Sonja Michaluk has been conducting bioassessment since 2010, and has been certified in waterway health monitoring since 2011. Her environmental genetics research includes: DNA Barcoding, mutations, spectrophotometry, and statistical analysis. These efforts are interdisciplinary and ambitious, spanning marine and freshwater biology, entomology, herpetology, malacology, and geology. In addition to independent research, Ms. Michaluk works in leading research institutes and has been an active Society for Freshwater Science member since 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology named a minor planet in her honor. Her definition of “macroinvertebrate” is published in Encyclopedia Britannica.
Sonja Michaluk develops and teaches curricula, consults, and has been called upon to start water monitoring programs.
She is a successful advocate for clean water, wetlands, and ecosystems.
Tell us what the water concern in your country is!
Water scarcity affects every continent and was listed by the World Economic Forum as the largest global risk in terms of potential impact over the next decade. 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity at least one month per year, expected to grow to two-thirds of the world’s population.From where comes your interest in water?
Age 3, sailing, walking streams, peeking under rocks; life surrounds water. Age 6, environmental monitoring. Age 8, walking forests with Ethnobotanist; connections between our society, plants, animals. Age 10, gathering data, speaking at meetings, protecting wild places. Water gives life to amphibians, crustaceans, fish; to our human population as well.This is what I think is one of the solutions for a sustainable future:
Utilization of larval Chironomid midges to monitor health of freshwater adds significant value for understanding scarce water resources, capturing cumulative effects of all stressors: nonpoint source nutrient and heavy metal pollution, temperature, dissolved oxygen, flow alteration. The method I developed increases accuracy, precision and statistical power of stream health assessment.
It is forecast that 66% of our population will experience water scarcity within a decade, leaving us more dependent on surface water for drinking. This requires more filtration infrastructure, and more monitoring of surface water. Current methods rely on expensive and technically challenging manual identification of biological samples. Macroinvertebrates spend their larval lives within a small area of water, showing cumulative effects of habitat alteration and pollutants that chemical testing and field sensors do not. Chironimidae are a global common denominator. DNA Barcoding of Chironomidae results in more accurate and precise waterway health data, adding significant value for monitoring scarce water resources. The learnings from these data are being applied building microbiology capability at a nonprofit scientific water study institute.