MSUToday
Published: March 26, 2019

MSU researchers named fellows of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

By: Cameron Rudolph Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications and Marketing office: 517-884-3866 rudolp31@msu.edu

Patricia Soranno and Kendra Cheruvelil, professors in the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, have been named fellows of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, or ASLO.

For more than 60 years, the ASLO has sought to advance aquatic science education, research and public outreach.

Alongside Soranno and Cheruvelil, 18 other scientists were honored by the ASLO Fellows program, which began in 2015 to recognize members of the association who have provided exceptional contributions to ASLO publications, meetings and other activities.

“It is an honor to be recognized by my professional society that I have been a member of since graduate school and that has contributed much to my career as an aquatic scientist,” Soranno said.

Soranno and Cheruvelil are co-directors of the Data-Intensive Landscape Limnology Lab at MSU. The lab is focused on studying inland lakes and their features on a macroscale, including the relationships between freshwater, landscape and human systems. Soranno and Cheruvelil promote collaborative science to solve large-scale problems, studying thousands of lakes and leading a team of interdisciplinary researchers.

While ecologists have decades worth of data, to truly understand how these ecosystems are changing broadly, researchers need to work together to bring all of these data together. The team approach to data collection has led to leaps in understanding the physical and biological characteristics of freshwater ecosystems in and around the Great Lakes region.

“Being an ASLO Fellow is especially meaningful since our type of research, large-scale, big-data, collaborative limnology, is relatively new to the discipline,” Cheruvelil said. 

To further their big data research on water, the duo received a $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation in 2016 to lead a team of aquatic scientists, computer scientists, statisticians and geospatial experts to expand their work to lakes across the U.S.

Pat Soranno (middle left) and Kendra Cheruvelil (middle right) have been working with computer scientists Jiayu Zhou (left) and Pang-Ning Tan (right) on harnessing big data.