Professors John Berges and Erica Young, in collaboration with Hunter Carrick (Central Michigan University), have been awarded $214,442 in NOAA-Sea Grant funding to study silicate cycling in Lake Michigan. Silica plays a critical role in carbon cycling within lakes and can influence phytoplankton community composition. Dissolved silicate has increased over the last 30 years, while phosphorus has declined, possibly as a consequence of dreissenid mussel invasion. This research will address critical gaps in our understanding of the role of silica in changing lake dynamics, characterizing the input of Si to coastal Lake Michigan and measure uptake, storage and release of Si in Si-demanding species including planktonic diatoms and chrysophytes, and benthic algal assemblages. The data will be used to develop a Si model for a nearshore region of Lake Michigan. The research will involve graduate student, Allison Driskill.