Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

Amanda is currently working to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Where she is studying the behavior of fossil birds as interpreted through their footprints and other traces. Amanda recently traveled to South Korea to study Early Cretaceous bird tracks and has published two papers on fossil bird tracks, one in the journal Palaios and one in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology. Next, she will study Early Cretaceous fossil birds and bird tracks in China.

"My experience at Lake State, preparing an Undergraduate Thesis and seeing the project through definitely helped prepare me for graduate school. The interaction between the professors and the students at Lake State is far more similar to the interaction between a graduate student and their graduate advisor than the typical undergraduate student / undergraduate advisor rapport; it's much more personalized. It definitely helped prepare me for grad school."

Amanda Falk '07
Biology, minor in Chemistry

School of Biological Sciences

Gil Gleason Natural History Museum

Gilbert Gleason: A molder of minds - a builder of character

Gilbert ‘Gil’ Gleason began his career at Lake Superior State University in 1961 as a biology professor. He was trained as a wildlife biologist but was first and foremost a teacher. Gil could be called the Father of the Biology Department; he was one of the original professors, and also served as a surrogate father for many of his students. As one of their first college instructors, Professor Gleason not only taught his students the science of biology, he taught them how to study, how to manage time, and how to survive the entire college experience. By his example he showed them how to be trustworthy, to have respect for themselves, and their fellow students, as well as their teachers. In short, he taught them to be adults.

As an avid outdoorsman, Gil founded and built Lake Superior State University’s first Natural History Museum, using many of the African mounts, skulls, and skins collected by his father. Gil’s dedication to this project was demonstrated when he spent his sabbatical at Central Michigan University studying museum science. Upon his return, he actively involved students in the expanding and improving Lake Superior State University’s museum of Natural History. Throughout the years the museum has lived on through the contributions of many generations of students.

Gil was personally dedicated to all of his students and thrived on their success. His wife Maxine and their children supported this dedication to L.S.S.U. and had a profound influence on his character and overall success. In 1988 Gilbert Gleason retired from L.S.S.U., received Professor Emeritus status, and remains as one of the most highly respected teachers in the history of the University. During his years of service, one of Gil’s most important contributions was the increased recognition and respect for the university that he engendered.

This museum is dedicated to the memory of Gilbert Gleason.


Recent additions to the museum

Grey Wolf (Canis lupus)

This wolf was killed in 2012 when it was observed (along with several others) to be spending time around and between homes in Ironwood, MI. This specimen was donated to the LSSU by the MDNR and then professionally mounted thanks to ongoing donations to the Gil Gleason Natural History Museum.
Special Thanks:
    Douglas Reeves - Michigan DNR
    Erin Largent - Michigan DNR
    Soo Area Sportsmen's Club
    Jim Aili - Range Taxidermy

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

Update coming soon.
Special Thanks:
    Jim Knight - LSSU alumnus
    Jerry Killips - LSSU

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

This polar bear originated from Foxe Basin, in Canada’s Nunavut Territory and was illegally smuggled into the United States and later seized by the USFWS, Office of Law Enforcement and ultimately forfeited by the offender who was also issued a fine. This mount is on loan to Lake Superior State University for use in educating the public about polar bears, their management and conservation.
Special Thanks:
    James Fuller - USFWS
    Don Davis - U.S. Attorney
    Timothy Greeley - U.S. Magistrate Judge
    Jerry Killips - LSSU

Support the Gil Gleason Natural History Museum

Giving to the museum couldn't be easier. Use the LSSU Foundation's secure website to support the museum. When completing the online form, type in the words "Gil Gleason Museum" and the amount you would like to give, within the Other Gift Designaton. This will ensure your support is directed to the museum. All donations are used to professionally prepare specimens for the museum or to maintain the museum's displays.

Go to the secure form...



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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