Ashley Moerke, Ph.D.

Professor & Co-Director of the Aquatic Research Laboratory

Department of Biological Sciences

Lake Superior State University


*I am on sabbatical for the 2014-2015 academic year

A visit to Turkey Lakes Experimental Watershed, Canada


BIOL286 - Principles of Watershed (Spring course)

Overview of the geomorphology, hydrology, and biota of aquatic ecosystems, with emphaiss on terrestrial-aquatic linkages, hydrographic methods, land use, and management principles. 


BIOL345 - Limnology (Fall course)

An investigation of the principles of freshwater ecosystems with an emphasis on lakes and streams.  The physics and chemistry of natural aquatic ecosystems are presented, as well as a survey of the dominant biota and their ecological interactions.


BIOL399 - Junior Research Seminar (Fall & Spring course)

Students meet in discipline-based, student-faculty groups in conjunction with BIOL199, 299, and 499.  Weekly meetings will include discussions of scientific literature, how to prepare presentations and write proposals, and feedback on upperclass students' thesis projects.  Juniors will develop and present a proposal for a scholarly project by the end of the course.

LSSU students presenting their watershed restoration proposals at the local Environmental Summit



BIOL400 - Special Topics:  Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems

Students work closely with local watershed conservation groups to identify local watershed problems, design restoration projects, and assist with implementation of projects.  Class discussions are focused on scientific literature relevant to aquatic ecosystem restoration, including ecological restoration concepts and theories, common restoration practices for different types of aquatic ecosystems, and management of a restoration project.



BIOL400 - Special Topics:  Ecology and Management of Sub-Sahara Africa (Study Abroad)

Students spend 24 days traveling throughout southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe) while learning about the culture, ecology, and management of diverse ecosystems.  While driving in a 4x4 truck/bus and camping along the way, we visitthe Cape of Good Hope, Etosha National Park, the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls National Park, and Pilanesburg National Park.  Students are expected to develop and participate in a service learning project as well as a research project. 


LSSU student up close with an African elephant skull The 2014 class after a hike along the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa



BIOL475 - Aquatic Entomology (Spring course)

Survey and identification of regional lake and stream insects, with additional emphasis on life-history strategies and community ecology.  Insect ecology, physiology, behavior, importance as fish food, and utility as indicators of water quality is also presented. Classes generally are discussion-based and labs are focused on taxonomy and collecting methods. The final lab exam is the SFS Taxonomic Certification exam to family level; ~50% of the students have become certified taxonomists after the course.