Robert Thomson

Sanborn Elementary School
Ossineke, MI

Project Description:

Thomson’s innovative “Rusty Raiders” program is a student-led research project that is part of the Thunder Bay River Watershed Project. It’s designed to prevent and slow the spread of rusty crayfish into new waters. Rusty crayfish displace native crayfish, reduce the amount and kinds of aquatic plants, decrease the density and variety of invertebrates, and reduce some fish populations. Through the program, students will be able to play a part in the removal of an invasive species and support, sustain, and secure the ecological and economic health of their local fresh water resources. Through research, students will focus on understanding how invasive species are changing the local fresh water ecosystem and on conserving and preserving local fresh water resources. Technology also will be incorporated with the research. Thomson and his students will develop, build and use underwater robotics to safely research areas of the river that would not be able to be searched without the robots. Thomson, who lives in Ossineke, hopes his program will excite and engage his students, and at the same time, limit the rusty crayfish population in the local river ecosystem allowing for a more diverse fish population.