Aquatic Sensors Workshop

September 23-27, 2019  - Trout Lake Station, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin

(Enrollment for the 2019 workshop is now closed)

The North Temperate Lakes LTER and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Trout Lake Station are sponsoring a four-day workshop on aquatic sensors technology and implementation. This workshop is primarily aimed at graduate students and others in the environmental sciences who would like an introduction to electronics and sensors that measure physical and chemical variables in fresh water.

Although commercial sensors will be covered, a special emphasis is given to the increasing use of Arduino products in allowing individual scientists to create their own sensor systems at a fraction of the cost of commercial sensors and dataloggers. Workshop participants will assemble and program an Arduino-based microcontroller, datalogger and suite of sensors, which will be deployed on a buoy in a nearby lake.


  • Basic electronics - circuit analysis, useful components and concepts, multimeter use.
  • Sensor theory - temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved gasses, nutrients, pigments, and clarity.
  • Implementation and field techniques - platforms, power, materials, waterproofing.
  • Campbell Scientific dataloggers - wiring and programming
  • Arduino systems - connecting and programming compatible sensors.

Cost: $750. Includes course materials, food, lodging, and airport transportation to/from Madison, WI (MSN). We take credit cards.

Location: Trout Lake Station is in the northwoods of Wisconsin approximately 3.5 hours drive north of Madison. It is a year-round research station operated by the Center for Limnology, and has been supporting environmental and limnological research and training since 1925. Workshop participants will be housed and fed on-site.

Prerequisites: There are no academic prerequisites for taking the workshop. All material will begin at an introductory level. Some exposure to the basics of computer programming would be helpful, although not required.


Mark Gahler is an information manager for North Temperate Lakes LTER. He has a MS in Electronic and Computer Engineering from George Mason University, and a BS in Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics from UW-Madison

Paul Schramm is a research specialist for North Temperate Lakes LTER in charge of building and maintaining the buoys and other sensing platforms for the project. He has a MS in Freshwater and Marine Science from UW-Madison.

Renée Brown is Director of Technology at the University of New Mexico's Sevilleta Field Station, where she uses sensor networks and related technologies at field experiments and monitoring platforms to improve understanding of ecological processes in desert ecosystems. She is also Information Manager at the McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER.

Questions: Please contact gahler at wisc.edu with any questions you have about the workshop.