Thursday, July 2, 2009

Featured Research by Janel Hanrahan

Hanrahan, J.L, S.V. Kravstov, P.J. Roebber. 2009. Quasi-periodic decadal cycles in levels of Michigan and Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 35:30-35.

In this paper, Janel Hanrahan and colleagues describe their discovery of two multi-decadal cycles in the water levels of the Michigan-Huron system, which they believe stem from previously identified cycles in the North Atlantic region. Changes in precipitation appear to play a key role in the transmission of these cycles.

According to Janel, this discovery may eventually allow predictions of lake-level changes to be made beyond a few months in advance. This is important because the lakes provide transportation for shipping, hydroelectric power, sustenance, and recreation for more than 30 million people and lake-level variations can have immediate and profound impacts on the economy and environment.

Janel is currently a Ph.D. student in the Mathematics Department at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Her research focuses on atmospheric science, which nicely integrates her favourite disciplines of Mathematics and Computer Science. This paper represents an exciting accomplishment for Janel because it is her first publication!

Featured Professional: Lynda Corkum

Lynda Corkum is a professor of aquatic ecology at the University of Windsor, Ontario. Lynda studies the ecology and behaviour of fishes, much of which involves close collaboration with government agencies. She especially enjoys working and forming friendships with her students and colleagues.

Lynda grew up in Toronto, but loved the outdoors, especially summer camp in Haliburton where she became “Head of Nature,” and taught swimming and canoeing. She completed her education at Drake University (B.A., M.A.) and the University of Toronto (Ph.D.), where she also met her husband, Jan Ciborowski. After 7 years of postdoc and consultant work in Alberta, Lynda returned to Ontario to work at the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes regional office in Windsor and earn a B.Ed. degree. She became a permanent faculty member at the Univ. of Windsor in 1994 and eventually became Associate Dean of Science. In addition to all these accomplishments, Lynda has been secretary of the North American Benthological Society, president of the International Association of Great Lakes Research, and associate editor for both. Lynda is someone who likes to work hard, help people, and learn something new each day.

Featured Student or Postdoc: Bethany Thurber

Bethany is new to Ontario, hailing from southwestern Nova Scotia. She completed an undergraduate Honour’s degree at Acadia University where she studied the breeding biology of sundews and roses. To gain experience with a different study system, she moved to the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, to pursue a graduate degree in avian ecology and evolution with professors Chris Guglilemo and Phil Taylor. Bethany’s M.Sc. research focuses on bird migration through the Great Lakes region. She is studying the migratory flight responses of migrating birds as well as their behavioural ecology at an important stopover site (the rest and refuelling portion of migration) at Long Point, Lake Erie.

Bethany is tracking birds using modified marine radar and radio-telemetry to answer several research questions within the general theme of stopover behaviour and ecology. Her main interests include the specific effects of weather and body condition on the timing of arrival to and departure from stopover sites, and how the topographical features of a landscape affect flight altitude, heading, and speed.

This work is important, because the Great Lakes present a major geographic barrier to migrating birds, and flight responses to weather conditions paired with topographical shifts provide important clues to the migratory success of individual birds.

Instructions to contributors

I'm looking for female students and professionals to profile on upcoming issues of The Siscowette! If you would like to be profiled, please contact Yolanda at Contributors will be asked to prepare a 200 word biography.