Welcome to the Wet Ecosystem Research Group (WERG)
Dr. Marinus Otte
Dr. Donna Jacob
Marinus Otte and Donna Jacob brought WERG to the Department of Biological Sciences in the Fall of 2006. Prior to that, the research group had been going strong at University College Dublin, Ireland, since 1992.
The aims for the research group are to train graduate and undergraduate students in scientific research, particularly wetlands, plants, biogeochemistry, watershed ecology and metals in the environment. WERG research covers a wide range of scales, from microscopic (e.g. biogeochemical processes in the rhizosphere of plants) to landscape (e.g. chemical and ecological connectivity between prairie potholes across North Dakota). Regardless of the scale, the central theme is biogeochemistry and the interactions between multiple elements in wet environments.
The group works to collaborate with a variety of researchers, including soils scientists, geologists, environmental engineers, microbiologists, as well as with groups underpinning management of natural resources, such the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Natural Resources of Red Lake Indian Reservation, and the North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Water Quality.
Currently, WERG has several projects in North Dakota and Minnesota, as well as in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Otte and Jacob are also Co-directors of the North Dakota INBRE Metal Analysis Core , providing laboratory facilities and mentoring for researchers in undergraduate colleges throughout the state. Otte and Jacob are also members of the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium.
October 2011: Aida Asgary and Emily Fischbach won the coveted 2011 YELLICK AWARD for biggest fieldwork faux pas. See the award ceremony!
September 2011: La Toya Kissoon, Alex Yellick, Alex Stalboerger, Aida Asgary, Ryan Sullivan* received travel awards to present their work at a meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists North Central Chapter in Jamestown, along with Emily Fischbach*. *undergraduate
Summer 2011: La Toya Kissoon, Alex Yellick, Alex Stalboerger and Aida Asgary finished or are working on their fieldwork with the help of many hands, including undergraduates Emily Fischbach, John Schmidt, Ryan Sullivan, Josh Borchardt, Alex Hoehle and Candace Kraft (Valley City).
May 2011: Undergraduate Justin Tabaka, and grads La Toya Kissoon and Alex Yellick will present posters at the 2011 Central Region IDeA Conference representing ND INBRE in Omaha.
May 2011: CONGRATULATIONS Dr. Dimuthu Wijeyaratne and Dr. Sharmila Sunwar, PhD degrees conferred (more photos, project information coming soon)
March 2011: Sharmila Sunwar and Dimuthu Wijeyaratne both SUCCESSFULLY defend their PhD dissertations. Congratulations!
February 2011: La Toya Kissoon is featured on the website of The Wetland Foundation (see link)
January 2011: Alex Yellick began graduate work in WERG
November 2010: Dimuthu Wijyaratne presented her work at the Eastern South Dakota Water Conference
November 2010: WERG has a new publication in Environmental Pollution
September 2010: Aida Asgary and Alex Stalboerger joined WERG as graduate students
August 2010: Jacob, Hopkins and Otte are notified that their manuscript to Journal of Phytoremediation has been accepted for publication with NO CORRECTIONS
July 2010: La Toya Kissoon receives the Infrasctructure Improvement Program - Doctoral Dissertation Assistantship award from NSF EPSCoR
April 2010: La Toya Kissoon receives a Grants-in-Aid of Research award from SigmaXi
April 2010: Dimuthu Wijeyaratne receives a graduate fellowship from the National Institutes for Water Resources
April 2010: La Toya Kissoon wins the award for Best Presentation/Poster at the 7th Annual Northern Plains Biological Symposium
March 2010: La Toya Kissoon receives a Field Travel Grant from The Wetland Foundation
March 2010: Seven undergraduate students from VCSU joined the lab for a week of metal analysis experience
January 2010: La Toya Kissoon publishes scientific article in Environmental Pollution