PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — University of Wisconsin-Platteville biology professor Dr. Rebecca Doyle-Morin uses her ecology background to give students real-world research experience. As a freshwater community ecologist, Doyle-Morin is conducting research to look for ecologically friendly solutions for excessive algae growth.

Doyle-Morin has been studying local lakes since 2011, including a former cattle watering pond at Gooseberry Hill LLC in Darlington, Wis. Students in the Fundamentals of Biological Investigations course are currently working to help the owners convert the pond into a recreational system by researching methods to reduce vegetative growth. “I am hoping that the outcome of my research is that we find a natural treatment that works for these landowners and isn’t cost prohibitive,” said Doyle-Morin


Students are testing the effectiveness of barley straw on the forms of vegetative growth in the pond. “Some studies have shown it releases chemicals that naturally slow down phytoplankton growth, but the research that has been done on it is limited and has shown mixed results,” said Doyle-Morin. Another option they may explore is looking at the effects of dried leaves, which have also shown similar effects in previous studies.

Students get to work as practicing scientists by designing and conducting research in the classroom and in the field, and by communicating their findings to community partners and to the scientific community through in class assignments. “I think these opportunities plant a seed, letting [the students] see how they can use their education to make a real positive impact on their communities,” said Doyle-Morin.

Contact: Rebecca Doyle-Morin, UW-Platteville Department of Biology Assistant Professor, (608) 342-6156,

Written By: Nicole Smith, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,