Doug Kane

Professor of Biology
Research Institution: Defiance College and F.T. Stone Laboratory
Home state: Ohio
What got you interested in science and how did you end up as a Great Lakes scientist?

I grew up a couple of miles from Lake Erie on a small lake in the western suburbs of Cleveland.  Having such a proximity to lakes got me interested in them.  I had great high school biology teachers and knew I wanted to go into biology by the time I was applying for college admission.  However, it was not until after my freshman year at the Ohio State University that I took several courses at OSU’s F.T. Stone Laboratory and decided I would work in Great Lakes science and teaching science.

Describe your research related to the Great Lakes.
My research interests include broadly aquatic ecology, and more narrowly biology and ecology of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and benthic macroinvertebrates.  I am interested in applied issues dealing with human-induced changes to aquatic communities, ecosystems, and landscapes including causes and consequences of eutrophication on river and lake ecosystems and invasive species’ effects on lake ecosystems.  My major research systems which I have worked in have been the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, Lake Erie’s western, central, and eastern basins, and islands specifically looking at Harmful Algal Blooms and watershed-river & lake interactions.  I have also led service-learning projects dealing with ecological restoration in the Lake Pontchartrain/ Maurepas ecosystem. Finally, I have also developed and applied ecological indicators based on plankton communities to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Describe an experience you have had working with educators or the community. What was something that surprised you or that you especially enjoyed about the experience?

For several years I took Defiance College students on service-learning trips to the New Orleans area to work on ecological restoration projects in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill.  I really enjoyed working with the science educators from the University of New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana University.  Not only were they incredibly welcoming and friendly, but they were extremely knowledgeable about not only the environmental issues that the region faced but also cultural and social issues.

Why do you think it is important for scientists to share their research with educators?
The most important reasons for this is so that students are both educated about issues that science is addressing and become interested in scientific fields at an early age.
What do you think are the most critical skills for students interested in a career in science?

Curiosity (if that can be considered a skill).  If you are not interested in why things are the way they are you will not be a good scientist.  Further, curiosity usually means that you are really interested in what you are curious about.  I don’t know of many of those in science that do not have a genuine interest in what they work on.

Contact Doug Kane: dkane@defiance.edu