Great Waters Research Collaborative

The Great Waters Research Collaborative (GWRC) is a project of the UW-Superior (UWS) Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) devoted to objective, third-party research to support sustainable industrial, commercial and public use of the nation’s Great Waters, particularly via green shipping. The GWRC team has a comprehensive research capacity for maritime-related environmental research services, and is comprised of experienced researchers with diverse expertise from LSRI, the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute, and AMI Consulting Engineers. The primary focus of the GWRC is on preventing new ballast water introductions of invasive species in the Great Lakes and other Great Waters. In particular, the GWRC executes type approval tests of ballast-water management-systems (BWMS) for US Coast Guard type approval. The GWRC also monitors ship-mediated transfers of organisms within the Great Lakes, generally, and researches any continuing risk of ship-mediated invasive species. All GWRC work is well coordinated with, and helps inform, on-going private sector, state, federal and international policy activity. The GWRC is advised by an external committee, consisting of stakeholders from the U.S. and Canadian commercial shipping industry, maritime organizations within the Great Lakes region, non-governmental policy/environmental organizations, federal regulatory agencies, state agencies, Great Lakes ports, and Great Lakes cities. The GWRC Advisory Committee meets at least annually to discuss the GWRC research program. 

Two GWRC staff members collecting water for a ballast water management system test

Two GWRC staff members collecting water for a ballast water management system test


  • Ship and harbor sampling:
    • Biota and physcial/chemical characteristics
    • Enumeration and live/dead analysis of organisms
    • Indicator microbe and pathogen analysis
  • Zooplankton, phytoplankton, and protist taxonomy
  • Data management and GIS
  • Isokinetic (i.e., representative) sampling of ballast water
  • Shipboard operational assessments of BWMS
  • Culturing and concentrating indicator organisms for BWMS assessments
  • Whole Effluent Toxicity testing

Technical Products

Final GWRC reports can be found in the Lake Superior Research Institute Collection in MINDS@UW.

Great Lakes Port Conditions Database

GWRC Research Services


Dr. Matthew TenEyck , LSRI Director