Faculty Profile: Dr. Mark Oemke
Mark Oemke grew up catching frogs and crayfish, sparking an interest in the water systems of Michigan.
“I find the uniqueness of aquatic plants and animals very interesting as their adaptations to life in the water are often quite extraordinary,” the assistant professor of biology says. “I am always finding something new to investigate and the questions are never answered.”
Oemke came is Alma in 2002 after spending 14 years as an aquatic biologist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
“I wanted to show the students who have never seen the aquatic world how really cool it is, particularly the organisms that thrive in such a wet environment!” he says.
“This is extremely important today because so many students are disconnected from nature and don't get to play in ponds or streams, or collect salamanders and pollywogs. I want them to see what they have been missing and give them an opportunity to get involved with some exciting science.”
Oemke is currently working with students to research the phytoplankton and zooplankton dynamics in Davis Lake at Alma’s field station, as well as studying the lake’s water quality.
“Our field station being so close affords a ready research area to study plants, trees or the bog waters,” he says. “I really enjoy having the students develop the skills to begin asking their own questions and designing their own projects to answer these questions.”
He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, his master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University and his doctorate at Michigan State University.