Aerial photo of Grand Traverse bay

Great Lakes Water Studies Institute

Located at the Great Lakes Campus on Lake Michigan, the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute (GLWSI) at Northwestern Michigan College is strategically positioned to engage individuals and organizations, both locally and globally, in advancing skills, knowledge and understanding of the world’s dynamic water resources.

NMC Marine Technology students aboard the Northwestern research vesselMarine Technology

An NMC Freshwater Studies student collecting water samplesFreshwater Studies

What We Offer

  • Industry aligned professional development and training
  • Private harbor, research vessels, multiple marine platforms and sensors, freshwater and marine technology focused laboratories
  • Community Outreach and International Partnerships

Lake Michigan Research Buoys

The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute has three solar-powered monitoring buoys in Lake Michigan off North Manitou Island and in East and West bays between May and October that provide seasonal, real-time data on wind speed and direction, air and water temperature, wave height and other information. View the buoys' most recent data feeds here.

The buoys are part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Data Buoy Center, which designs, develops, operates and maintains a global network of data collecting buoys and coastal stations. They were purchased with a grant that NMC received from the Great Lakes Observing System, in a collaboration with Michigan Technological University's Great Lakes Research Center. Their data supports a broader understanding of the Great Lakes.


Upper Great Lakes Observing System

Follow the air temperature, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure and relative humidity of West Grand Traverse Bay. Data is transmitted in 10-minute intervals to the internet via cellular modem.

See the Bay... live

Visit the live webcam located at NMC's Great Lakes Campus. You can point the camera where you want to see what's happening on the bay, on the T/S State of Michigan training vessel, or on shore at the Great Lakes Campus. Great Lakes Campus webcam

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Great Lakes Water Studies Events:

Great Lakes Water Studies Institute student monitors underwater camera feeds

Mapping the Great Lakes 2021

This webinar series focused on the technologies and applications associated with building a comprehensive detailed bathymetric map of the Great Lakes. The events engaged the audience with presentations and discussions from leading scientists and researchers on the technologies and issues impacting the Great Lakes ecosystems.

  • Mapping/Technology:
    May 20, 12:30–2 p.m.
  • Coastline:
    June 17, 12:30–2 p.m.
  • Habitat/Fisheries:
    July 15, 12:30–2 p.m.
  • Archaeology/Geology:
    September 15, 12:30–2 p.m.
  • Lakebed 2030 Conference:
    Sept. 29, 30, Oct. 1, 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
  • Collaboration:
    Nov. 18, 12:30–2 p.m.

These events were offered at no cost thanks to a grant from the Consulate General of the United States, Toronto Canada.