About Diana Dalbotten

Diana Dalbotten is the Director of Diversity and Broader Impacts for the National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota; and for the Geoscience Alliance, a national alliance for broadening participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences.

More from Montana


>What an adventure in learning. I have to say this summer has taught me a lot and there is still so much to learn in such little time!! I am excited about it but also a little overwhelmed. The REU has been a wonderful experience. In the last couple of weeks Travis B and I have been extremely busy monitoring wells throughout the Pablo area as well as my sites at various culverts and staff gauges set up in the Mud Creek drainage. I have to give a shout out to my good buddy Kim for all of her amazingness. (If that is even a word). She has been a big part of my research and I owe her a lot for her dedication and willingness to assist. Unfortunately I don’t think she will be visiting us in Minnesota so I will use this format to thank her. THANKS KIMMY. Some of the photos included in this blog are various shots of me, Travis, and the places that we have been focusing our research on. Using culverts to determine discharge throughout the Mud Creek drainage and piezometers placed throughout the creek at different locations in order to observe the water levels in and around the creek. I have to say there are worse places to spend ones time and it has been a good adventure with lots of laughs and of course a ton of learning. I may have started this operation with little experience and know how, but will be ending it with a better understanding of how scientific research is conducted and presented. I am not sure but I think that is what this program is all about. There is much to do and as Jake posted earlier it is sure down to the wire and crunch time. Looking forward to meeting everyone in MN and seeing what everyone else has accomplished over the summer.


Crunch Time!


The past eight weeks have been a flash. Today is 7/30/2013, that means we have less than two weeks to finish our reports and posters. Our field work is done, our results are beginning to take shape, now it’s crunch time. Until we leave for Minnesota we are all going to get a lot of screen time. Team SPAW is getting deep into report writing mode, with most of the team hanging out in the lab writing and throwing ideas around about how to write the best report. We are also spending time analyzing how our results relate to our project and what implications they have. We look forward to presenting what we have been doing all summer at the all team meeting.

Big things poppin, lil’ things stoppin

One small step for DNA analysis, one big leap for PCR products. This week we managed to get PCR underfoot. For those who do not know what PCR is, I will give a brief introduction. PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. Basically, we mix a beautiful concoction of chemicals with extracted DNA that simulates how DNA replicates in the body. In PCR, a person can start with one strand of DNA, and by the end, there are actually billions of strands of DNA! It’s wowabunga cowabunnga crazygonutso awesome.

What importance does PCR have in this circumstance? Well, we used primers to replicate the DNA of a Trichobilharzia (Swimmer’s Itch)- infected snail. Lo and behold, we have so much Trichobilharzia DNA that we can actually send it for sequencing!!!!! This is big news guys, big news. I am posting a photo of the magic gel that showed us our success.


That brightly glowing line in the second row is Trichobilharzia DNA!! The first row is Snail DNA, and the bottom two are base pair ladders.

I can tell everyone it was beyond exciting to get such results.

Till next week


Last day at GNBZ

Today was our final day in the bog. We took one last core with some interesting results. We also took some water chemistry data to confirm our findings and results to this point. This area (site 5) was much closer to the human laid pipeline on the SE end of the bog near the end of the trail we had been using all summer to enter this area. The clay and silt layers found in this core are much more pronounced and featured than in any core we have taken to date from our site. Although, our analysis on this one will be limited due to time, the freshness of what we saw will help paint a more intricate picture of the past environment of the area.


Zachary Kisfalusi


Today Adrienne, Zach, Christa and I embark on a camping trip up north with Cord. We will be canoeing and probably fishing and will return sometime tomorrow afternoon. He will most likely teach us more about medicinal and edible foods that grow in the forests of this area which means I’ll probably eat some more purple flowers today and such. All sounds good and should be, you’ll here more when we return.

Alec Keiper


By 9am Alec and I were heading to Resource Management’s biology lab to do some of the last samples for macrofossils. I finally found some really great material in the three samples I looked through today. Most of the seeds I found were new, and were not present in the other core samples.  Overall, I thought it was a wonderful way to wrap up the macrofossil analysis. Zach and Wayne worked on diatom analysis at the forestry. 

At 12:30 we met with Emi to go over out revisions on the Background, Site Description, and Methods. Emi was very help as always. Diana also met with us to check on our mental health. LOL

If you’ve been reading the blogs on Wednesday you know that they are usually really mellow days. Happy Hump Day Ya’ll!!!!

“Nature does not proceed by leaps and bounds.” –Carl Linnaeus

Adrienne Warmsley


By 9am Alec and I were heading to Resource Management’s biology lab to do some of the last samples for plant macrofossils. I finally found some really great material in the three samples I looked through today. Most of the seeds I found were new, and were not present in the other core samples.  Overall, I thought it was a wonderful way to wrap up the macrofossil analysis. Zach and Wayne worked on diatom analysis at the forestry. 

At 12:30 we met with Emi to go over out revisions on the Background, Site Description, and Methods. Emi was very help as always. Diana also met with us to check on our mental health. LOL

If you’ve been reading the blogs on Wednesday you know that they are usually really mellow days. Happy Hump Day Ya’ll!!!!

“Nature does not proceed by leaps and bounds.” –Carl Linnaeus

Adrienne Warmsley


Collecting samples on Courville Lake

After a long days hike, Andy and I arrived at Courville Lake. This lake sits at almost 7000′ ft. in elevation and is at the head end of the drainage. All water recharge is a result of direct snowmelt, and by this time of year water levels are completely dependent on groundwater recharge. Upon arriving at Courville Lake we collected water samples and fish samples for ion, metal, and mercury analyses. Collection of water samples is done from an air mattress at the deepest part of the lake and then filtered. After filtering, the water is put into a cooler and then a freezer awaiting analyses at the Flathead Biological Station and the University of Montana.

Better late than never

I arrived in Montana on June 28th with a nasty stomach illness that all started with finally drinking tap water again. I had just spent five weeks in Ghana, trying to complete some research on the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus, and was ready to jump into my next program with SPAW here in Montana. What a shift! And also, what a busy summer!

After five days on the recovery bus, I got the chance to meet with Libby, my mentor here, and learned just how this research on snails would pan out. Since our discussion, our methods and goals have bounced all around, and I can say that the end of last week was the first time I started seeing the light on our research begin to grow a little stronger. Kirwin, another mentor, has been great help to us, providing rigid protocols and a real enthusiasm for parasitism.

My personal journey here has been far beyond what I would expect. Though some may consider me a minority because my mother is Puerto-Rican, I have grown up in a white world where I have been treated as such. I have never before lived on a reservation, and listening to people’s stories here has been shockingly powerful. I have seen some difficult situations, and heard about even worse, since I have been working on the reservation. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to listen and open my eyes to my surroundings.

That being said, I have also seen two pow-wows since I have arrived in Montana, and the bright, vivid spirit that lives in such gatherings is amazing. I have seen some amazing dancers, eaten some delicious food, and soaked in this world that I was so unfamiliar with before arriving. I would like to sign off with a photo of the Standing Arrow Pow Wow grande entry.Image

This is what I appreciate about Montana. More musings to come soon…




GIS and Camas

Developing a model of any kind can either be fun and exciting, or it can be tedious and depressing. As with anything that has to do with GIS and ArcDesktop, frustration comes with the territory. Once you’ve come to the point where you want to swing a nicely polished sledge hammer right down on your GIS bearing computer in order to deliver the sequential blow after hours of plugging away only to find out that you have to restart somewhere because of a little step you forgot to take, or some unforeseen file corruption etc etc… then you know you’re starting to get somewhere. Here’s a glimpse at about half of my Table of Contents in ArcMap.

Table of ContentsFixico26This is the simple model that prepares the data for integration into a larger model that runs multiple weighted overlay analyses with several parameter differences to create layers that represent numerous possibilities for camas habitat suitability.

The fun side of this necessary task has been connecting camas ecology with the data I’ve been processing in ArcMap. It’s an amazing thing to watch an idea blossom in my mind and then manifest itself as a colorful and vibrant map surface that represents the possible locations for the habitat suitable for this precious plant species… and then another version with slightly different weights for the variables being used in the analysis to create yet another colorfully represented map surface. There will be more details on those at a later time…

The Same Ole’ Grind

Today was a day much like the last few for us: picking plant macrofossils and counting diatom valves. We continued executing our plan to collect all our data by the end of this week. With no problems throughout today, we are one step closer to accomplishing our goal. In the microscope today, we examined new diatom slides that were taken as secondary diatom samples to compare to our originals. So far, we have similar valves under similar circumstances but the evidence is clear that our area has been a wetland much longer than we thought to begin this project. Tomorrow we have a surprise in store with our radiocarbon dating analysis set to come, and we shall see if another wrench is thrown towards our direction.


Zachary Kisfalusi


Today the team met up with Shannon Kesner and Shannon Judd from Fond du Lac Resource Management. From there we traveled south to Moose Lake state park and walked down a hiking trail. Every five feet we stopped in order to talk about some plants along the trail. We learned about Milkweed and its importance to the Monarch butterfly and Yarrow and how it can be used for bug bites and as a sedative. Both Shannons were very knowledgeable about such things and were able to tell us about any edible or medicinal plant we came across. 
We then traveled North to Jay Cook state park where we met up with a park naturalist who took us on a geological history walking tour in the park. We saw the different formations along the St. Louis River. We also learnt about the epic flood last year and saw markers saying how high how the water level had risen during that time and saw pictures of the swinging bridge after it was destroyed in the flood.Image


Today started at 9:00 A.M performing more analysis of diatoms and plant macrofossils. At noon students took a well-deserved break resting their eyes from the light of the microscopes to break for lunch and return to the forestry for the weekly meeting wigth Salish Kootenai College interns, Amy, and Diana. Students discussed their thoughts on the layout of their respective REU experiences and provided feedback to the mentors. Afterword students returned to Resource Management in order to continue analyzing our samples. To end the day students returned to the forestry in order to discuss chapter 8 in Paul Glaser’s peatland paper. After discussing our questions not answered in the reading students were adjourned for the day.

Wayne Greensky


I don’t recall a time when I’ve felt more unprofessional. I ran into a crisis and panicked, and didn’t do what I knew I should have… let someone know. The nature of GIS is always changing, but one thing I’ve found to remain the same: Never expect things to go as planned. I learn this lesson more and more as I continue to delve into the chaotic realm of data layers, feature classes, toolsets, model building and spatial analyses.

First of all I would like to apologize to my peers and my mentors for not staying in contact about my situation, there are no excuses for such disrespect. Secondly, I would like to tell a short parable if you will.

I made a huge mistake and went and did a bunch of work on an old version of ArcGIS and then found out that I can’t run my model and that I will need to use a newer version. This resulted in a complete redo of my project file, which can be a daunting task once it’s been developed to a certain level. Long story short, I had to start over with my GIS. My lack of responsibility over the last week is unacceptable, and this blog post (my first) is a clarification on myself and what I’ve been up to.

On a lighter note I am still plugging away and should have some interesting results to show very soon.

I decided on this picture because it seemed to represent well the procrastination on my part, and also the distractions I’ve allowed myself to get into with this summer.

Loga Fixico



“Love looks through a telescope; envy, through a microscope” –Josh Billings

Today was a mellow day in the lab. I didn’t find much in the plant macrofossil samples today, but Alec found many seeds, spores, insect chitin, leaves, and stems. The lesson of the day is “the only way to survive countless hours of microscope observations is to have music”. We’ve been getting really acquainted with one another’s musical interest, sometimes escalating into arguments. We had a great lunch at Gordy’s, and later that day we got a visit from Diana. Not much to say about today. Just another humpday.

Adrienne Warmsley

From snowpack to lake water

This last weekend, from Friday through Monday, I ventured into the wilderness in search of mountain peaks, snowpack, and good fishing. Along the way I took several pictures that were pertinent to my project. There were a multitude of examples of snow melting, the snowmelt collecting into streams, and the streams running into lakes. All of this is a visual demonstration of the dependence that mountain lakes have on snowpack for sustaining their water levels. Just a small piece of the great and wonderful water cycle.

Diatom Hunting

With the majority of our field work done for the REU, we began collecting some data from our core samples as plant macrofossils and diatoms. Split into two teams of two, we spent the day under the scopes examining our chosen feature. I looked at diatoms samples today from our selected transition areas to get a better grasp of the past environments in which existed at our fen GNBZ. The learning curve was high for I had never examined or identified diatoms before but with practice over the next few weeks I hope to close the gap. The sample I focused on was from our second coring site near a peat to sand transition. I found mostly broken diatoms today but did manage to find a few others intact. Doing the same thing tomorrow, yet a new day always brings new challenges.


Zachary KisfalusiImage

Phil helps Wayne identify diatoms.



A Pinnularia species of diatom.





Today the team headed over to Resource Management to begin our field trip with Nancy Schuldt, the Water Protection Coordinator. She gave us a brief lecture about the monitoring work that she does on the lakes and rivers on the reservation and then took us out to some sites. We stopped at Big Lake where she showed us how equipment such as a flow meter works, and gave us an overview of the current condition of the Lake; likewise with a section of the St. Louis river. We then headed over to the Stonybrook stream and jumped in with nets in order to see how benthic invertebrate populations are doing. This stream suffered a hard hit in the flood last year, therefore close monitoring is taking place to see that the biodiversity of it returns.
Later we stopped by the Veterans Powwow. Here there were many vendors and band members in the traditional clothing of their tribe. Upon the grand entry the veterans and the dancers entered accompanied by drumming and vocals and then a prayer was said in Ojibwe. Soon after the inter-tribal dance started at which point Christa and Adrienne joined in for a few turns. We plan to return to the Powwow tomorrow. 
Alec Keiper
At the Stonybrook stream doing a benthic invertebrate survey.

This will be short because I have already


This will be short because I have already written this twice only to have it vanish. I am certain of operator error. Either way I am unable to spend my day writing invisible blog material. Here are a couple photos from some field work being done by myself (Chad), Kim and Travis. Placing piezometers in the creek in order to determine the gaining and losing properties of Mud Creek and Spring Creek. They are little more than steel, hollow rods pounded into the ground with perforation in the bottom to allow water to enter. Via electric tape once can measure the level in stream and also get a sense of what is going on outside the streams banks. Locating the piezometers near each other, one inside the stream and one outside allows for understanding of the groundwaters characteristics. Nice warm days to be dipping ones toes into cool streams…ImageImage

Daily Log: Thursday July 11, 2013

            The day started at 8:30 A.M at the forestry center in the intern’s cabin. To start Christa gave us the remaining checks from yesterday’s activity about piecing together a solid hypothesis with only partial information. With the newly acquired information the interns attempted to form one final hypothesis. Once the hypotheses were collected, Christa explained that it was impossible to formulate the correct hypothesis because there is no story that can be proven with the given information. There was simply too little information to be absolutely certain of any one story. She later explained that the purpose of this experiment is to know that you will never have the whole story and will have to sometimes use simply your intuition and infer information from evidence to fill in the gaps.

            After the activity wrap up the students and Christa discussed chapter 6 in Paul Glaser’s “The Ecology of Patterned Boreal Peatland”. Students discussed the vegetation in our own peatland and discussed the possibility of how these plants could have affected the formation of the peatland. After lunch students held a successful meeting with SKC students as both parties discussed their own respective research, each arising their own questions to better understand each other’s projects. With the meeting wrapped up students then finished the day continuing to sieve samples for use in plant macrofossil analysis.

Wayne Greensky


Today, we were greeted this morning by Christa’s weekly challenge. The challenge consisted of an enveloped filled with random checks. Using team work we had to figure out the general storyline with only 12 of the 16 checks. The story we came up with was an interesting one that I hope has a happier ending…

By 10am we were sitting down with Emi discussing scientific writing skills. Scientific writing is one of the hardest things to write. It takes a lot of practice and reading to develop a writing style that is precise and descriptive. Good thing Emi is a good teacher and has years of experience to help us prospective scientists. She always gives us thorough individual feedback on our writing assignments.

Later in the afternoon the interns visited Fond Du Lac Resource Management to do some more sieving. 

Adrienne Warmsley

Field work on Tuesday, July 9

Last week I had blogged about my pursuit of a snow sample. This week I hiked high and deeper into the drainage to find some snow on the south side of the third Mud Lake that was north facing. The snow was dwindling quickly but we were able to obtain a good sample. This sample is important for my project, I want to draw a connection between snow chemistry and the lake water  that is so dependent on snowmelt and runoff. During this day in the field we collected snow samples and also hiked even higher to get to the fourth lake so that we could collect readings with the hydrolab in all four of the main Mud Lakes.


Today our team learned about two various topics this morning in discussion based lecturing: mining runoff into lakes near the iron range northwest of Duluth and Holocene climate change. The former was used to show an inverse correlation between sulfate concentration and wild rice; it is shown that since the late 1880s with more hydrogen sulfide going into the surrounding lakes around the tailing pits, wild rice production has slowed down and some areas stopped completely. The second discussion on climate change was specifically directed toward the Holocene in Minnesota. We discussed the last glacial maximum, the impact of mining, and how vegetation can be used to trace the changes over large time scales. After lunch today, we also took some samples from all of our working halves of our cores from sites 1-4 to sieve for plant macrofossils. To finish the day, we had a team dinner with homemade pancakes, syrup, and bacon. Tomorrow we head back to GNBZ for another day of field work; the anticipation is eating away on this Monday night…

Zach Kisfalusi



Subsampling one of our cores for the plant macrofossil analysis.


Team SPAW at Glacier Park July 8th 2013

It was a beautiful day to take a drive through Going to the Sun Road. Team SPAW headed out early for a team friendship-building experience. We all found it amusing and a great inspiration to view the Mountains and all the tourists. First stop was McDonald Lake, with a little gift shopping and map checking, and we were off. We set out hoping to make it to the top for lunch. It was a lengthy but most awe-inspiring trip to see the mountains and Glaciers. A great tourist attraction and short getaway for locals..Glacier National Park was Awesome!!!Image

Fourth of July Weekend

Last night of camping out, I woke up early enough in the morning to capture this sight as the sun was coming up and before the rains came. A good awakening and start to a fine day and week for Team SPAW. July 8th 2013
As we went out snail collecting at Queens bay on the Flathead Lake, I noticed a fine spiderweb out in the middle of the water. A quiet reminder that life is lurking around every bend and in every moment. Taken by Karen Johnson July 6th 2013.
Lymnaea Stagnalis, one likely snail for our studies. Small but contains tons of data. Thank You Team SPAW for a great job at the Flathead Lake. Taken by Karen Johnson, July 3rd 2013
A Sailors Dream…as we searched for our future testing sites, we noticed a strange architectural inspiration and that matched and blended, rather well with the scenery. With Marianna Vasquez-Crede, Kimberly Davis and myself, Karen Johnson at Rocky Point Road, Polson Montana. July 2nd 2013

Fourth of July was good to us. First of all we didn’t have any building access, so we basically worked outside the regular classroom, which was relieving. None the less, we still continued as worker bees getting the job done. We as Team SPAW had an awesome team building experience, with a new addition to the crew and Swimmers Itch world…Marianna Vasquez-Crede. I am so happy to introduce Yanna. We went out collecting on July 2nd. We also had another refresher course on Saturday July 6th 2013, with Team SPAW on Flathead Lake. We used a canoe and collected snails from various points and called it a good day. With the rest of the week we had the 115th Annual Arlee Powwow going on all weekend for some fun, food, shopping, and meeting new and old friends. And back to work for Saturday. It was a fun filled adventure…Thank you team.


Today our endeavors started with a conference with Emi Ito concerning our writing styles for our final scientific paper. After valuable feedback we traveled to the Science Museum of Minnesota. Here we relived our childhoods as we walked among the fossil reconstructions of massive dinosaurs. I stood underneath the Pteranodon and looked up at its wingspan imaging its epic flight ;and stood next to the Tyrannosaurus imagining it chasing an injured Jeff Goldblum laying in the back of a jeep speeding down a road in Jurassic Park.
Next a new-found obsession, the Champosaurus, a toothed-lined-jaw carnivore that hunted in the swamps of a Cretaceous South Dakota. This creature was believed to chill near the surface of the swamp with only its nostrils exposed above water level, and when the opportunity arose it would launch upwards at its prey. The mummy at the museum was also quite a spectacle as was the tornado simulator and nearly being trapped in a tall grass maze in the gardens. A splendid end to our Minneapolis trip before our return to Fond du Lac. Image

In Pursuit of Snow

On July 3 we went past the first Mud Lake to the second lake in pursuit of a snow sample. After reaching the lake and skirting around the west end, we crossed the outlet, and then scrambled up a large boulder field on the south side. Earlier in the week we had spotted a patch of snow and were hoping to get back in time to get a sample. We were to late, it was already gone, but we found some cool rocks, a cave, and took some great pictures. From the valley floor you can still see a large patch of snow above the third lake, it looks like we’ll have to go higher on our next trip if we want a sample. Part of our study is interested in how snow pack affects the chemistry of these lakes. Snow is fairly acidic and collects a lot of atmospheric pollutants, we want to get lab analysis on snow from this sub watershed to include in our report.


Summer REU 2013 073

Alec and Adrienne doing Initial Core Description in Corewall.

The team started the day at 9:00 am at the temporary LacCore lab building at UMN in Minneapolis. The interns learned how to use the tabletop SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and saw new details from our cores. Although we did not find anything “juicy”, it was an exciting experience! After finishing the remaining core descriptions, samples of the cores were taken to find dateable materials.

Speaking of new perspectives, historical photos were compared to current pictures of our site. I will not give all the details, but it has flipped our ideas of the site upside down. At the end of the day the team gathered and deliberated on what to do next. Should we take more cores? Look at new sites? Or go where no one has gone before? Stay tuned.

Adrienne Warmsley

Core Cuttin’

Summer REU 2013 031

Halves of our split cores.

Today was our team’s first day in the LacCore Laboratory in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota. We cut each of our cores in half into two sides: one to be archived away in storage and one to use for work (other tests and slides) and to examine. With precision, the muddy and sometimes sandy cores were cut and carefully transplanted into the laboratory for examination using several instruments. We used an imager on the work halves to gain a detailed image of each core. Then we created smear slides from different layers in the work cores to look at under a microscope. The archive halves in the meantime were placed under a machine known as “pokey” to further examine magnetic susceptibility, spectrophotometry, etc. at a slow and methodical pace. We are going to examine that data tomorrow morning along with heading under the microscope for more observations of the smear slides.

We also looked at old photos from Google Earth and the Minnesota Historical Aerial Photography websites to look at how long GNBZ has been a fen and how it has changed over time. The hypotheses are wide ranging, but all will be answered in the upcoming days under further examination. Maybe just maybe we will need some more cores to better understand the area and how humans have impacted the site.

Zachary Kisfalusi

The Great Mud Creek Adventure


Travis B.Culvert of MysteryphotoJune 26, 2013 the adventure begins. Finally Travis B, (not going to try and spell that last name), Kim Davis, and myself C Joe Reynolds made it out for the afternoon on The Great Mud Creek Adventure. We visited several sights on this cloudy but rain absent afternoon. The grass was tall, turkeys, deer and raptors were enjoying their day much like ourselves. We set out to take some measurements in order to gain some knowledge about Vertical Hydraulic Gradients along the reaches of Mud Creek that are of interest to my particular study. Kim and Travis were a big help. I am realizing that much of the field work that I must perform this summer is going to rely heavily upon having the assistance of others. I need some interns of my own. Probably not in the budget though, so through sweet talking and some bribery, I just may be able to get these two experts to help me out on a regular basis. I don’t have the pictures yet, but will include them of the head gate of Mud Creek where our adventure got pretty exciting yesterday, (or at least for me it did). If you can imagine water pouring out of a small gate, with immense pressure, all converging on the opening of a culvert, and a person standing in this incredibly intense water current trying to use a tape to measure the culvert while wearing hip waders that are filling up, then you can imagine what Kim and Travis had to witness. It was slightly comical and a bit dangerous. I ended up with wet drawers, soaked wallet, and a bit unsteady about the thought of rocketing through a culvert over unknown rocks and materials while trying to breath air and survive the deluge of whitewater. It would be a lot like trying to stuff a marshmallow into a slot machine at ninety miles an hour with water pressure if I were to have lost my footing. Anyhoo, nothing too extreme happened in the end and we moved on to a couple of other sights where the water was less likely to take a life and obtained some good data. We are taking elevations on each side of these culverts, using a flow meter to gather data on velocity, also measuring some distances, so that eventually the Vertical Hydraulic Gradient (VHG) will be known at each location. This, along with some piezometers that we just received today, will be placed along the creek to eventually offer us insight into the groundwater and surface water interactions. This project will likely turn out to be a super fun experience and as it evolves, and we don’t get eaten by anymore bears or drowned in a culvert, we just might learn a thing or two…

6/28/2013: Field Trip

Today was filled with trips to the main wild rice lakes on the reservation and the surrounding area. Today was the first day the team actually got to see how the wild rice grows and in what abundance in certain areas. We also witnessed how in many of these lakes floating mats of vegetation are creeping up from the outskirts of the lakes and taking over main wild rice habitats. The changing environment on these lakes is a major concern for the Ojibwe and because of this major restoration projects have been made in several areas to help preserve the wild rice. Tom Howes acted tour guide today and showed us Perch Lake, Rice Portage and the Great Rice Lake outside of the reservation.
The day then ended with a dinner of home cooked fry bread ,and the subject of all our learning today, wild rice. Witnessing the state of the wild rice in this area has surely helped us to better conceive how our overall mission here fits in and can be of great use.
Alec Keiper
Summer REU 2013 020
Wild rice at it’s floating leaf stage. Perch Lake.

Daily log 6/27/13

The day started at 8:30 AM. The first thing on the agenda was the Glaser paper chapter 5 Powerpoint presentations.  The presentations had to meet a minimum requirement of 10 minutes in length, 5 vocabulary words, 4 concepts from the chapter, opinions on how the chapter relates back to our research, and a brief summary of the chapter. After the presentations, Christa had another challenge for the students. This challenge consisted of making observations about a Pringle can, hypothesizing what was on the inside of the can, and constructing a model from our hypothesis on another can. With the main draw being that a hypothesis and paper model must be constructed and presented before construction of the physical model could begin.

            Afterwards we tried another conference call with the SKC interns but again it was rather unsuccessful, though we did get through one presentation. Instead we discussed with Diana, Emi, and Amy our thoughts with the layout of the REU so far. Once finished we moved to FDLRM to begin sieving the peat monolith samples taken from the field. Though this did yield some results of seeds and shells the main purpose of this was to provide students with experience to better prepare for sieving the actual core samples. 

Wayne Greensky



Gathering materials to make our Mystery Tube model.

Hump Day

After two strenuous days of coring at our bog/fen the team decided to take some time to do some housekeeping. The team met early in the morning to separate out Thursday’s 10 minute PowerPoint presentation on bog vegetation. Around 1 pm Diana Dalbotten arrived safely after battling scattered storms on her way up to catch up with her NCED REU students.

The team contemplated summer goals that will help reach our long terms goals such as graduate school, work, and unconventional routes. During our talk I couldn’t stop thinking about how our ultimate goal should be happiness. Our goals should also challenge our strengths and weaknesses.

Adrienne Warmsley




Mud Lake


Mud Lake

Standing near the inlet to Mud Lake and looking west towards the Mission valley you get this beautiful view. This lake does not live up to it’s name, it is one of the clearest and cleanest lakes you’ll find. Turbidity levels are only slightly higher than tap water.


Once upon a time, a few hours ago, our seven adventurers set off on a mission to core GNBZ (Gete-niso-bajishkaa-Zaaga’igan) in two different spots. The task at hand was simple, collect several cores today and leave the rest for a lighter day on Tuesday. Simple in nature but much harder than it sounded as the bog attempted to eat away at our heroes with every step; sinking more and more inch by inch (It did not help that the equipment was weighing us down and we were short a person). Finally out to site 2 of GNBZ, we collected three cores of varying lengths from three different holes; fighting the roots and sphagnum all the way down. With lunch in their stomachs and flies on their skin, the group marched on to site 3, which was another 100 meters farther than site 2. There we had two successful cores with full drives that produced not only peat and lake sediments (silt) but also sand (and lots of it at that). After a fun day in the field, this team heads home feeling accomplished and looking forward to another go tomorrow.


Zachary Kisfalusi

Blue Heron

Today our team met with the other REU internship team whom were working in the Bahamas, and as a group traveled to the Blue Heron on Lake Superior. The Blue Heron being a research vessel owned by the University of Minnesota Duluth. We boarded the ship and left the dock only to remain in the harbor all day because of poor weather conditions in the main channels of the Lake. Aboard the Blue Heron the crew pulled out various equipment and gave them trial runs to show us their effects. We used a sonar machine, a machine that takes four sediment cores at once as well as an incredibly long and durable coring device that geologists use to core in very deep lakes ,such as Superior, and the ocean as well. The crew then described the information that the machines relayed and dissected many of the cores. And after lunch we bounced to return to the Duluth campus.

Alec Keiper

grizzly attack

Reading an electric tape at a well in project area. I was  attacked by a grizzly bear this spring while on my way to sample this well just to the north of picture. The picture was taken three months after the attack.  Image

Daily Log: Thursday 6/20/13

To start the day the group created presentations to show the Bahamas interns during our meeting later in the day at Fond Du Lac Resource Management. Afterwards we received the results on the mystery box assignment given to us on Wednesday. After group discussion of the boxes Christa revealed what truly was in each box. We also learned the purpose of this activity to show the importance of making observations of things scientists are unable to directly observe, like the Earth’s crust. After the results of both the marble and regular mystery box challenges we moved into a pop-up discussion on our learning logs and chapters 3-4 in Paul Glaser’s paper. During which we each presented on each of the required topics: What did you learn? What did you find interesting? What questions do I have about what I learned? What was the point of these chapters? What connections can be made to previous chapters?

After the group discussion we adjourned for lunch until 12:30PM at which time we had another all-team meeting with the interns from Salish Kootenai College in Montana. The meeting was supposed to be comprised of the groups giving a progress report from this first week, but after our group presented the power went out at SKC and we were unable to continue the meeting. Afterwards we had a break until the Bahamas interns arrived at which point both groups relocated to Fond Du Lac Resource Management, which consisted of a tour of the facility led by none other than Tom Howes and a presentation of the projects so far to the students in the Bahamas and of a presentation of the methods and results used by the Bahamas groups. Once concluded the groups traveled to University Of Minnesota Duluth to check into our dorms for the weekend and concluded the night with dinner at Fitgers Brew House.

Wayne GreenskyImage

Wayne is upset because his prediction was incorrect about what was in one of the Mystery Boxes.

Snail Specimens at Jette Pond, MT

Students/faculty preparing to gather snails at Jette Pond near the Flathead Lake in Montana June 20th 2013.

Students/faculty preparing to gather snails at Jette Pond near the Flathead Lake in Montana June 20th 2013.

It was a rainy/misty day again in Northwestern Montana. It was a perfect day to put on our waders and go for a pond side stroll. Today we went out to collect snail specimens for our parasite research.  The coolness of the day was fine, once we hit the this mucky mess, any hotter it would have been to live for me.. not the greatest site for fishing, but an excellent parasite contraption to gather for our snail/parasite study. This is the beginning stage to test for parasites that cause swimmers itch.

6/20/2013 Rainy day in Montana

It started raining late yesterday and hasn’t stopped yet. Turns out it’s a great day for a video conference. Andy and I are planning on hiking up to Mud Lake tomorrow and are trying to get all our gear ready today. Our study is looking at how climate change is affecting the chemistry in high mountain lakes. We are also looking at how groundwater affects the water balance and delays acidification. We are hoping that the rain lets up before tomorrow.