What Goes Around by Amber Mans

What Goes Around

Glass, Wood, Steel

Amber Mans, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In Collaboration with Rebecca Doyle-Morin, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Dr. Rebecca Doyle-Morin finds her study in the invertebrates that exist beneath what our eyes can visibly perceive. She spends her summers on Wisconsin waters collecting samples to test the levels of zooplankton in lake regions around the state, studying their population patterns and fluctuations. What Goes Around is a scaled model of some of these microscopic organisms and brings to attention the invisible invertebrates that fuel our lakes. The zooplankton, which consist of a daphnia, rotifer, copepod, and bosmina, are a key food supply for fish within our freshwater ecosystems; while the fish consume the zooplankton, those same organisms consume diatoms, single celled algae, for energy. What Goes Around aims to trace the path of energy in that food chain, starting with the algae, which is lined through each zooplanktons’ digestive tracts, and into the native fish of our freshwater systems.

“Everyone knows about fish, but very few people have a strong appreciation for the organisms that help to support the top of our lake food chainsthe plankton!  It is such a fascinating community of creatures that so few know about because of their microscopic size. I was so excited to have the opportunity to work with an artist to bring them to ‘magnified’ life.”Doyle-Morin


Amber Mans is an inter-disciplinary artist at Madison, Wisconsin, in their freshman year of undergraduate study at UW-Madison in Fine Arts. They primarily focus in glassblowing, sculpture, and 2-D drawing. You can find them on Instagram @amber.mans1.

ABOUT THE Water Partner

Dr. Becky Doyle-Morin is a freshwater community ecologist who specializes in the plankton, or free-floating communities of microscopic plants and animals, that dominate the middle of many lake food webs. She has specialized knowledge about the zooplankton, or microscopic animal communities and really enjoy thinking about how they interact with the phytoplankton that they graze, the other zooplankton that they compete with (and sometimes prey upon) and the fish and other organisms that they feed. She also loves thinking about how these small animal communities play such an important role in driving lake ecosystem nutrient dynamics. Dr. Doyle-Morin has expanded her work recently to the benthos (sediment layer) of local farm streams, where she has started to explore the ecosystem impact of larger invertebrates like mussels and clams here in our Wisconsin agricultural landscape.