Zoom a Scientist Webinar Series

"Zoom a Scientist" Series - Available on YouTube

With school closings in spring 2020 due to COVID-19, we remained committed to our mission to develop and share science-based knowledge to benefit the environment and economies of the Lake Champlain basin. Our Education Team responded with a webinar series featuring scientists and their research related to Lake Champlain and its watershed. Learn more about the series. 

Video recordings from past webinars:

  • Seeing the Forest for the Trees... and the Water with Alison Adams from Lake Champlain Sea Grant. ​What are riparian forests and why do they matter? We will discuss the many benefits of stream side forests for Vermont, and the status of these forests in the state.

  • The Common Loon: Stories About a Loon’s Life and Their Conservation with Eric Hanson from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife discusses the amazing recovery of loons in Vermont over the past 30 years, the threats that they face, and the conservation actions that have brought them back, including the importance of shoreline habitat. He also explores their fascinating behaviors and natural history, including new research on how loons find a territory, what is being conveyed in the yodel call, and new findings on their migration pathways. The Vermont Loon Conservation Project is a program of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

  • Brook Trout Grow on Trees with Will Eldridge from Vermont Fish and Wildlife. Wild brook trout are doing very well in Vermont. A recent statewide assessment found that the abundance of brook trout in streams and rivers across the state is the same now as it had been in the 1950s and 60s. This assessment did not evaluate the cause for this success, but it would be reasonable to attribute a large portion of it to the health of stream side forests throughout the state.

  • Impacts of Road Salt in the Adirondacks with Brittany Christenson from ADKAction. Brittany describes the work that ADKAction has done to address pollution of waterways by road salt runoff, including developing recommendations for reducing road salt pollution and promoting alternative deicing products, techniques, and best management practices to protect water resources.

  • Managing Lamprey in the Lake Champlain Basin with Stephen Smith from US Fish and Wildlife Service. ​Learn from a fish biologist, in Essex Junction, Vermont,about control of sea lamprey populations in Lake Champlain.

  • Restoring Landlocked Atlantic Salmon in Lake Champlain with Bill Ardren from US Fish and Wildlife Service. By the 1850s, dams, habitat degradation in rivers, and other factors had eliminated landlocked Atlantic salmon (LATS) from the Lake Champlain basin. Restoration efforts, including hatchery culture, stocking, and sea lamprey control, have been successful in restoring the lake fishery valued at more than $200 million, but it is dependent on ongoing stocking. Dr. Ardren has developed a series of large scale, adaptive management experiments to restore naturally reproducing LATS with the goal of fish returning to multiple tributaries, migrating up river, spawning, and producing fry that will lead to self-sustaining populations.

  • Climate Change in the Champlain Basin with Curt Stager from Paul Smiths College. Global climate change is not only about polar bears and far-off places: we are experiencing it here in the North Country, too. The evidence comes from a wide range of sources including weather data, ice-out contests, and nature diaries, and the changes are already being noticed by regular folks as well as experts. We discuss the nature and causes of those changes as well as what they could mean for the future of the region.

  • Remotely Operated Vehicles with Cody Warner of Deep Trekker, Inc., in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, leads viewers on a tour of how his company's aquatic drones are used to visually inspect underwater environments, a useful tool for aquatic research, inspections by public utilities, and other purposes.

  • Paleolimnology 101 with Sydney Diamond - Master of Science degree candidate: How diatoms are archives of environmental pasts. Learn about the importance of paleolimnology and how we can use microscopic organisms to determine what the environment was like 150-300 years ago. 

  • The Adventures of a Vermont State Game Warden with Jeff Whipple - Learn what its like to be a VT State Game Warden and how they aid in the conservation and stewardship of Vermont natural resources. 

  • Small but Powerful: Understanding the Daily Vertical Migrations of Mysid Shrimp in Lake Champlain​ with Rosie Chapina - PhD candidate at UVM: When you think of animal migration, what comes to mind? Many animals including monarch butterflies, fish, and birds migrate every year for different reasons. Mysids are shrimp like organisms that remain at the very bottom of Lake Champlain during the day and migrate up to the water column at night. Mysids can grow up to 1 inch and migrate more than 200 feet in one night. Join Rosie Chapina to learn more about mysids, the role these critters play in lake ecosystems and why understanding their migration patterns in Lake Champlain important.​ 

  • Friends of Our World’s Streams: Why People Volunteer to Monitor Streams​ with Rachel Pierson - UVM Master of Science Candidate: How do we know if our streams are healthy? Volunteer stream monitors collect data to help scientists and local decision makers determine the health of rivers and what factors may be impacting their conditions. Learn what motivates stream monitors in parts of the United States, Canada, and New Zealand through a research study that considers if an attachment to place affects reasons why people volunteer and outcomes of participating in stream monitoring programs.​

  • Learning More about Lake Champlain’s Ancient Fish: Finding and Following Young Lake Sturgeon with Lisa Izzo - UVM PhD Candidate: Lake sturgeon was listed as an endangered species in Vermont in 1972, but over the past 20 years there has been increased sightings of adult lake sturgeon in Lake Champlain. Currently, we don’t know much about where they are or what they are doing as juveniles! Lisa Izzo discusses how her research uses acoustic tagging to answer questions about what habitats juvenile lake sturgeon are using in Lake Champlain at different times of the year.​ 

  • Aquatic Invasive Species in the Lake Champlain Basinwith the Lake Champlain Basin Program: Learn about the difference between aquatic invasive, nonnative, native, and nuisance species and review the primary vectors of aquatic invasive species introduction and spread in the Northeast region. Lake Champlain is connected to significant sources of AIS by manmade canals and we will review how that pathway is being addressed. We will also review the role that overland transport of watercraft and trailers plays in the spread of aquatic hitchhikers and what steps the public can take to reduce the introduction and spread of all species.

  • Environmental Law and the Lake Champlain Watershed with Jody Prescott - Lecturer at UVM: When people think about the Lake Champlain Watershed and the laws, regulations and policies that are in place to reduce pollution and keep the watershed natural and productive, they probably think about water pollution laws mainly. It is true, federal and state water pollution laws are very important. However, there are many different kinds of environmental laws that complement water pollution laws, and this presentation will talk about examples of these laws, primarily from the federal level.

  • Salting Our Waterswith Dr. Kris Stepenuck - UVM Professor: Deicing salts – most often sodium chloride - used during winter road maintenance can contribute to increasing chloride concentrations in local water bodies. This can impact fish and other aquatic life, and pollute our drinking water. After an introduction to this problem, Dr. Kris Stepenuck will share information on how people can monitor a local stream to watch for impacts over time, and what UVM students and volunteers in the Lake Champlain Basin have found as they monitored small streams this winter and in previous years.

  • Green Stormwater infrastructure - Incorporating Natural Systems into the Developed Landscapewith Justin Geibel - the Conservation Water Quality Project Manager at Vermont Youth Conservation Corp: Infrastructure is the basic equipment and structures that are essential for functional, healthy, and vibrant communities. The natural infrastructure we rely on to mitigate the impacts of human development are often overwhelmed, and this is the case in managing stormwater and water pollution. GSI allows us to incorporate analogs of natural systems into our developed landscape to help mitigate the impacts of our development. Let's explore the concepts of GSI technology and take a look at a real-life installation that is a small piece of a larger effort to support healthy communities and a healthy Lake Champlain.​ 

  • Cisco Science: Conservation and Restoration of Native Species in the Great Lakes​ with Hannah Lachance - John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow​: Native fish are critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems and healthy economies. In the Great Lakes ciscoes, a group of native prey fish, have been identified as a top priority for conservation and restoration efforts. Hannah Lachance will talk about some of the research efforts designed to help inform conservation and restoration efforts for ciscoes in Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. The research focuses on the early life stages (eggs and larvae) and uses a range of field and laboratory methods.

  • What Does the VT Agency of Natural Resources Do Anyway?​ with Tami Wuestenberg - an employee with the Department of Environmental Conservation. Tami is going to guide us through the Agency of Natural Resources’ Departments and Divisions all the way from the Governor down to her specific role within the Agency. She will touch on many of the important ways people within the Agency are protecting Vermont’s Natural Resources. ​

  • Mapping our Streams and Lakes With Drones​ with Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne​ - the Director of the University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL)​: Drones. You have undoubtedly seen a drone fly and maybe you even own one to take pictures or shoot video, but did you know we can also use drone technology for mapping and monitoring our streams and lakes. Learn how the SAL use drones to map invasive species, respond to floods, and track changes in streams.

  • Squeezing the Middle of Lake Champlain's Food Web with Dr. Jason Stockwell - UVM Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory's Director: The recent surge in natural reproduction by lake trout is a success story, but can too much success be a bad thing? Our research is exploring the interaction of lake trout natural reproduction and lake trout stocking strategies to evaluate if too many lake trout mouths will be too much for prey fish populations, especially in light of the potential for a quagga mussel invasion which may shunt food web energy and production to the bottom of the lake.

  • But How Do We Know? Sampling Fish to Understand What's Happening with Populationswith Dr. Ellen Marsden - UVM Fisheries Biologist: Water is an alien habitat for humans; most information about fish is collected by remotely sampling (bringing fish to the surface to study). How do scientists use those samples of fish to understand whether fish populations are healthy? Are they increasing or decreasing in abundance? How do we interpret the data from a few fish to a whole lake? What new methods are being developed for observing fish?​

  • Sensing What is in the Water: Next-generation Sensor Technologies for Water Quality Monitoring with Dr. Breck Bowden - Lake Champlain Sea Grant's Director, UVM Patrick Professor and Stream Ecologist: Learn how researchers measure water quality, traditional sampling methods, and how new technologies are giving us new insights. Includes examples from the NEWRnet project focusing on land-use impacts on nitrate and dissolved organic carbon loading. 

  • Long-term Effects of Climate Change on Lakes and the Importance of Winter Sampling with Dr. Jennifer Brentrup - Limnologist at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory: Research summarizing the effects of climate change and extreme events on lakes and the importance of sampling lakes year-round. In a recent study, scientists sampled dissolved oxygen levels to estimate lake metabolism under-ice and compared the winter to summer and year-round estimates.           

  • Microplastics in Freshwater Systems with Dr. Danielle Garneau from SUNY Plattsburgh: Microplastics pose a serious threat to ecological systems and Dr. Garneau shares findings from her research on microplastics in Lake Champlain.

  • A Fish's Story: Following Lake Trout Movement around Lake Champlain with Matt Futia UVM PhD candidate: Studying aquatic organisms can have additional challenges from limited direct observation. However, recent advances in technology have allowed for tracking individual fish to understand their movement across time. These tracking techniques are being used to help understand behaviors and resource use fish in Lake Champlain.

  • Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin: What's Already Happened and Where We're Headed with Dr. Eric Leibensperger - Climatologist SUNY Plattsburgh: Climate change is here. We often think about climate change as a distant consequence of today's action, but we are already experiencing the impacts. This discussion highlights changes that we have already observed and the changes that are projected to occur in the Champlain Valley.

  • What Do Fish Eat in the Wintertime? with Ben Block - UVM Master of Science Candidate: Winter in Vermont is cold and dark. Unfortunately, unlike humans, fish in Vermont lakes can't migrate to Florida and wait for spring. Rather, fish have to adapt to the conditions of lakes in winter: cold, dark, and not much food. 

  • Photogrammetry 101 with Chris Sabick the Director of Research and Archeology at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum: Chris discusses 3-D models of shipwrecks, based on field research, with examples from Lake Champlain and beyond!

  • Oil Spill! with Jason Scott - U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander: Jason's current graduate research at UVM focuses on oil spill preparedness in the Lake Champlain basin. Learn how oil spills occur and the environmental impacts and what efforts can be taken to clean them up. 

  • Watershed Science 101 with Ashley Eaton, Nate Trachte & Caroline Blake from the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Education Team: The team explains the complex interactions that play a role in the health of a watershed, explores monitoring techniques for lakes and streams, and discusses what individuals can do to protect their local watershed. 

  • Basin Basics: Watersheds and the “State” of Lake Champlain with Lake Champlain Basin Program's Director - Eric Howe and Colleen HickeyThis video highlights on the “State” of Lake Champlain from invasive species to stormwater runoff - get the facts here!