Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Prior to my time at Lake State, my professors rarely learned students' names and my classes often felt impersonal. I didn't realize how important that faculty interaction could be until I spent a few weeks here. The personal attention is motivating, often pushing me to work harder than I would have otherwise.

Fisheries & Wildlife '10

School of Biological Sciences

Dedicated Faculty

Thomas Allan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1973, Central Michigan University
M.S. 1978, Michigan Technological University
Ph.D. 1984, University of Maine

Faculty Interaction

Benjamin Turschak"Prior to my time at Lake State, my professors rarely learned students’ names and my classes often felt impersonal.  I didn’t realize how important that faculty interaction could be until I spent a few weeks here.  The personal attention is motivating, often pushing me to work harder than I would have otherwise."

-Benjamin Turschak
2010 LSSU F&W Graduate

Importance of Faculty Advising

Ashley Moerke Ph.D.Students at Lake Superior State University chose biology professor Ashley Moerke Ph.D. as the 2011 recipient of the university's Excellence in Academic Advising Award.

Moerke has mentored more than 35 undergraduate students on thesis projects. More than half of these thesis students have presented their research at regional or national scientific meetings. She has also published more than 20 scientific papers and book chapters, nine of which were authored or co-authored by LSSU undergraduates. In her role as biology professor and co-director of LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory, she has acquired grant funding to employ more than 30 LSSU students and provide many more with excellent hands-on experiences. She has encouraged and supported 100-plus students to attend professional scientific conferences and helped them foster professional networks.

Her former students are in graduate study or professional research positions at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Florida, Idaho State University, Utah State University, Colorado State University, Central Michigan University, Northern Michigan University, and the University of Wisconsin.

Many have careers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Michigan DNR and DEQ; state departments of fish and wildlife in California, Florida, and Wyoming; the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources; and various nature centers and watershed councils.

Faculty Mentors

The senior thesis is the capstone experience for all students in the School of Biological Sciences at LSSU. Students choose a topic, design a study, collect and analyze the data, write a scientific paper and present the information to the university community and interested members of the public. Projects typically take 2 years for the students to design and complete, and often address practical issues of local biological and environmental concerns. Students work on these projects, as professional scientists, in conjucntion with a faculty mentor.


Biology students at LSSU benefit from a low student to faculty ratio. Most upper level classes have 30 students or less and laboratory sections are often limited to less than 15 students. This affords the faculty time to interact individually with closely with students to ensure that they have the opportunity to apply the laboratory and field skills required of professional scientists. ABOVE: Students in Dr. John Roese's (right) Wildlife Management class are instructed in the use of tools used to chemically immobilize wild animals.

More Than a Faculty Member

Lake Superior State University biology professor Dr. Dennis Merkel, left and wearing red, helps the Sleeseman family and friends move Joe Sleeseman, second from left, into Brady residence hall. Sleeseman, an incoming fisheries and wildlife management major from Blanchard, Mich., joined about 1,000 fellow students on campus move-in day.


Derek Crane, Ph.D.

Research Associate
B.A. 2006 Lycoming College
M.S. 2008 University of Michigan
Ph.D. 2013 State University of New York


Barbara I. Evans, Ph.D

Barbara I. Evans, Ph.D.

B.Sc. 1980 University of Ottawa, Canada
Ph.D. 1986 University of Kansas


Jason Garvon, Ph.D

Jason Garvon, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1998, Northern Michigan University
M.S. 2001, Northern Michigan University
Ph.D. 2005, Texas A&M University - Kingsville

Neal Godby, Jr.

Adjunct Professor
Senior Fisheries Biologist, Michigan DNR
B.S. 1994, University of Michigan
M..S. 2000, University of Michigan

Sheri Glowinski, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
B.A. 2001, Northeastern Illinois University
Ph.D. 2013, University of Southern Mississippi

Martha Hutchens, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
B.S. 2003, Michigan State University
Ph.D. 2008, University of Michigan

Kevin Kapuscinski, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
B.S. 1999, University of Wisconsin
M.S. 2002, University of Wisconsin
Ph.D., 2011, State University of New York

Lucas Kirby, Ph.D.

B.A. 2005, Lemoyne College
M.S. State University of New York
Ph.D. State University of New York

Nancy Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.

Chair, School of Biological Sciences
B.S. 1972, Miami University
M.S. 1979, Miami University
Ph.D. 1993, Miami University


Jun Li, Ph.D

Jun Li, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1992, Wuhan University
M.S. 1995, Institute of Hydobiology
Ph.D. 2002, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dennis Merkel, Ph.D

Dennis Merkel, Ph.D.

B.S. 1977, State University of New York
MS 1983, State University of New York
Ph.D. 1988, Michigan State University

Ashley Moerke, Ph.D

Ashley Moerke, Ph.D.

B.S. 1996, University of Minnesota Duluth
M.S. 2000, University of Notre Dame
Ph.D. 2004, University of Notre Dame


Britton D. Ranson-Olson, Ph.D

Britton Ranson-Olson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
B.S. 1999, Lake Superior State University
M.S. 2001, Michigan Technological University
Ph.D. 2007 Oakland University

John Roese, Ph.D.

B.S. 1982, Stephen F. Austin State University
M.S. 1984, Stephen F. Austin State University
Ph.D. 1989, Texas A & M University


Donna White

Donna White

Academic Assistant

Gregory Zimmerman, Ph.D.

B.S. 1977, Fort Hays State University
M.S. 1981, Oklahoma State University
M.S. 1983, North Dakota State University
Ph.D. 1987, Colorado State University



Investigat- ing the Use of QPCR: An Early Detection Method for Toxic Cyano- bacterial Bloom

Garrett Aderman

Harmful algal blooms (HABs), including cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs), are a global phenomenon. In the US, annual economic loss due to HABs was recently estimated at $82 million. Furthermore, the consensus amongst the scientific community is that the frequency and duration of CHABs in freshwater systems will increase as a result of climate change and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. Due to the ability of some strains of CHAB genera to produce toxic compounds, larger and more sustained CHAB events will become an even greater threat to drinking water. Of all the known cyantoxoins, one of the most ubiquitous is microcystin (MCY). Humans are primarily exposed to cyantoxins through drinking water consumption and accidental ingestion of recreational water. The increasing risk presented by these toxins requires health officials and utilities to improve their ability to track the occurrence and relative toxicity. Current tracking methods do not distinguish between toxic and non-toxic strains. Biochemical techniques for analyzing the toxins are showing considerable potential as they are relatively simple to run and low cost. My goal was to develop a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to measure the amount of mcyE gene in a Lake Erie drinking water and compare the levels of the mcyE to toxin produced. This is the first step to determining if the presence of mcyE of the mycrocystin synthestase gene cluster in Microcystits, Planktothrix and Anabaena cells can be used as the quantitative measurement in an early detection warning system for recreational and drinking waters.

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