The most exciting scientific discovery happens on the magnificent body of water right outside our door.
Students, faculty, and scientists rely on the school’s research vessel, Neeskay, as well as small watercraft, remotely operated vehicles, and a buoy-based observing system to study the life and health of Lake Michigan.
The nation’s most technologically advanced freshwater research vessel.
Neeskay Research Vessel
Our primary research vessel.
The Great Lakes are our living laboratory, and we operate the only research vessel that explores these inland seas year-round. Its name derives from the language of the Ho-Chunk, a Wisconsin Native American tribe, and it means “pure, clean water” — our vision for the Great Lakes.
Neeskay Detailed Specifications >>>
To request ship time aboard the R/V Neeskay, visit the official Request Vessel Use page.
Boats and Small Crafts
A fleet of small boats use our research, which range from the 26-food Osprey (for short trips on Lake Michigan) to small, inflatable vessels (for use in field work on inland lakes and rivers).
See our small boat rates.
Our underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) can descend to a depth of 1,000 feet and is equipped with a camera, a suction device for collecting samples, and sensors for collecting sensitive data like temperature, oxygen, pH, and conductivity. The ROV can also shock fish for surveys and collect cores of soft sediment.
Powerful Great Lakes Observation System
We rely on a network of real time sensors to serve as our eyes and ears on Lake Michigan.
As partners in the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)., we have access to a variety of instrumented buoys, surface vessel observing systems, and autonomous vehicles that collect important physical, chemical, and biological data that tell us about the life and health of the lake. To obtain long term data and track trends in climate and ecological impacts, GLOS sensor arrays are deployed on solar-powered buoys at fixed locations throughout the Great Lakes — including Milwaukee-area coastal waters and Green Bay.