MERHAB-LGL is a multi-institutional program between 8 different universities. Each institution and PI has their own unique focus. The investigators and their respective areas of expertise are summarized below.
Focus: Dr. Boyer is responsible for the overall coordination of MERHAB-LGL as well as studies on Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. His research interests include the development of rapid analytical techniques to measure algal toxins, field monitoring methods and the movement of toxins through the food chain. A natural products chemist by training, he runs the toxin analysis laboratory for the toxin analysis lab for MERHAB-LGL and analyzes samples submited from accross the United States and Canada.
Focus: Dr. Watzin is the Director of the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory located in Burlington VT. Her research focuses on documenting the harmful algal bloom problem in Lake Champlain, and on developing partnership approaches for monitoring toxic blooms. Citizen monitors are used to collect samples in shoreline areas where scums can accumulate. These samples are analyzed for cyanobacteria abundance and toxin concentration. These results are incorporated into an alert framework and the monitoring results posted weekly on a Web site. Dr. Watzin is also interested in understanding the nutrient dynamics and food web relationships that can facilitate cyanobacteria dominance.
Focus: Dr. Mihuc is the director of the Lake Champlain Research Institute (LCRI) in Plattsburgh NY. His research focus is on the Lake Champlain plankton community composition and relationships between these species, zooplankton, and the lake-wide distribution of cyanobacterial toxins. LCRI supports a number of undergraduate researchers working on MERHAB-LGL.
Focus: Dr. Makarewicz's research interests are on Lake Ontario and its interactions with the embayments and watersheds along New York’s northern coastline. He is interested in using ecosystem approaches to manage point and non-point sources of nutrients in both urban and rural watersheds, phytoplankton - zooplankton interactions, hydrologic and nutrient budgets, and the development of indicators for successful remediation efforts.
Focus: Dr. Wilhelm's research interests are in using molecular techniques and tools to monitor for toxic cyanobacteria in Lake Erie. Included in this is the development of quantitative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) techniques for differentiating between toxic and non-toxic variants in the same population. He is also interested in the interactions between cyanophages and toxic cyanobacteria in aquatic systems.
Focus: Dr. Atkinson's focus is on the development of hydrodynamic and transport models that can be used to predict the movement and development of a harmful algal bloom in the Lower Great Lakes. These models are currently being developed for all three lakes (Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain) and, once validated, will be available on the web for individual users.
Focus: Dr. Sultan is the director of the Earth Sciences Remote Sensing Lab at Western Michigan University. His interests are in the application of remote sensing and satellite imagery to the study of freshwater Harmful algal blooms, with a special emphasis on the development on new algorithms for the detection of phycocyanin-containing species.
Focus: Dr. O'Neill is a member of the New York Sea Grant's cooperative extension and coordinator of their invasive species program. His interests in MERHAB are in community outreach, public participation and the dissemination of scientific results to the lay public.