Redefining the Classroom

LSSU wants to expand coral reef aquarium

Posted: February 2nd, 2012

CORAL REEF OASIS – Lake Superior State University students mingle in Crawford Hall's main lobby, which houses a burgeoning 160-gallon saltwater aquarium. A fundraiser aims to enhance the tank with more animals and interpretive displays. LSSU's Fisheries and Wildlife Club will match donations through Feb. 9. This file photo shows the aquarium shortly before its conversion to saltwater late last year. (Photo by John Shibley)

A print-resolution photo that runs with this caption can be found by clicking here.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Lake Superior State University hopes to bring a lot more of the South Seas to Sault Ste Marie, Mich. A team of students and faculty that maintains a 160-gallon saltwater aquarium in the main lobby of Crawford Hall is seeking donations to expand the display.

To encourage the effort, the LSSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club will match donations, dollar for dollar, through Feb. 9.

The fundraiser aims to raise awareness of the unique educational opportunities a saltwater tank provides about reef ecosystems. Students are able to observe the complexities of a coral reef up close, here in Northern Michigan, more than 1,500 miles from the nearest wild reef.

The project eventually aims to involve local schools by using the tank for educational outreach initiatives such as field trips. There are plans to add interpretive signs regarding some of the dangers coral reefs face today, as well as information about the tank's inhabitants.

The tank is currently home to six fish, representing four species, including a mated pair of clownfish. There are two species of shrimp, two species of starfish, and a large colony of hermit crabs and snails. Live corals grow on a rock wall in the tank along with a pair of sea anemones.

Donations will be used to purchase fish, invertebrates, and corals that will increase the diversity and complexity of the tank's community. Contribution checks should be made payable to the LSSU Foundation, 650 W. Easterday Avenue, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., 49783. Or make an online gift at and note that it is for the Salt Water Tank.

Questions regarding the fundraiser project or the tank itself may be directed to faculty adviser Mary St. Antoine (; (906) 635-2075) or student coordinator John Griffioen,


CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315.