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NRRI Featured Research

featured research

ballast water

On the front line of the invasion

NRRI collaborates to reduce invasive species in the Great Lakes

Duluth-Superior Harbor, at the most pristine end of the Great Lakes, is the freshwater port most heavily invaded with non-native species. It’s easy to understand why. Duluth- Superior is often the last stop on international routes and ballast water from all over the globe gets emptied there so ships can reload.

It’s a one-way ticket for unwelcome guests that can wreak havoc on the locals.

NRRI expertise in understanding the tiniest of freshwater organisms is being applied on a large, collaborative project to curtail ballast-mediated invasions. NRRI Scientist Euan Reavie, an expert in aquatic microorganisms, is one of the lead researchers for the Great Ships Initiative, a project of the Northeast- Midwest Institute, housed in a facility in Superior, Wisc.

The Initiative is working to resolve...
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timber testing

Testing the timbers

Brian Brashaw recalls being under a wooden bridge years ago and seeing the cross beam squish down about four inches when a big gravel truck passed over it. You couldn’t tell from the outside, but the inside of that important bridge beam was rotted. Therein — literally — lies the problem.

Alexis Grinde with a golden-winged warbler

Young forests are for the birds

It wasn’t what she was looking for, but noting the presence of the golden-winged warbler was a special treat for Alexis Grinde this spring. Research has shown that this tiny feathered friend is experiencing one of the steepest population declines of any bird species in the past 45 years.

NRRI Scientist Bill Berguson

Growing interest in growing fuels

Thanks to NRRI’s decades of work breeding tree species in the greenhouse, the United States will be ready with fast-growing energy crops to fuel alternative energy resources. NRRI’s Populus deltoides species and other hybrids are in the line-up with sorghum, switchgrass, willow, energy cane and others that are being tested for conversion to biofuels for alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel.

Whatever happened to... Booming Native Plants?

Frank Kutka

In 1994, Frank Kutka was a 31-year-old NRRI biologist working on water quality research with then- Center Director Carl Richards when his interest in restoration ecology became a business venture. Kutka and his wife Grace Tinderholt started Booming Native Plants in Blackhoof Township, south of Duluth, to meet a need for reasonably priced native wildflower seeds.

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