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Michael Brueseke

Michael is currently the Lab Technician in the Lamberti Lab, and since October 2000 has been helping our lab’s undergraduate researchers, graduate students and postdoctoral students in diverse topics of Stream Ecology.


I pursued my undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, OH. I completed a thematic sequence on the Coastal Ecology of the Bahamas (San Salvador), and then spent two years doing research on the behavioral ecology of wolf spiders (see here).  Finally, I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Zoology in 2000. Continuing the thread of my educational upbringing, I remain interested in the life histories of arthropods (be they wet, or dry), and have had the fortune to work on many projects studying  macroinvertebrates (generally of the benthic variety).  Among the most fun projects: I’ve dissected the foreguts and hindguts of crayfish - saving the contents for stoichiometric analysis, sorted the bounty of macroinvertebrates found in the guts of invasive (Eurasian Ruffe, Round Goby) and native fish (Yellow Perch) from the Great Lakes, keyed to family (often to genus) a large volume of macroinvertebrates for a survey study, and spent several years studying the toxicity of ionic liquids (ILs) on Daphnia magna.  That said, I like fish too.  Who doesn’t?

While most of my time in the lab is spent running samples, assisting with experiments, or trying to keep the lab running smoothly (*cough* dishes!), I’m also able to venture to the field semi-frequently


An annual event is our sampling of the fish community in Juday Creek, a nearby stream where a large restoration project was completed in 1997.  A former lab member’s M.S. focused on the restoration’s immediate impacts on the greener & fishier stream denizens, while other departmental colleagues studied the impact on the stream’s benthic macroninvertebrates.  The large dataset presented in the summary paper about this project went from 1997-2002, and our lab has been continuing to collect data ever since. 

One problem wit
h this newer data (2003-present) however, is that it is collected when we can get as many free hands as possible, and when equipment isn’t needed.  Given the way our climate works, most graduate students have very busy field seasons until classes resume in late August.  Therefore, instead of collecting bi-annually in June and August, we’ve mostly been collecting just once in August and September (with one instance as late as October’s first week).  The hope is that as we summarize all this data we can still show that some interesting trends have arisen, even 10 years on (when keeping in mind for seasonal differences in water-flow, etc). 
It would seem that a cursory glance of the data shows the need for most restorations to have long-term monitoring included as a necessary component for proper evaluation of ecosystem remediation.  We certainly have seen differences in the fish community at 5 &10 years post-restoration, that could change our understanding of the project’s “goals” set out back in 1997.


I gladly came along on a trip to Northwestern Wisconsin, assisting Patrick Shirey on gathering historical photographs and site information along the Namekagon (pronounced: NAM-uh-KAH-gun) River.  This beautiful tributary is a part of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, and is the focus of a historical fish survey Patrick is compiling for the NPS & WiDNR.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to so many small town county libraries & museums, but I certainly can better appreciate their invaluable assistance to researchers trying to find answers about pre-European ecosystems.  An added bonus is that the river is a great canoeing experience, full of beautiful wildlife (even if they are just vultures essentially = an appropriate national symbol?), an impressive fish community, and my new 2nd favorite bird.  Sorry buddy, working wings win.

I also was fortunate enough to travel to a smattering of sites throughout the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan (if that makes any sense!), a cluster in the U.P. itself, and even into Ontario, CAN on a recent collection trip by David Janetski. Taking water samples, macroinvertebrates, and fish (for tissue analysis) was a lot of fun, but the cold weather (it was December after all, with freezing temperatures) made collecting safely a concern (lab snowmobile, anyone?).  Dave’s project is examining the role of introduced Pacific salmonid species in the Great Lakes, and the likelihood of carcass deposition transporting contaminants into streams and tributaries.  In the Pacific Northwest, the carcass deposition of returning salmonid spawners is an important nutrient subsidy for the low-light, nutrient-poor systems found in their native range.  So perhaps in-tissue contaminants could follow a similar pathway, mucking up Michigan’s streams in the process. 

Fresh Action Shots:

Electro-shocking Juday Creek
A decent sized Brown Trout from Juday Creek
Standing on the shore of the Namekagon River
Paying more attention to crayfish genitalia, than the beautiful Namekagon river
Processing some Hess samples in the U.P.
Sometimes, we catch some really big fish in the U.P.

Stale Action Shots:
Macroinvertebrate processing
Giving a rough height (1.93m) of incised banks
IL Toxicity on Daphnia magna
Weighing and dissecting fish tissue
Keeping an eye on experiments
Taking UV measurements in a DOC-rich stream
Hunting for crayfish
Sampling for Zebra Mussels

Publications (aka shameless self-promotion*):

Kulacki, K.J., D.T. Chaloner, D.M. Costello, K.M. Docherty, J.H. Larson, R.J. Bernot, M.A. Brueseke, C.F. Kulpa Jr., and G.A. Lamberti. 2007. Aquatic toxicity and biodegradation of ionic liquids: A synthesis. Chimica Oggi-Chemistry Today 25(6 suppl.):32-36.  Cited by: 2

Bernot, R.J., M.A. Brueseke, M.A. Evans-White, and G.A. Lamberti. 2005. Acute and chronic toxicity of imidazolium-based ionic liquids on Daphnia magna. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24:87-92.  Cited by: 72

Brueseke, M.A., A.L. Rypstra, S.E. Walker & M.H. Persons.  2001. Leg autotomy in the wolf spider Pardosa milvina: a common phenomenon with few apparent costs. American Midland Naturalist 146:153-160.  Cited by: 17

*Note: For a long time now, I thought it would be more instructive to list the papers I directly helped or am acknowledged on.  We’ll see if I ever get around to that, eh?

Please feel free to contact Mike with any questions:







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