The University of Toledo is strengthening its fleet of research vessels that help scientists unlock mysteries of the Great Lakes through UToledo’s expanding research and graduate education programs focused on water quality, harmful algal blooms and other issues impacting the region.
Located on the shores of Lake Erie, the UToledo Lake Erie Center will dedicate its new 21-foot boat named the R/V Spangler in honor of Dave Spangler, a Lake Erie charter boat captain and water-quality advocate who died in 2020, at a ceremony 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, at the research center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.
“Demand for research vessel time is growing. The Spangler will expand our ability to conduct research that advances understanding of Great Lakes ecology, informs public policy and prepares the next generation of scientists to face tomorrow’s challenges,” said Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, professor of ecology and director of the UToledo Lake Erie Center, who has studied harmful algal blooms for two decades.
The boat replaces a 25-foot vessel in the UToledo fleet named the Mayflier, which reached the end of its more than 20-year lifetime. The Spangler will join the Lake Erie Center’s primary 28-foot research vessel purchased in 2015 and the boats that target adult invasive carp.
“The Spangler is small enough to be trailer-able, so we can take it anywhere to launch, but it’s large enough to go far out into Lake Erie,” Bridgeman said. “It greatly expands the range of locations where we can do research. Also, the Lake Erie Center’s faculty and research group keep growing, and this boat relieves the bottleneck of many people needing to get out on to Lake Erie at the same time.”
The event to christen the Spangler also is an opportunity for the UToledo Lake Erie Center to thank Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo for supporting the purchase of the boat with a $50,000 grant.
“One of the University’s key research focal points over the past decade has been the quality of drinking water in northwest Ohio. This research includes investigations into the health of Lake Erie and the health of citizens across our region, and has critical implications not just for our region but for the country,” said Dee Talmage, chair of Women & Philanthropy. “That is why we feel that an investment into the Lake Erie Center was not only worthy but necessary. We are very excited to see how this enhances research opportunities and collaboration.”
The new research vessel accommodates the increasing demands for vessel time needed by researchers and students working through the Lake Erie Center, including undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty across a variety of fields of study such as engineering, chemistry, environmental science and medicine. It also will assist national collaborators from outside the University who travel here for research.
The UToledo Lake Erie Center conducts cutting-edge research to protect drinking water supplies from harmful algal blooms, investigates the effects of pollutants such as road salts, combats invasive carp and restores native fish species.
Since 2008, Women & Philanthropy has gifted more than $600,000 in 22 grants to a wide array of programs and initiatives to UToledo. Women & Philanthropy is able to give substantial gifts to the University by pooling its members’ resources and making monetary awards in the form of grants.
Women & Philanthropy has funded classrooms, an art gallery, a sensory-friendly medical examination room, the hospitality area in the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion, computer-based educational computer displays in Ritter Planetarium and Lake Erie Center, a computer lab in the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, an active learning classroom, an interactive periodic table display, the Genetic Analysis Instrumentation Center and the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Research Center, among others. A complete list of awards and award winners is available on the Women & Philanthropy website.