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Grand Valley State University    
  May 25, 2018
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Annis Water Resources Institute - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  section in this catalog.

Chair: Steinman. Professors: Luttenton, Rediski, Steinman; Associate Professors: Biddanda, McNair, Ruetz; Assistant Professor: Thum; Associate Research Scientists: Koches, Vail.

The Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) is an academic unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) committed to the study of freshwater resources. The mission of the Institute is to integrate research, education, and outreach to enhance and preserve freshwater resources.


AWRI seeks to accomplish this mission through:

  • Research into major questions about our water resources, including: ecosystem structure and function; contaminants and toxicology; hydrology; land use; watershed, stream, and wetland ecology; water quality; and basic and applied limnology.
  • Public education for a variety of groups, including K-12, university students, and the community.
  • Outreach to ensure that decision makers are equipped with the best available knowledge on environmental and water resource-related issues, to reduce the uncertainty associated with their resource management decisions.

Students interested in pursuing an aquatic sciences emphasis within the Master of Science in Biology degree program at Grand Valley State University may do so at the Annis Water Resources Institute. These students can select a faculty member at AWRI as their major advisor or as committee members for their thesis research in the aquatic sciences. Broad areas of research at AWRI include aquatic ecology, hydrology, environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, microbial ecology, aquatic molecular ecology, and fisheries ecology. Students are encouraged to contact individual faculty members to learn more about specific areas of research.

Career Opportunities

Professional and career opportunities for graduate students pursuing an aquatic sciences emphasis within the Master of Science in Biology degree program include jobs in higher education, government, non-governmental organizations, and private consulting firms.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

AWRI is housed in the Lake Michigan Center, which is located on the Muskegon Lake waterfront in Muskegon, Michigan. The Lake Michigan Center features a full analytical chemistry laboratory, research laboratories, experimental mesocosm tanks, a geospatial technologies information center, and a boat fleet that includes two research vessels as well as a variety of smaller boats including an electroshocking boat. Students working at AWRI are encouraged to work in a collaborative environment, taking advantage of the physical resources and our nine principal investigators (7 faculty members, 2 associate research scientists), who have a passion for research and education and represent a broad spectrum of focus areas within aquatic science. This collaborative spirit at AWRI stimulates student learning, promotes an interdisciplinary research environment, and promises a rewarding experience.

Participating Programs

AWRI works closely with faculty from other departments on campus, including Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Geography, Statistics, and Economics. We encourage multi-disciplinary approaches, and graduate committees often include faculty from other Universities or scientists from state agencies.

Scholarships: Undergraduate

D.J. Angus - Scientech Educational Foundations Internship
Each summer AWRI offers competitive summer semester internships made possible by a gift from the D.J. Angus-Scientech Educational Foundation, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. These internships are awarded to Grand Valley students majoring in the sciences, including engineering, computer, health, natural resources management, biological, chemical, and physical sciences.

R.B. Annis Undergraduate Student Internships
Each summer AWRI offers competitive summer semester internships made possible by a gift from the R.B. Annis Foundation. The internships are awarded to Grand Valley students from any discipline who will conduct research at the Annis Water Resources Institute during their undergraduate tenure at GVSU.

Bill and Diana Wipperfurth Student Research Scholarship
AWRI offers a student research scholarship made possible by a gift from Bill and Diana Wipperfurth. The Wipperfurths started this scholarship because of their love of water and wanted to support promotion of water quality, particularly in the Great Lakes. The scholarship is awarded to a full-time student at Grand Valley entering either their Junior year, Senior year, or at the graduate level.

Dr. Ronald W. Ward Scholarship
AWRI awards this scholarship, of up to $5,000 to undergraduate students studying the sciences and/or engineering at GVSU. Preference for this scholarship is given to students from the Indianapolis, IN area. Additional requirements include a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale) and an ACT score of at least 24 (or SAT of at least 1100).

Education/Outreach Internship and Volunteers
Opportunities are available to assist with the AWRI education and outreach program during spring semester. Pre-service teachers can gain hands-on experience with K-12 classes in the Annis Educational Classroom at the Lake Michigan Center and on the GVSU vessels. For more details, contact Janet Vail.

Scholarships: Graduate

AWRI has assistantships available to full-time graduate students interested in pursuing a Master of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis in aquatic sciences. Graduate assistantships are offered through three funding sources:

  • AWRI Graduate Research Assistantship
  • R.B. Annis Graduate Student Assistantship
  • Extramural Grant Support

These assistantships include a generous 12-month stipend and tuition waiver that is eligible for annual renewal. Accepted applicants will assist with research projects conducted by faculty and staff at AWRI in addition to performing research related to their thesis/project. Some of the current research projects at AWRI involve aquatic toxicology, chemical stressors on aquatic ecosystems, wetland ecology, invasive species, nonpoint source pollution, hydrological modeling, primary productivity in streams and lakes, microbial ecology, and GIS-based investigations into watershed management. AWRI maintains state-of-the-art analytical and GIS laboratories, and has two research vessels and several smaller watercraft.

To be eligible for consideration, students must be accepted to the Master of Science degree program in the Department of Biology at GVSU as a full-time student, and a faculty member at AWRI must serve as their major advisor. Students interested in assistantships are strongly encouraged to contact prospective advisors at AWRI early in the application process.