New NOAA Great Lakes Laboratory Opens, New Acting Director Named

January 7, 2009

A larger facility to focus on Great Lakes issues opened today following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Pittsfield Township, Mich.

“GLERL starts the new year with a new building,” said Richard W. Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. “This laboratory is a leader on many Great Lakes issues, such as invasive species, lake levels, and the use of biofuels for its research ships. In its new space, the laboratory will expand its efforts to serve the Great Lakes region through research and partnerships.”

Spinrad also announced Marie Colton as the acting director of the lab and acting lead of the NOAA Great Lakes regional team, succeeding Stephen B. Brandt who is leaving Michigan to be the director of Oregon Sea Grant in Corvallis, Ore.

Colton, who has been with NOAA since 2005 as technical director of the National Ocean Service, has also held positions at NASA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in physical oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. In 1989, she received her doctorate in physical oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

The new 40,225 square-feet facility has modern wet and dry laboratories, conference facilities, a library, marine instrumentation shop, and office space to accommodate about 120 federal and cooperative institute employees. NOAA will lease the building for 20 years.

Office and laboratory space will also be provided to partner organizations, including Michigan Sea Grant Extension, The Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research, the International Association for Great Lakes Research, the NOAA National Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health, NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species, and the Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Office.

GLERL was formed in 1974 and is one of NOAA’s seven research laboratories. The Ann Arbor area facility includes a field station in Muskegon on the shores of Lake Michigan.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.