The U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS) scientist who--nearly single-handedly--made the Indiana Dunes
a cutting-edge site in the country for the study of E. coli, beach
health, and predictive modeling is retiring after 25 years of service.
Whitman, chief of the USGS Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station in
Porter, will retire on Feb. 28.
Whitman earned his
Ph.D. at Texas A & M University in aquatic ecology and, as an associate
professor of biology, taught at Indiana University Northwest before being
hired as Chief Scientist at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Whitman then served
as Station Chief for the USGS, co-located at the National Lakeshore for 20
specialized in recreational water quality of Great Lakes beaches and
swimming waters, with a focus on microbiological and ecological
work identifying natural populations of bacteria, thought only to be present
in human sewage, changed scientific thinking, our understanding of E.
coli bacteria, and the monitoring of recreational water for human health
risk worldwide,” USGS said in a statement released on Wednesday. “His
studies on bacteria concentrations in beach sand, forest soils, and algae
have been recognized as pioneering work in this field.”
published over 100 scholarly journal articles and reports and several books,
and he co-founded the Great Lakes Beach Association, an international
organization of beach managers, scientists, and policy makers which now
numbers more than 1,100 members.
expertise has been invaluable to local, state, federal, and nonprofit
agencies around the Great Lakes, including the Indiana Dunes federal and
state parks, cities of Milwaukee, Chicago, Gary, Michigan City, and other
Great Lake states,” USGS said. “In the course of his expansive career,
samples from virtually every water body in Northwest Indiana and Chicago
have passed through Whitman’s laboratory for biological and chemical
analysis, with his findings impacting daily decision-making for people and
water throughout the region.”