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Release: Jan. 15, 2002

Nakato Appointed Manager Of Mississippi Research Station

Tatsuaki Nakato, associate director of IIHR -- Hydroscience & Engineering, has been appointed manager of the Mississippi Riverside Environmental Research Station (MRERS), effective Jan. 15.

Operated by the University of Iowa College of Engineering's IIHR unit, MRERS will be the only university-affiliated, comprehensive river research station in the world. It will be housed in the Lucille A. Carver River Research and Education Facility, located near Muscatine, Iowa. Construction on the approximately $2.5 million, 8,400-square-foot structure began in May 2001 and is planned for completion this winter.

IIHR Director V.C. Patel says that the appointment will ensure that MRERS fulfills its potential and is particularly appropriate because the facility grew out of Nakato's vision. Nakato, in turn, says that he was inspired by a 1995 five-week boat trip on the Mississippi River to investigate riverbank erosion between St. Paul, Minn. and Cairo, Ill.

"I was overwhelmed by nature's work," Nakato says. "Because it is practically impossible to reproduce the extremely complex river ecosystem in the lab, we need a good field observation site." He adds that the station will be a place where biologists, hydraulicians, hydrologists, and other scientists will be working together to learn from one another as well as contributing to the education of elementary school, high school, and college students, who will also visit the facility.

Modeled after two world-renowned ocean research centers -- Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, Calif. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Mass. -- MRERS will take a similarly holistic approach toward river research. It will stimulate multidisciplinary research to assess the long-term impact of natural events and human activities on the river ecosystem and investigate ways to protect the river.

The facility is being made possible, in large part, by a $1.2 million gift to the UI Foundation from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust of Muscatine. Lucille Carver is a member of the Carver Trust Board of Trustees and the widow of the late Roy J. Carver Sr., the trust's founder. She attended the UI, received the Distinguished Service Award from the UI Alumni Association in 1972, and served on the UI Foundation Board from 1981 to 1985.

IIHR is one of the world's premier and oldest fluids research and engineering laboratories. Students and visitors from around the world have come to IIHR to study and conduct research and to carry acquired expertise back to their home countries.