Lacawac Sanctuary researchers receive awards

Projects include threats to zooplankton and nitrogen cycling at Lake Lacawac

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  • Dr. Elise Heiss (Photo provided)

  • Rachel Pilla (Photo provided)

— Lacawac Sanctuary in Lake Ariel recently awarded two grants to scientists conducting research at the sanctuary field station.

The Robert Estabrook Moeller Memorial Awards were presented to Dr. Elise Heiss of King’s College and Rachel Pilla of Miami University of Ohio.

Dr. Heiss, a chemistry professor, has been awarded a $2,000 grant for her research on nitrogen cycling in Lake Lacawac titled "Investigating Environmental Controls on Water Column Nitrification." Pilla, a Ph.D student, has also been awarded a $2,000 grant for her research titled "Mapping the Metabolic Landscape for Threatened Zooplankton Taxa in Lakes."

Dr. Robert E. Moeller, a long-time friend and supporter of the Lacawac Sanctuary, died in May 2011 at age 62. He was a limnologist, a researcher who studied the structure and function of lakes and the organisms that live in them.

"He was always generous in giving his time to help students and colleagues with their research," said a Lacawac press release. "Robert’s love of limnology and devotion to research led his work to be the centerpiece of his life. His breadth of understanding in limnology was impressive and ranged from aquatic botany and paleolimnology to the contemporary ecology of phytoplankton and zooplankton. His focus in more recent years was on the ecology of ultraviolet radiation and its effects on zooplankton-phytoplankton interactions.

Robert’s generosity extended to his establishing an endowed fund which will support Robert Estabrook Moeller Research Fellow awards to college and university students and faculty to do limnological research on Lake Lacawac and other Pocono region lakes."

Lacawac Sanctuary is a biological field station and environmental education center located on the shore of Lake Wallenpaupack. The station has been conducting scientific research and educating the public since 1966. More information may be found at

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