Our Next ‘Science on Tap’ Could Change Your Life: May 4th

By now you’ve heard all about our amazing science cafe series, Science on Tap-Minocqua, at the Minocqua Brewing Company on the first Wednesday of each month.

UW-Madison microbiologist, Monica Turner answers questions about the "microbes all around us." Photo: A. Hinterthuer
UW-Madison microbiologist, Monica Turner answers questions about the “microbes all around us.” Photo: A. Hinterthuer

In addition to the big crowds and good beer, the event is a chance to take part in a discussion and ask questions about some awesome, enlightening topics. In just the past few months, we’ve heard about the creation and conservation of our national parks, the wonderful world of Wisconsin fishes and the microbes all around us.

But, next Wednesday, May 4th, we’ll offer something a little different – something that’s not just good for the mind, but the body and soul as well.

Robert McGrath, director of counseling and consultation at University Health Services. ©UW-Madison University Communications  Photo by: Bryce Richter
Robert McGrath.
©UW-Madison University Communications
Photo: Bryce Richter

Dr. Robert McGrath, a UW-Madison distinguished psychologist emeritus and former coordinator of UW Mind-Body Wellness Services will give a talk titled “Thriving at any age: guidelines for living a healthy, happy life.”

McGrath will explain an emerging discipline called “positive psychology,” which focuses on how focusing on gratitude and a healthy lifestyle can increase happiness and set us on a path to thrive. Much of the change in one’s happiness is due less to life events, he says, than to “the nature of your primary relationships, your social relationships, your lifestyle and life goals.”

You can join us as we review ten ways to improve your health, happiness and overall well-being. If you’re in or near Minocqua, stop on by the Minocqua Brewing Company for dinner (we can vouch for the wild rice burger!) and then join us for the conversation at 6:30pm. If you’re not in town, you can always watch LIVE online (or at the Minocqua Public Library) and even ask questions from your computer – we promise we’ll pass them along.

And, as always, if you miss the live show, check out our growing video archive – featuring both full-length talks and short 5-10 minute “highlight” videos on the Science on Tap YouTube Channel.

Questions about the event? Call 715-356-9494 or e-mail hinterthuer(at)wisc(dot)edu.

Ice Data from Early “Citizen Scientists” Confirms Warming Since Industrial Revolution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MADISON, WI — In 1442, fifty years before Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” Shinto priests in Japan began keeping records of the annual freeze dates of a nearby lake. Along a Finnish river, starting in 1693, local merchants recorded the date the ice broke up each spring. These two observations are the oldest inland water ice records in human history and, according to a new report in Nature Scientific Reports, the meticulous recordkeeping of these historical “citizen scientists” reveals increasing trends towards later ice-cover formation and earlier spring breakup since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Woodblock print of Lake Suwa, Japan. Image courtesy: Brooklyn Museum, Online Collection.
Woodblock print of Lake Suwa, Japan. Image courtesy: Brooklyn Museum, Online Collection.

“These data are unique,” says John Magnuson, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology. “They were collected by humans viewing and recording the ice event year after year for centuries, well before climate change was even a topic of discussion.” Continue reading “Ice Data from Early “Citizen Scientists” Confirms Warming Since Industrial Revolution”

Field Samples: How Humans Are Changing What’s in Our Water

Field Samples is a Q&A with presenters at our weekly Wednesday seminar. Today CFL grad student, Samantha Oliver, will talk about how humans changes to the landscape have drastically altered nutrient flows into lakes.
Sam Oliver is studying how human land use affects which nutrients end up in our lakes and how they get there. Photo courtesy Sam Oliver
Sam Oliver is studying how human land use affects which nutrients end up in our lakes and how they get there. Photo courtesy Sam Oliver
 Who are you, where are you from, and how did you get here?   

I’m Samantha Oliver, and I’m originally from Hackensack, MN – a small town in the northwoods. I got my undergraduate degree at UW and took Ecology of Fishes when I was a junior. At the time, I was sort of bouncing around the sciences to get a feel for what I liked. My TAs for the class were Jereme Gaeta and Matt Kornis (CFL alums), and they were advertising summer jobs at Trout Lake Station. I spent the summer there studying the spiny water flea, and I was hooked. After I got my master’s degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth, I wanted to come back to the CFL to study lakes. I reached out to Emily Stanley who was looking for someone to work on cross-scale interactions in lakes – and it was a good fit!

Continue reading “Field Samples: How Humans Are Changing What’s in Our Water”

Field Samples: What Do Fish Do When People Move Into the Neighborhood?

Field Samples is a Q&A with presenters at our weekly Wednesday seminar. Today one of the CFL’s newest grad students, Martin Perales, will talk about his summer project exploring the impacts of lake development on fish populations. 
Perales holds a striped bass, which is a n invasive saltwater species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Photo courtesy M. Perales.
Perales holds a striped bass, which is a non-native estuarine species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Photo: M. Young

Who are you, where are you from, and how did you get here?    

I’m Martin Perales and I dragged my wife to Wisconsin to attend the UW-Madison. (Editor’s note: Martin’s wife, Flora, willfully joined the Wisconsin adventure and, we think, is enjoying her time in Madison!)

Before moving here I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of California – Davis, and then worked as a research technician in Peter Moyle’s lab for a few years. We were looking at how hydrodynamics in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta interplayed with water quality and how that affected fish populations and distributions.

The Delta is connected to the ocean and tidally influenced by it, which makes it a really hard system to study, because things like water quality and water-level stage and the availability of habitat are constantly changing. It was a cool place to work, but I came to Wisconsin because I just wanted to see something else. I’d been in California my whole life. Continue reading “Field Samples: What Do Fish Do When People Move Into the Neighborhood?”

Art Hasler’s Son Blogs His Dad’s Biography

We here at the Center for Limnology are, of course big fans of Art Hasler. The man not only got the building we call home built in the first place, he also help bring limnology at UW-Madison into modern scientific times.

Art Hasler (with what appears to be a Model T) trailering a boat at Trout Lake, 1934/
Art Hasler (with what appears to be a Model T) trailering a boat at Trout Lake, 1934/

That’s why it was so cool when Fritz, Art’s son, reached out to us and sent a link to a photo biography of his father – starting with a picture of Art as an Eagle Scout in Provo, Utah and ending 77 years later, when Art passed away.

The biography includes pictures of Art and his French horn in the Wisconsin Symphony, Art feeding a dolphin, and Art in Germany right after the conclusion of World War II. It is a treasure trove of cool historic photos and a chronicle of an accomplished scientist and doting dad. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Art Hasler in the Old Lake Lab at the end of Park Street (where Water Science & Engineering is now). Circa 1940.
Art Hasler in the Old Lake Lab at the end of Park Street (where Water Science & Engineering is now). Circa 1940.

Thanks, Fritz, for sending it along! Continue to the bio and  pictures –> 

 

Fish Fry Day: Mapping the Movements of Migrating Fish

It’s a cold, overcast day at the end of March and Petrifying Springs Park is brown and leafless – still waiting on its spring greenery. Which means it’s a great day to find some fish here where Pike Creek flows into the Pike River.

John Rodstrom, Andy(?) and Allison Moody wade in Petrifying Springs, searching for suckers. Photo: Adam Hinterthuer
John Rodstrom, Alex Koeberle and Allison Moody wade in Petrifying Springs, searching for suckers. Photo: Adam Hinterthuer

Specifically, John Rodstrom, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology, is searching for migratory fishes – species that move inland from Lake Michigan each spring to spawn. Native northern pike migrate each spring, as do the steelhead that the Wisconsin DNR stocks into Wisconsin waterways. But Rodstrom is primarily on the hunt for suckers, a bottom-feeding fish that moves by the millions from the Great Lakes into inland tributaries each year. In terms of sheer biomass, the sucker migration rivals that of the iconic salmon making their way from oceans to fresh, inland waters.

This massive migration will also help Rodstrom and other scientists at the Center for Limnology better understand the impact the occurs when streams meet roads. Continue reading “Fish Fry Day: Mapping the Movements of Migrating Fish”

Tiny Aquatic Flea, Big Impact: Recalculating the Cost of Invasive Species

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/21/15

MADISON – A new study shows we’ve dramatically underestimated the economic and ecological impact of invasive species in the Great Lakes. In fact, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a single non-native species in a single inland lake has racked up $80-to-$163 million in damages.

Jake Walsh (right), graduate researcher for the Center for Limnology, and undergraduate Carly Broshat (left) use plankton nets to collect water samples of spiny water flea, an invasive species of zooplankton, in Lake Mendota. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)
Jake Walsh (right), graduate researcher for the Center for Limnology, and undergraduate Carly Broshat (left) use plankton nets to collect water samples of spiny water flea, an invasive species of zooplankton, in Lake Mendota. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

The findings suggest a need to recalculate the cost of invasive species.

“Our study indicates that previous attempts to put a price tag on invasive species impacts haven’t come close to the true cost,” says Jake Walsh, a Ph.D. candidate at the UW Center for Limnology and lead author of the report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (link here) Continue reading “Tiny Aquatic Flea, Big Impact: Recalculating the Cost of Invasive Species”

Field Samples: The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Science

Field Samples is a Q&A with researchers presenting at our weekly Wednesday seminar. Today the CFL’s distinguished research professor, Paul Hanson, will use music as a science communication tool. Tune in online for the live creation of a musical piece on harmful algal blooms! We’ll also live Tweet – #cflseminar 

Paul Hanson and colleagues combining science and music in the studio. Photo: Grace Hong
Paul Hanson and colleagues combining science and music in the studio. Photo: Grace Hong

Who are you, where are you from, and how did you get here?    

I’m Paul Hanson.  I’m originally from southeastern Wisconsin — the Janesville and Whitewater areas.  I got here by meeting with John Magnuson while he was on sabbatical at the University of Washington.  I was working at the Boeing Company at the time and was interested in moving back to Wisconsin.  John offered me a job, and I accepted and moved back two weeks later.

Pretend we just boarded an elevator and you only have one-minute to tell me about what it is you’re presenting on at seminar.  

My music colleagues — Chris Wagoner, Mary Gaines, and Doug Brown — and I will be talking about how we might communicate scientific ideas through music.  We will use the live development of a musical piece as the analog for modeling harmful algal blooms. Continue reading “Field Samples: The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Science”

Fish Fry Day: Migratory Fishes Meet Social Media

If you live, well, pretty much anywhere in North America, you know that spring is springing early this year. And while that means ice-free lakes, blooming crocuses and the return of all sorts of birds, it also means that fish are getting ready to move.

This spring, (starting next week, in fact) we’ll be bringing you all sorts of action as fish of the Great Lakes look to head inland and spawn.

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John Rodstrom. Not in Wisconsin.

New CFL graduate student, John Rodstrom, will be your trusty guide as he heads to Lake Michigan to follow fish on the run.

We’ll send pictures and videos as northern pike, white suckers and other species try to find a wetland that their eggs can call home. We’ll chronicle the obstacles in their path. We’ll try to catch this amazing natural phenomenon in all its glory and share it with you!

So follow @migratoryfishes on Twitter, the hashtag #fishontherun, this here blog and check out our Fish on the Run website to get up to speed.

See you next week!

Longnose suckers headed upstream for spring migration.
Longnose suckers headed upstream for spring migration.

Field Samples: Understanding Microbes’ Role in Lake Ecosystems

Field Samples is a Q&A with aquatic researchers. Today  Robin Rohwer, a graduate student studying microbial ecology in Trina McMahon’s lab will give a public talk at noon on what microbes are in our lakes and what it is they do. It’s the Center for Limnology’s weekly Wednesday seminar

Robin on Lake Mendota. While it only takes a teaspoon of water to catch countless microbes, sometimes getting to that water is tough! Photo courtesy Robin Rohwer.
Robin on Lake Mendota. While it only takes a teaspoon of water to catch countless microbes, sometimes getting to that water is tough! Photo courtesy Robin Rohwer.

Who are you, where are you from, and how did you get here?

Rohwer and an undergraduate assistant take water samples during balmier months as well. Photo courtesy: Robin Rohwer.
Rohwer and an undergraduate assistant take water samples during balmier months as well. Photo courtesy: Robin Rohwer.

I’m a PhD student in the Environmental Chemistry and Technology Program. I’m in prof. Trina McMahon’s lab, where I study freshwater bacterial communities. My path to microbial ecology was winding. I studied biochemistry at Oberlin College, worked for a few years at a company developing dairy products, which is where I learned about next gen sequencing technology from a nutraceuticals trade magazine article talking about how probiotics were the fastest growing market share. As I read more about the the discoveries in the gut microbiome I started thinking about how metagenomics could be applied to the “black box” of microbial nutrient cycling in the environment. Turns out, lots of other people were thinking that too, so a bunch of applications later I ended up here, in the best lab to study it!

Why should someone not in the field of freshwater sciences care about your work?

It takes a team to study lakes! Rohwer's 2015 undergraduate sampling team pauses for a picture. Photo: Robin Rohwer.
It takes a team to study lakes! Rohwer’s 2015 undergraduate sampling team pauses for a picture. Photo: Robin Rohwer.

Microbes are major players in lakes, and many are beneficial. They impact global warming by cycling carbon between carbon dioxide and the even more potent green house gas methane. Some microbes produce the methane, but others consume it. Understanding the net effect requires understanding the whole community of microbes, which is what I study. For another example, microbes also impact water quality. Cyanobacteria can form toxic blooms, but their abundance is modulated by other microbes in the take. I study the entire community of microbes to understand how this interplay results in positive or negative environmental outcomes.

Stop by room 102 in the Water Science and Engineering Lab today at noon for the talk. Or follow updates at #cflseminar!