October 16, 2012
By Marie Zhuikov
Although she did the majority of her academic work in arid states, Emily Stanley has been ensconced in water-rich Wisconsin for 14 years. She’s working on a project in the St. Louis River Estuary in northern Wisconsin to figure out the water chemistry of the estuary under different seasonal conditions and to identify the role humans have in changes to the water quality.
During this first year of a two-year project done in conjunction with Minnesota Sea Grant, Stanley and her graduate student, Luke Loken, fine-tuned their sampling system this summer, even with the excitement of the St. Louis River flood, the result of 9 inches of rain in 24-hour period in late June.
The UW-Madison zoology professor Stanley is looking forward to comparing estuary conditions next year. “A picture is slowly beginning to emerge for us,” she said.
The researchers processed their samples in a former restaurant amidst dinner lighting with pots and pans in the background. “People would come by and ask us if we were reopening the restaurant. We’d say, ‘no, but we’re processing carbon samples if you want some,’ ” Stanley said.