Iowa Lakeside Laboratory conducts a variety of aquatic and terrestrial based research in the Iowa Great Lakes area.

CLAMP volunteers

Cooperative Lakes Area Monitoring Project

The goal of CLAMP is to provide long term monitoring data on regional lake conditions and educate local citizens about lake ecology.



The Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network conducts innovative science by sharing and interpreting water quality and weather data on West Okoboji and Big Spirit Lake

water samples

Water Quality

In its partnership with the State Hygenic Lab, we provide water testing services, and educate citizens on how to better care for our natural lakes.


Rough Fish Management

The study, conducted by Martin Simonson (Ph.D. candidate, ISU), aims to evaluate how removal of two nuisance fish species – Common Carp and Bigmouth Buffalo – may improve water quality in lakes prone to algae blooms and decreased recreational opportunities. This includes exploring how the remaining fish populations in the lakes respond to removal efforts through growth and reproduction.


Iowa Great Lakes Vegetation Mapping Survey

In conjunction with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Lakeside Lab faculty and students researchers used sonar techniques to map the aquatic vegetation along the margins of the Iowa Great Lakes.


Role of Micronutrients in Harmful Algal Blooms

Dr. Betsy Swanner, an assistant professor in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, is investigating how the micronutrient iron contributes to harmful algal blooms so that blooms can be better understood, monitored and perhaps prevented.


Ashfall Diatoms

The Ashfall Fossil Beds in northeastern Nebraska contain rare, lagerstätten fossil sites that uniquely capture an ecological moment in time and often preserve material better than other sites.  Joseph Mohan, Dr. Mark Edlund and Dr. Sylvia Lee are collaborating on this study.

Food Sovereignty in Northwest Iowa

This project also established an initial framework for future research on food sovereignty issues in the region.  Sean Diehl (University of Iowa, B.A. 2020) developed a “mock” business plan on a mobile farmers market. 

boats in millers

Recreational Assessment of the Iowa Great Lakes

A new research project launched to understand such conditions related to Millers Bay in West Lake Okoboji. Summer 2020 work consisted primarily of a literature review and research to assemble a body of knowledge related to asymmetrical recreation experiences, social and environmental issues in recreation, capacity and usage concerns, case studies and examples of community-based comprehensive planning for on-water recreation. This literature provided a foundation for two data collection studies launched by Iowa Lakeside Laboratory: 1) observational data and 2) qualitative data from a locally distributed survey.