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Celebrating Two Decades of Watery Research

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Celebrating Two Decades of Watery Research

UMD is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) this summer. Since 1994, staff from this world-class research institute have been traveling the globe, working to understand how lakes function, how they behaved in the past, and what will happen to them in the coming years. Their work has gained international attention in the areas of aquatic chemistry, geochemistry and paleoclimatology.

ABOUT LLO

Since 1994, LLO has grown to its present size of 10 faculty members who focus their research on a variety of sciences including aquatic chemistry, geochemistry and paleoclimatology. Its international reputation has gained the collaboration of field programs and research scientists on six continents.

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The bright yellow device in front of the group is LLO’s Webb Research Autonomous Underwater Glider (UAV).

In addition to housing a vibrant graduate program, which attracts students from Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, China, Malaysia and the Netherlands, LLO provides unique research opportunities to undergraduates. In the past few years UMD undergraduates have participated in field programs in Indonesia, Mexico, Malawi, as well as on Lake Superior. Close ties have been formed with institutes in Canada, Uganda, France, Norway, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Nicaragua, Malawi, Tanzania and England, as well as with many universities within the United States.

THE R/V BLUE HERON

The LLO operates the largest university-owned research vessel in the Great Lakes. The R/V Blue Heron was purchased with LCMR support in 1997, and is the only member of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) on the Great Lakes.

The ship is outfitted with state-of-the-art research equipment that provides unique capabilities for observing Lake Superior. Although LLO is the lead organization on this proposal, researchers from other parts of the University of Minnesota Duluth, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are involved in collaborative research.

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The Blue Heron (shown here on its arrival to Duluth harbor) was built in 1985 for fishing on the Grand Banks. It was purchased by the University of Minnesota in 1997, sailed from Portland, Maine, up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Duluth, and converted into a limnological research vessel during the winter of 1997-98.

SCIENCE FRIDAYS

LLO offers Science Fridays throughout the summer. These family-friendly events are free and feature a different topic about Lake Superior and freshwater research at each session. This year LLO has a new tent to cover the back deck, offering protection from the sun, wind, and rain. The last two 2014 Science Fridays will take place from 12:30-4:30 pm on August 22 and September 26, 2014. The August 22 session will celebrate LLO’s 20th Anniversary. The presentation starts at 3:30 pm but the public may come aboard the Blue Heron starting at 12:30 pm.

LATEST NEWS & HAPPENINGS WITH LLO

- NSF Awards $8.97M Grant to UMD To Construct Antarctica Research Drilling Platform. What can Antarctic ice reveal to UMD researchers?
– UMD Announces New Director of Large Lakes Observatory. Meet Dr. Robert W. Sterner.
– Sam Kelly Awarded a National Science Foundation Grants. He’s heading to Tasmania.
– Large Lakes Observatory Research Alters Knowledge of Human Population Growth. What did the sediments in Lake Malwai tell UMD researchers?

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Built in 1985 for fishing on the Grand Banks, the Blue Heron was purchased by the University of Minnesota in 1997, sailed from Portland, Maine, up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Duluth, and converted into a limnological research vessel during the winter of 1997-98.

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This article appeared on the University of Minnesota Duluth homepage in July 2014, and was written by Cheryl Reitan of UMD External Affairs.

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