Researcher discusses sand and pebbles at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

From staff reports

While enjoying our Lake Michigan beaches and sand dunes, have you considered that the sands and pebbles under your feet differ from place to place? You can learn more about the differences between two National Lakeshores by attending a program at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on April 15.

Dr. Zoran Kilibarda (Indiana University Northwest) will present a talk entitled “Comparison of beach pebbles and coastal dune sands between Sleeping Bear Dunes and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshores” on Friday, April 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center Auditorium in Empire.

Dr. Kilibarda’s talk will describe the significant differences in beach pebbles and sand between the two National Lakeshores. Native gravel types are different, and the large amount of anthropogenic fill at Indiana Dunes that has been added since the late 1800s to expand industrial land contrasts with Sleeping Bear Dunes which has virtually no anthropogenic pebbles. The sand in the costal dune systems are similar between the National Lakeshores, but with subtle differences. There is a larger discrepancy in sand texture between the foredunes and dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes, as the dune sand is finer. In terms of mineral makeup, both areas are predominantly made of quartz sand. However, Sleeping Bear Dunes dunes and foredunes contain larger amount of carbonates, chert and feldspar.

Dr. Zoran Kilibarda is Professor of Geology and Chair of Department of Geosciences at Indiana University Northwest. He obtained his Ph.D in Geology from the University of Nebraska and he completed his undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Belgrade in Serbia. Dr. Kilibarda has won numerous teaching and research awards. Kilibarda’s research interests are in the geomorphology and sedimentology of Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes; geomorphology and sedimentology of Indiana’s inland dunes; carbonate sedimentology of the Southern Adriatic Carbonate Platform; sedimentology of Adriatic Flysch; and unconformities, eolian carbonates, karst and paleokarst. Dr. Kilibarda is a Fulbright Scholar, which gave him the opportunity to teach at the University of Montenegro in 2013.

These talks are part of a Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore speaker series called “Research Rendezvous.” To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the NPS and highlight the value of national parks as our nation’s “living laboratories,” the National Lakeshore is hosting a series of public talks by park researchers in 2016. All Research Rendezvous presentations offered at the National Lakeshore are free. Upcoming “Research Rendezvous” presentations include:

“Investigating the Importance of Deer for Lyme Disease Ecology: A Natural Experiment Presented by Lake Michigan Islands” by Erik Foster (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) and Dr. Jennifer Sidge (Michigan State University) on Thursday, May 12 at 9:30 a.m.

“Avian Botulism in Lake Michigan: How Does it Happen?” by Dr. Harvey Bootsma (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) on Wednesday, May 25, at 7 p.m.

“The Evolution of Slavery in Ants” by Dr. Susanne Foitzik (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany) on Tuesday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m.

“Advancing Monitoring Programs at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Using DNA Technology” by Dr. Murulee Byappanahalli and Meredith Nevers (U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center) and Christopher Otto (National Park Service) on Thursday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m.

“Ecological Impacts of Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila paniculata) Invasion and Management in Sand Dunes” by Matthew Reid (University of Louisville) on Thursday, July 14 at 9:30 a.m.

Talks are scheduled once or twice a month throughout 2016, with more being added frequently. Please check www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/events.htm for the current schedule of upcoming talks.