Our Freshwater Future: The Ecology, Economics, and Politics of the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a globally unique resource containing diverse ecosystems with growing political influence via the freshwater “blue economy”. Our Freshwater Future will take participants on an in-depth exploration of the ecology of the Great Lakes through scientific storytelling. From the formation of the lakes millennia ago to the interactions of native and introduced freshwater organisms today, the seminar will then look to the future of water quality and quantity in changing climatic and political times. The shores of Lake Michigan will provide an ideal setting to meet the organisms that depend on the lakes, from microscopic algae to fourth-generation fishermen. Participants will be fully immersed in the Great Lakes through daily interactive discussions, and optional afternoon fieldtrips to an ecological restoration site and/or local fishery.
Required Reading: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-393-24643-8
Peter Levi ‘01 is a graduate of Lawrence and started his career in freshwater ecology alongside Seilheimer (’00) in 1999 during Bart DeStasio’s (’83) limnology course. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability at Drake University (Des Moines, IA) where he teaches courses in freshwater science, leads the Stream Ecosystem Ecology Lab, and conducts local and regional outreach. His research addresses the health and water quality of streams flowing through human-dominated landscapes, such as urban and agricultural watersheds. Prior to Drake, Levi studied Great Lakes tributaries while at UW-Madison and the University of Notre Dame. Some of his most fond memories from Lawrence are Septembers at Bjorklunden during cross country season.
Titus Seilheimer ‘00 is a graduate of Lawrence and it was there that his love of aquatic ecology and limnology developed into the dream of a career. He is currently a fisheries specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant where he leads research, outreach, and education activities around Great Lakes fisheries and ecosystems. Seilheimer has spent nearly 100 days on Lake Michigan commercial fishing boats. His past research took him to all five Great Lakes and the Great Plains in wetlands, streams, and springs. Seilheimer enjoyed his times at Lawrence, especially class trips to Bjorklunden, and returned to the Bjorklunden chapel in 2003 to marry fellow Lawrence biology major Amy Fettes (‘99).