Investigating Coastal Issues

Michigan Sea Grant supports research teams that study an array of issues affecting the Great Lakes and Michigan’s coastal areas. MSG supports both the Integrated Assessment approach to research as well as the more traditional, data-gathering approach.

Integrated Assessment research projects focus on complex environmental challenges and meeting and anticipating changing needs of stakeholders and decision-makers.

Core research projects investigate issues that affect the Great Lakes ecosystem, particularly those that that address connectivity in the Great Lakes between watersheds, river mouths and the nearshore.

MSG brings together innovative research teams from Michigan universities, and where possible, leverages active research programs conducted by federal and state agencies. The goals of the MSG research program include providing science-based information that can help decision makers in real-life situations or that provide more insights into the Great Lakes ecosystem.

2015 Request for Proposals

Michigan Sea Grant is soliciting proposals for innovative research projects for the 2016-2018 funding period. MSG sends out RFPs for research projects every two years. Three types of projects will be supported during this round of funding, including:

  • Integrated Assessment – Research that uses integrated methods to address important social and ecological issues affecting the Great Lakes ecosystem and communities, up to $75,000 per year.
  • Core Research – Focused on issues currently affecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, up to $115,000 per year.
  • Graduate Student Research Fellowships – Funding for graduate students for one or two years, up to $80,000 per year.

For more information on these opportunities, see the RFP funding page.

For the Call for Pre-proposals see: Michigan Sea Grant 2015 Request for Research Pre-proposals (PDF)

Innovative Research Teams

Outreach and collaboration are essential components of each research project. In IA projects, researchers regularly consult with decision-makers to ensure that current needs and feasible solutions are addressed. With long-standing community relationships, Sea Grant Extension and communication specialists help researchers connect key aspects of research projects to stakeholders as well as communicate project goals and results.

Previous research projects have focused on:

  • Economic development and coastal tourism
  • Wind energy development options
  • Stormwater runoff
  • Impacts to shoreline habitats
  • Fish contaminants and consumption advisories

To read about research projects underway, see: Current Projects

Carrying Out Research

Michigan Sea Grant also seeks out research opportunities and partnerships that align with program goals. For example, the program recently received grant money to pursue several projects under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

To learn more, see: Restoration and GLRI Projects


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Featured Publications


“The project did a good job of narrowing down to the questions that really mattered… [The report] helps inform future ideas, thoughts and decisions.” – Rose Ellison, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

“The researchers used their expertise to determine what might be the best solutions for our community. This tailored approach was really useful.” – John Nash, Spring Lake Township Supervisor