“The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.” — Lewis Thomas
BIO/EVS 385 - The Ecology, Geography, and Health of Lakes
A single Creighton ecology field course will be offered this summer – The Ecology, Geography, and Health of Lakes (BIO / EVS 385). The course will begin on Wednesday, May 9 and will end with a return to campus on Saturday, June 2. The course is open to all of our Biology and Environmental Science students, with the only pre-requisite being BIO 212 (General Biology – spring semester). This course is taught every second or third summer, and will not be taught again until May, 2015. The first three days of the course are in Omaha, with morning lectures and afternoon field and laboratory work. The following Monday (May 14) the class will depart for the first of two travel circuits. The first circuit will start at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, on West Okoboki Lake, then to lakes near Ely in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota, and will finish with a visit and sampling of Lake Superior and adjacent North Shore locations, including Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse. We will stay in a well equipped, 4 bedroom cabin at Lakeside Laboratory, a rental cottage on Bear Island Lake near Ely, and a motel at Silver Bay on Lake Superior. After a brief (1 1/2 day) return to Omaha, the class will depart on a second travel circuit that includes alkaline lakes at and adjacent to Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the scenic Western Nebraska Sandhills and a six day stay at the University of Colorado’s Mountain Research Station at Niwot Ridge. We will stay in cabins at Mountain Research Station, in a Spruce-Fir zone at 9,600 feet. The class will sample alpine lakes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness and at Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain work will involve day hikes in mountain terrain.
We will use two, extended cab F-150 4x4 vehicles. For the first circuit we will trailer and use the Biology Department’s 18’ Sundance Skiff, which has a center console and a large weight capacity and working deck space. The boat is powered by a 90 hp Mercury Marine engine. We will trailer a smaller Lowe 15’ aluminum jon boat with 10 hp Johnson engine and a 14’ Grumman aluminum canoe for the second circuit. The second truck (Creighton Biology vehicle) has a topper over the bed and will carry all our personal gear and additional equipment. At most locations, we will prepare our own meals (be prepared to eat very well).
Equipment used includes the department’s $12,000 YSI 6600 multi-instrument sonde with data logger; Ponar bottom dredge, Van Dorn water sampler, plankton nets, Li-Cor underwater light sensors, sonar, Magellan Mobile Mapper GPS, digital cameras and underwater housings, and portable pumps, filtration apparatus, UV-VIS Spectronics scanning spectrometer, and analytical reagents and lab ware. Students will learn foundational remote sensing and image analysis techniques, and the class will travel with notebook computers with MS Office, ENVI image analysis, Google Earth Pro, statistical / graphics programs, and satellite imagery of our study areas.
The field work will be interspersed with class and field lectures and laboratory analysis of samples. Class assignments are: a set of five, 30 point quizzes, two laboratory reports, and a comprehensive field notebook and journal. The textbook is Gerald Mackie’s “Applied Aquatic Ecosystem Concepts”. Kendall Hunt Publishing Company. Dubuque, IA (2nd edition, 2004; ISBN-13: 978-0757508837; new copies are about $110, and use copies are available from Amazon.com, and currently range from about $38 to $65). Due to the nature of the field work and travel arrangements, the class is limited to six students.
Please contact the course instructor, Dr. John Schalles (JohnSchalles@creighton.edu) with questions and/or requests for additional information, including a course syllabus and travel itinerary. Dr. Schalles is Professor of Biology and Director of the Environmental Science program at Creighton. He has taught field travel courses most summers since the early 1980s and several hundred former and current Creighton students have taken his summer travel courses. Dr. Schalles is an aquatic scientist, with current field work and remote sensing research sponsored by NOAA, NASA, and NSF. The teaching assistant for the course is Mr. John O’Donnell. John is a senior with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. He was the teaching assistant for last summer’s Coastal & Estuarine Ecology class, fall semester’s Freshwater Ecology Laboratory, and this semester’s Zoology class. He has been conducting research with Dr. Schalles for almost two years, including eleven weeks last summer on the Gulf and East coasts.
Information on the field destinations and locations we will visit can be found at:
Iowa Lakeside Laboratory: http://www.
Ely and Boundary Waters: http://www.ely.org/
International Wolf Center: http://www.wolf.org/wolves/
Northern Lakes Lodge: http://www.northern-lights-lodge. com/
North Shore of Lake Superior: http://www.northshoreinfo.com/
Nebraska Sandhills: http://thenebraskasandhills. com/Home.html
Crescent Lake NWR: http://www.fws.gov/crescentlake/
Mountain Research Station: http://www.colorado.edu/mrs/
Rocky Mountain National Park: http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area: http://www. coloradowilderness.com/wildpages/indian.html and http://indianpeakswilderness.org/