Rose Allen

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Geography and Geology

First Advisor

Christopher Gellasch, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Katherine Greenwald, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ann R. Eisenberg, Ph.D.


Wetlands are complex ecosystems that are dependent on hydrologic processes and water chemistry. Understanding the role that water chemistry and nutrients play in wetland ecosystems is crucial to wetland management and restoration. The Fish Lake Environmental Education Center near Lapeer Michigan, is glacially influenced, and contains a large bog. Between the bog and lake there are multiple kettles that contain ephemeral wetlands in the spring. Bogs are primarily precipitation sourced, whereas the kettle wetlands may be a combination of precipitation and groundwater sourced. Previous studies indicated that groundwater flow direction is towards Fish Lake, but it was unclear to what extent groundwater is affecting the wetlands north of the lake. The goal of this project was to understand the relative contribution of both precipitation and groundwater in the bog and kettle wetlands north of Fish Lake. Identifying the primary water source in these wetlands will aid in their restoration and management.

Monthly and bi-weekly sampling from shallow groundwater and surface water occurred between May 2022 and September 2023. Field data collection included pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, and water level. Laboratory water sample analysis included nitrate, nitrite, phosphorus, iron, sulfate, and turbidity. Nitrogen (nitrite & nitrate) and phosphorous concentrations were highest on average in the kettles. The bog and kettles all have an acidic pH, however the average pH values in the kettles are lower closer to the bog, and higher closer to the lake. These data suggest that the wetlands closest to the lake are more heavily groundwater influenced, and become more precipitation sourced towards the bog. This study supports other wetland research at Fish Lake.