What can the Great Lakes teach us about ecology, climate change, and more?

The Great Lakes

Badger Talks Quick Picks

A fish’s view of 20,000 years of Great Lakes ecology

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Talk description

The Great Lakes were geologically speaking under ice very recently, so how did their ecosystems develop? Taking the perspective of the collective memories of lake trout, Dr. Titus Seilheimer will tell the story of the development and change of the Great Lakes ecosystems and food webs. You might not look at the lakes the same way again.

About the speaker

Titus is a widely trained and experienced Great Lakes aquatic ecologist who specializes in fish habitat and ecology. He grew up in the Chippewa River watershed of northwestern Wisconsin, studied biology at Lawrence University and McMaster University, and has more than 20 years of experience in Great Lakes science. He lives in Manitowoc, WI with his family and enjoys paddling on Lake Michigan and peddling his bike around the local country roads.

Plastics: Tiny Debris with Great (Lakes) Impacts

To be released on June 18

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Talk description

Join us in breaking down the problem of plastics in our Great Lakes. We’ll unravel sources of this pollution, barriers to cleaning it up, and innovative solutions to restore a healthy lake ecosystem.

About the speaker

Anne Moser has served as Senior Special Librarian and Education Coordinator for Wisconsin Sea Grant since 2008, where she manages the print and digital collections of the Wisconsin Water Library, brings Great Lakes Literacy to young learners, and organizes professional learning experiences for formal and non-formal educators. She has led several projects in support of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s goal of intersecting the arts, sciences and humanities to achieve a science-informed society. Moser has a BA in Spanish and Art History and MA in Library and Information Studies.

How Will the Great Lakes Respond to Our Changing Winters?

To be released on June 25

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Talk description

Climate change is rapidly altering the length, severity, and timing of Midwestern winters. Aquatic ecosystems, like the Great Lakes, are adapted to having long periods of ice and cold, meaning the loss of historical winter conditions can have substantial impacts on entire lake ecosystems, from plankton to fish. This talk explores how shorter, warmer winters are already influencing Great Lakes ecosystems, from reduced ice cover to increased algal blooms and changing habitat for important fish.

About the speaker

Dr. Zach Feiner (he/his) is a fisheries research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology. His research focuses on inland freshwater ecosystems, including the impacts of climate change on freshwater fisheries, angler behavior and the effects of fishing on ecological and evolutionary processes in fish populations, and the importance of changing phenology to the function of aquatic ecosystems. In addition to his research, Zach co-chairs the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) Fisheries Working Group, tasked with identifying and developing adaptation strategies for climate risks to Wisconsin fisheries.

Badger Talks Podcast

The GREAT Great Lakes and Sea Grant

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About the speaker

Moira Harrington is thrilled to work for two programs–Sea Grant and the University of Wisconsin Water Resources Institute–that promote the sustainable use of Wisconsin’s water resources, with a special focus on groundwater and the Great Lakes. As a communicator, Moira tells those water stories through social media, video, podcasting and print and web content.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: The Ship, The Storm, The Song

To be released on June 18

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About the speaker

Steve Ackerman moved to Wisconsin in 1987, accepting a research scientist position in the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC). He joined the UW-Madison faculty in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 1992. Professor Ackerman served as Director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) from 1999-2019. This research organization is a collaboration between the UW-Madison, and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Wisconsin is widely recognized as the birth place of weather satellites, and CIMSS is key to Wisconsin’s current reputation.

He served as Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at UW-Madison between 2019-2023. This position provides institutional leadership in research and graduate education across campus with responsibilities for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives that seek to maintain and enhance excellence in these areas.

Recognition awards include being elected fellow to the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in 2014 and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in 2011. He received the AMS Teaching Excellence Award in 2009 and a UW-Madison Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1999. He is also a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2010.

He, along with Professor Jonathan Martin, is one of the ‘weather guys’, who appear monthly on Wisconsin Public Radio to discuss the weather and climate. They also write a weekly blog (http://wxguys.ssec.wisc.edu/) and a column for the Wisconsin State Journal which answer people’s weather questions.