Since 2007, Calvin students have conducted research at Flat Iron Lake Preserve. These students spend the summer living at the preserve doing research under the direction of Dr. Randy Van Dragt and Dr. Dave Warners. Dr. Van Dragt's students have been studying the ecology of the lake and Dr. Warners's students have been developing a floristic description of the terrestrial and shallow water systems of the preserve. The data gained from these projects is enhancing our knowledge about the species that live here. Calvin students interested in assisting with these research projects should talk directly with the professors and visit the Science Division's Summer Research page for more details.
Summer 2008 Research Projects:
- Travis Ellens developed a bathymetric map of Flat Iron Lake and against that mapped the vegetational zones of the shallow water areas of the lake and their larger animal inhabitants.
- Brent Geurink conducted a broad botanical survey of the preserve including the plants of the shallow-water zones of the lake.
Summer 2009 Research Projects:
- Jane Louwsma began an effort to describe the major links in the food web of the shallow water zone in an effort to understand the trophic links between the lake’s shallow-water and deep-water communities.
- Jessica Miller continued the survey from the previous summer, concentrating on the wetlands in the wooded portion of the preserve. Brent and Jessica’s collective efforts have produced high floristic quality indices (FQI’s) for the preserve, indicating that much of the site contains high quality botanical communities. The FQI calculated by the end of the second summer’s work was 57 for the preserve as a whole and 36.5 for the Black ash swamp (a small wooded wetland) on which Jessica concentrated much of her effort. The FQI is a measure of the native quality of the biodiversity of a community, and in Michigan any community with an FQI of greater than 35 is considered of statewide significance.
Summer 2010 Research Projects:
- Jake Zwart studied the fish and plankton communities in Flat Iron Lake and how they changed throughout the summer. He also investigated how physical changes(temperature and dissolved oxygen content at different depths in the water column) and weather affected these populations and created a bathymetric map of the lake.
- Scott Jones's project was titled "Flower Phenology and Tree Inventory at Flat Iron Lake." He inventoried the trees on the property, kept a list of when plants started and stopped flowering and pressed specimens that were unknown for later identification.