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The research program of the SCWRS has two major facets: research by staff scientists and independent investigations by visiting scientists.

SCWRS Research Program

researchers on a boat taking water samples

Staff research at the SCWRS focuses on scientifically and environmentally important questions on regional, national, and global scales. The research program emphasizes aquatic-based studies involving land-water interaction, biogeochemistry, hydrology, restoration ecology, and aquatic biology. Relevant issues include eutrophication, toxic pollutants, climate change, erosion and sedimentation, and biodiversity.

See a description of current research projects, view a video about investigations in changes in Lake Michigan, or read about these featured projects:

Hydrobiological Survey of Western Mongolia
Lakes, springs, and streams in western Mongolia were surveyed in the summers of 2004-2005 to determine existing aquatic biodiversity and water quality in this rarely visited corner of the world. Taxonomic groups targeted were chironomids (non-biting midges), diatoms (a type of algae), and ostracodes (a type of crustacean). (Staff contacts: Mark Edlund and Jim Almendinger)

Shallow Lakes
Shallow lakes tend to exist in, and can switch between, a turbid, algal-dominated state, and a clear-water state with abundant aquatic plants. Research questions revolve around the triggers that cause a change in state, the use of sediment cores to learn when and how frequently state changes have occurred over the past few hundred years, and determining if there are differences in the amount of carbon buried in lake sediments in the turbid- vs. clear-water states. (Staff contact: Joy Ramstack Hobbs)

TAPwaters (Technical Assistance Program for Watersheds)
The project focus is to use computer models of watershed hydrology to answer management and research questions. Currently the project is using the SWAT modeling program to model tributary watersheds in the St. Croix Basin, Minnesota and Wisconsin. (Staff contact: Jim Almendinger)

The research staff consists of:

Dr. Daniel R. Engstrom, Director (limnology, geochemistry, and atmospheric deposition)
Dr. James E. Almendinger, Senior Scientist (hydrologic modeling and wetland ecology)
Dr. Shawn P. Schottler, Senior Scientist (environmental engineering, fate and transport of organic pesticides)
Dr. Mark B. Edlund, Senior Scientist (diatom ecology and evolution)
Dr. Adam Heathcote, Assistant Scientist (Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem ecology)
Joy Ramstack, Associate Scientist (diatom ecology and paleolimnology)
Dr. Suzanne Magdalene, Assistant Scientist (environmental geology and hydrodynamics)
Michelle Natarajan, Laboratory Manager
Erin Mortenson, Lab Technician II, (environmental science)