Science Articles

Articles specific to the primary branches of science including climate change, water quality, archaeology and more.

Dave Cooper awarded John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology

Dave Cooper awarded John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology

(NPS News Release) Join us in congratulating David J. Cooper, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Archeologist and Cultural Resource Manager, in being awarded the John L. Cotter Award for Excellence in NPS Archeology for Professional Achievement. “Dave Cooper’s work shows the impact one person can have not only within a park, but across a whole landscape,” said Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Superintendent Lynne Dominy. “Dave has spent his lifetime protecting the historical and cultural resources on and around Lake Superior. From portages to fish camps to lighthouses and shipwrecks, Dave...

Advanced technology science mission to study Lake Superior fish launches in Ashland

Advanced technology science mission to study Lake Superior fish launches in Ashland

Blue skies and a stiff breeze marked the launch ceremony for an advanced technology mission designed to improve the accuracy of fish population measurement in the Apostle Islands and beyond. That breeze will be important, as the wind is what will power two uncrewed sailboat-like drones as they sail predetermined patterns across Lake Superior with solar-powered hydroacoustic equipment and nearly two dozen other scientific instruments onboard. The US Geological Survey (USGS) and and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission invited dignitaries and journalists to the launch event on the dock next to...

New mission details: unmanned research vessels Llaunch in Ashland on Tuesday

New mission details: unmanned research vessels Llaunch in Ashland on Tuesday

Two bright orange, solar-powered sailing vessels will launch from Ashland this week on a mission to study the changing fish populations in the Apostle Islands and across Lake Superior. One goal is to better track the sustainability of lake trout populations, by gathering more precise data about the prey fish the trout eat.Saildrones being assembled at the Great Lakes Science Center Ashland Biological Station dock – Dave Olson photoThe US Geological Survey (USGS) says the month-long fisheries science mission will involve two uncrewed saildrones from Saildrone, Inc., and two two long-range...

Unmanned Sailing Vessels to Study Fish Populations in the Apostle Islands

Unmanned Sailing Vessels to Study Fish Populations in the Apostle Islands

They might be the strangest looking sailboats that you’ve ever seen navigating the Apostles, but later this month, two bright orange saildrones, with no sailors onboard, will be traversing Lake Superior, collecting data about fish populations. Two 23-foot-long Uncrewed Surface Vehicles (USVs) are scheduled to launch from Ashland on August 8th, as part of a research project by the US Geological Survey (USGS). These scientific sailboats operate on wind power and solar power. They will use acoustic, or sound technology to gather fish distribution and density data around-the-clock, near Madeline...

The Big Chill: What causes dramatic changes in Lake Superior water temperatures?

The Big Chill: What causes dramatic changes in Lake Superior water temperatures?

After a hot, sweaty hike, there’s nothing more refreshing than a dip in the lake at Julian Bay Beach on Stockton Island. If Lake Superior stays calm enough long enough, the shallowest water, warmed by the sun, can be pleasantly refreshing. Wade out farther and you’ll find the significantly colder water just a few feet below the surface. However, if you throw in some wind and waves, the water temperature can and does drop dramatically. On a much larger scale, surface water temperatures in Lake Superior are always changing, as they are in Julian Bay. In late July surface water temperatures on...

Lakeshore Logbook – Lane Johnson

Lakeshore Logbook – Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. This is the 29th in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. Lane Johnson worked as an Archaeological Technician with the Resource Management Division with a fair bit of natural...

Lakeshore Logbook – Stu Whipple

Lakeshore Logbook – Stu Whipple

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebration, we are collecting and sharing the stories of people connected to the islands, whether they are park guests, former residents or former park employees. This is the 24th in our series called “Lakeshore Logbook,” a collection of memories provided by former National Park Service employees. Living and working in the park on a day to day basis, they’ve experienced a lot to be sure. We hope you enjoy their perspectives. C. Stuart (Stu) Whipple worked as Stockton Island Ranger in 2011 and 2013.After a long career teaching at the university level, Stu...

Real-time wave information expands for paddlers and boaters in the Apostle Islands

Real-time wave information expands for paddlers and boaters in the Apostle Islands

APOSTLE ISLANDS NATIONAL LAKESHORE, WISCONSIN (Wisconsin Sea Grant News Release)  – The brains behind the SeaCavesWatch.org website have developed a new website that offers real-time wave condition information for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Lake Superior. Before venturing onto the lake, paddlers and boaters should check WISC-Watch, which stands for Water Information for a Safe Coast Watch. The WISC-Watch site provides information from seven spotter buoys recently deployed throughout the islands, plus Chequamegon Bay near Ashland and Siskiwit Bay near Cornucopia. The buoys...

Scientists discover tiny new species on Outer Island

Scientists discover tiny new species on Outer Island

You'll never see it without a microscope but a newly-documented species calls Outer Island home. And it's named for a retired water quality specialist from the Great Lakes Inventory and Monitoring Network division of the National Park Service. We're talking about a microscopic species of algae, Semiorbis eliasiae, named after Joan Elias, of the Great Lakes Network. These diatoms have ornate cell walls made of opaline silica, or biologically-produced glass. When the diatoms die, these skeleton-like fragments settle to the bottom of shallow lagoons, including a lagoon on Outer Island, in the...

Prescribed pile burns scheduled for Raspberry and Michigan Islands during week of June 13th

Prescribed pile burns scheduled for Raspberry and Michigan Islands during week of June 13th

The National Park Service says piles of accumulated wood debris at the Raspberry and Michigan Island light station cultural landscapes will be burned later this month.   In a statement, the Park Service said, "Weather permitting, prescribed burning of these piles is scheduled during the week of June 13th with the assistance of the National Park Service's Black Hills Fire Module.  Wind, humidity, smoke dispersion and surface moisture will be assessed before igniting any fires.  Please be aware that smoke may be visible." The Park Service said a 19-acre prescribed burn on the Highbush Unit,...