout 
habitats along coastal areas of Lake Superior.  This study will contribute to 
efforts to restore the "coaster" brook trout, once abundant throughout the lake.

- Monitoring fish physiology and behavior with acoustics and implants:  Allen 
Mensinger, UMD Dept. of Biology.  

Scientists will develop acoustical telemetry tags that can be implanted in 
walleye and northern pike to monitor their activity, physiology, and behavior.  
This research will allow scientists to relate physiology with behavior and use 
the fish as environmental "sensors" to continually monitor environmental 

- Evaluating the benefits of consuming wild rice and waterfowl to  Fond du Lac 
Band members and communicating the risks:  Mary Renwick, Water Resources Center,
Nancy Costa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Pat McCann, 
Minnesota Dept. of Health.  

Researchers plan to screen waterfowl and wild rice for contaminants and compare 
the cultural, nutritional, and economic benefits of these traditional Ojibwe 
foods against market substitutes. Because these preferred foods may contain 
mercury and other toxic pollutants, the researchers will make the information 
accessible to Fond du Lac Band members and other Minnesota Ojibwe. 

- Weevil attractants released by Eurasian watermilfoil: Florence Gleason,  Dept.
of Plant Biology, and Ray Newman, Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife.  

Scientists will extend their research on the ability of a water-soluble compound
released by Eurasian watermilfoil to attract a weevil that helps to control this
invasive plant.  This attractant, possibly coupled with the synergistic action 
of other natural products, could help ecologists, natural resource managers, and
agencies throughout North America manage invading populations of this plant.  

Minnesota Sea Grant is part of a network of 30 Sea Grant College  Programs 
spanning coastal states throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.  For more 
information about Sea Grant, dial (218) 726-8106 or visit www.seagrant.umn.edu.

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