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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

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Great Lakes Water Studies Events:

Winter Water Quality Symposium

NMC's Great Lakes Water Studies Institute and Freshwater Solutions, along the lake associations from Glen, Lime, Leelanau, Long, Elk/Skegemog, Three Lakes, Intermediate, Big Platte, Charlevoix, Walloon, and ZeroGravity LLC contributed financial resources to host this free Feb. 17, 2020 symposium focused on various water quality parameters, including the latest in swimmer's itch prevention, discovery of a new schistosome species host, snail-parasite distribution in Michigan, enteric bacteria testing, and promotion of qPCR within a community-based monitoring model.

Higher Education Today interview of Great Lakes Water Studies Institute Director Hans Van Sumeren and students and graduates of the program

West Bay Monitoring buoy

Animated GIF of video from the west bay monitoring buoy

The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute has a solar-powered monitoring buoy in West Bay during the summer that provides seasonal, real-time data on wind speed and direction, air and water temperature, wave height and other information, including video of the bay.

View a map of Great Lakes buoys here »

The buoy is 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.

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