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Minnesota Sea Grant's Newest Projects Begin

Collecting water samples. Photo by Chris J. Benson.

Minnesota Sea Grant awarded $882,000 to fund research projects spanning 2014-2016. The funding, which is provided by the National Sea Grant College Program and matched by the University of Minnesota, comes with an additional $458,000 to support four graduate research assistants. The projects are:

Decision-Support Tools to Address North Shore Tourism and Climate Change
The adaptive planning and visualization tools resulting from this project will help guide Minnesota’s coastal communities and their policies as they manage both tourism and altered weather patterns.

Contact: Mae Davenport, Forest Resources, University of Minnesota

Community Resilience in Response to Flooding
This research examines how two communities along the St. Louis River, a major Lake Superior tributary, fared during and after a catastrophic flood. A civil engineering component to this study assesses infrastructure in both communities that could be compromised in future floods.

Contact: Karlyn Eckman, Water Resources Center, University of Minnesota

How Nitrogen, Sulfates and Sulfides Influence Wild Rice
The research team is teasing apart the biogeochemical interactions between
sulfate, nitrogen and the productivity of wild rice beds. With Sea Grant funds, they are quantifying the conversion of sulfate to sulfide and the detrimental effects of sulfide on northern wild rice populations. This research will help ascertain if the current state standard for sulfate sufficiently protects Minnesota’s wild rice beds.

Contact: John Pastor, Biology, University of Minnesota Duluth

The History of Aquatic Conditions in the St. Louis River Estuary
Researchers are examining sediment layers and their fossilized diatoms and chemical makeup to comment on ecological and water quality trends in the St. Louis River Estuary over the last 300 years. The estuary is one of 43 Areas of Concern identified in the Great Lakes. The results are expected to indicate
the success of rehabilitation programs that are important to the delisting of
beneficial use impairments in the area of concern.

Contact: Euan Reavie, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

Uncultured: Improvements on Beach Monitoring and Tracking Sources of Fecal Bacteria
Using a metagenomics DNA sequencing approach, this project will establish a "library" of fecal bacteria commonly found in the Lake Superior watershed. This library will help to determine the diversity and abundance of human and animal fecal bacteria on regional beaches. The researchers expect this study will improve the predictive power of beach monitoring tests, which currently trigger unnecessary closures and advisories.

Contact: Michael Sadowsky, Biotechnology Institute, University of Minnesota

By Sea Grant Staff
July 2014

Return to July 2014 Seiche

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