Jerry 'River' Kaster, PhD
Emeritus Professor
Aquatic Invertebrate Ecologist
School of Freshwater Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Kamila Chomicz
Kamila Chomicz

Dr. Jerry “River” Kaster has been an aquatic ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences for 42 years. Jerry holds graduate degrees from UW-Stevens Point (MS) and the University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD). He has spearheaded numerous scientific explorations, provided the foundation for the international scientific journal, Freshwater Science, now in its 40th year of publication, and taught many undergrad and graduate courses. Since 2007, he has dedicated work to conserving pristine Laguna Bacalar in the southern Yucatan Peninsula. 

His research has been supported from grants and contracts from Federal (NSF, NOAA, DOD, DOT, USEPA, USACE, USFWS), State, and NGOs (e.g., National Geographical Society). Jerry has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses: Coupling Science and Business Ingenuity, Maritime Life: Myth and Practicality, Creative Science Communication, Frontiers in Freshwater Science, Limnology, Freshwater Field Analysis, and many more. 

Favorite hobby: boats.

Motto: "Consider all possibilities.

Favorite self-quotes: 
    “I am redundant, therefore I am”.
    "Only God and quarks are in confinement"

Scholarship Letter, So say all.

“Dr. Jerry L. Kaster long served as a professor of invertebrate biology and ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for 42 years, retiring in 2020. He is renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of the animal kingdom (the 97% of it), constantly amazing students and faculty alike with his erudition, and recognized as an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher. He was the founder and chief editor of the Journal of Freshwater Invertebrate Biology which became the Journal of the North American Benthological Society in 1985, and later renamed the Journal of Freshwater Science, published by the Society for Freshwater Science. His research took him far afield, including Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia, the oldest and deepest lake in the world, Lake Skadar, Yugoslavia, Laguna Bacalar, Mexico, and other lakes and stream where he never failed to find some fascinating organism that most of us never see or appreciate. He was an active member of the Center for Great Lakes Studies, serving a term as interim director and instrumental in the formation of the Great Lakes WATER Institute, the predecessor to the School of Freshwater Sciences where he was a founding member of the faculty in 2009. He received his undergraduate degree with a double major in biology and chemistry from Winona State University, a MS from the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a PhD from the University of Colorado.

In recognition of this remarkable career, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences has established and endowed the Jerry L. Kaster Scholarship Fund, intended to support both graduate and undergraduate student attendance at professional conferences to present their work. Therefore, the UWM Foundation has created such a fund …in perpetuity.

So say all.

Congratulations Dr. Kaster.”

  (Why? I do not know.)

The only reason we exist in any state of reality is because of our redundancy.

I am redundant, therefore I am.

And how narrow is the middle path? If there is a middle, then there must be boundaries.

Redundancy allows detection by establishing pattern. It is whom we all appear to be.

Evolution is a process that created reality from illusion.

From the primal Homogeneity arose the first distortion with redundancy to create forever the Heterogeneity of the Universe.

That the process of evolution recognized amalgamated wave distortions is remarkable. 

The Homogeneity simultaneously possesses the void of nothingness and the potential for everything. 

Your experience before birth is the experience you will re-visit at death. 

A considerable deviation from redundancy is a break in social normality.

It is accepted to deviate from the norm temporarily – to rub up against the lines or even go out of the lines for a short time. However, if too much time is spent outside of the lines, then you have become eccentric and if you stay outside of the lines then you are mad.

A narrow path in the middle of the lines is equally confining as a narrow path outside the lines.

One can be equally as mad working within the framework of expectation as working outside the framework of expectation; however, the outcome is vastly different

Redundancy is a sure path toward mediocrity, let alone boredom.

Formal education is rampant with endless redundancy. 

Evolution has linked survival to both redundancy and exploration -- species persist because of redundancy, and adapt because of exploration.

Biological evolution is a continuation of the earliest physical evolution; it is the same story

Biological evolution is a process that creates reality from an illusion

The homogeneity is speckled with illusions of itself

Homogeneity -------> Heterogeneity happens

"When the people feel the bison’s hoof rumble the earth, they ask, 'is it the bison that rumbles 
the earth or the earth that rumbles the bison?' The Buddhist monk responds, 'neither, the mind moves both'.
The shaman responds 'neither, they are all one and the same, the earth is the bison; the bison is the earth, and the mind is both'." (anon)

"An old Mexican proverb goes, “Better grace without perfection, than perfection without grace.” (anon)

It is egocentric and naïve to believe that science holds all the answers;
  It can only answer the small set that lies within the scope of the scientific method.

If it is not within the realm of science,
  does it not exist?

Science cannot explain the beauty of a flower, 
but the flower remains beautiful.

The flower was beautiful before science existed.

Science has grown from spiritualism.

The scientific method that builds science knowledge is more confining and less complex 
than the capability of the mind which created it.

Science answers only questions that follow the rules of science

Accept science not as a limitation but as a facilitation.

Creation in the mind initiates all that we know

The mind’s reality is built from the mind’s perception

Knowledge is the exchange commodity of the intellect 

Redundant thought is confined thought.

Every thought is a coupon for knowledge, 
redeem it

The commonality of the common insures the same

Time lens: concepts change

Fish: Deformed Invertebrates

Space-time distorts history

Because matter distorts space-time, an absolute history can not exist, 
thus, history is both curvilinear and convoluted

Only God and quarks are in confinement

Even the worm’s belly never touches the ground

Be careful the can of worms you open,
a lot of ill will can emerge

Process: gets you where you’re going

The hens cluck madly at the fox,
He cares not

The older I grow, the simpler life becomes 

Even the lowest slug smiles occasionally

Nothingness is the state of homogeneity

The reservation is hot and I have no peyote, but the spirit still visits

Existence is a continuous state of growing heterogeneity

May your happiness expand like popping corn 

The simplest encounter with science/abstraction can redirect thought in a most curious way

Ecology exists because of the space-matter equivalence

All biological structure and function is underpinned by gravity

Matter is built of quantum distortions of space
(you are distorted space)

The continuity threshold is the perceptional distinction between matter and space

Your electromagnetic body is a radio beacon transmitting into space

Perfection is an unnecessary burden

Mass and energy are different expressions of wave frequency 

The homogeneity is everything, and yet it is nothing

Fundamental science knows no time limit 

The moon skitters across the dark, the drop swells from the grass blade

When the spirit shakes the earth, the buffalo come

Only your mind limits your success 

The word seeks truth from the pen, the paper speaks the word

Electromagnetic forces dictate life function; 

Hey dad, where’s the hot sauce? Imprinting is strong.

Nothingness only exists in the context of everything,
nothingness and everything are equivalent

A certain sign of death: no questions stream from one’s mind

Retro-evolution: we are livestock farmed by bacteria

Since we are 80% water, should we not be invisible when swimming? 

One’s knowledge base should always be in flux 

Happiness is a new can of worms every week

The fish believes you are refracted;
whose truth is true?

One’s behavior propagates in others

The fool’s vice,
oh, what a foolish thought

Economic emancipation will drive equality

Safety is enhanced but identity always compromised when running with the pack 

Technology is science at work

‘The sky’s the limit’? Surely a star never seen! 
(5 MYBP: ‘The tree is the limit’)

Conflict tears open the heart like fire consumes the wood; only ashes of defeat survive

It is always fiction before it is non-fiction

Sometimes fiction is blurred by reality

Self-portrait - - On the fool’s advice, I witness failure. 

The web extends to both the spider and the insect that it captures

Because something lives does not mean that it has life

In space-time, if time is continuous, then space must be continuous (i.e. all things of space are woven together by space-time)

Different rates of time are analogous to different densities of space

The surface of matter is a phase transition with space,
gravity emanates as part of the phase change

You are inescapably linked to the rock by space-time distortions;
you are the rock, the rock is you

Schrodinger (physicist) and Lovelock (biologist) were both compromised--
  Schrodinger: waves are everything, literally; Lovelock: everything is connected, literally

Matter and life: both bumps in the road

Short CV

Jerry L. Kaster 
School of Freshwater Sciences 
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
600 East Greenfield Avenue  
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413 414-382-1700; 414-382-1705 (fax) 

A.Professional Preparation: 
Austin Community College, Austin, MN. Business. AS 1968.  
Winona State University, Winona, MN. Biology/Chemistry. BS 1972.  
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, WI. Natural Resources. MS 1976.  
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. Biology: Aquatic Invertebrate Ecology. PhD 1978. 

Associate Professor Emeritus, School of Freshwater Sciences, Univ. Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2020-P
Associate Professor, School of Freshwater Sciences, Univ. Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2010-2020. 
Interim Director, Center for Great Lakes Studies, Univ. Wisconsin- Milwaukee, 1996-1997.  
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1984-2010. 
Associate Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute, Univ. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1984-present. 
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1978-1984. 
Assistant Scientist, Center for Great Lakes Studies, Univ. Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1978-1984. 
Laboratory Assistant in Dr. Robert Pennak’s laboratory, CU-Boulder, 1977-78. 
Research Associate, Smithsonian Institute’s Limnology and Oceanography Program, Moraca River and Lake Skadar, Yugoslavia, June 1974, through UW-Stevens Point. 
Research Assistant, Fisheries Cooperative Research Unit, Univ. Wisc.-Stevens Point, 1974-76.  

(i) Publications Most Closely Related to Proposal

Héctor A. Hernández-Arana, Alejandro Vega-Zepeda, Miguel A. Ruíz-Zárate, Luisa I. Falcón-Álvarez, Haydée López-Adame, Jorge Herrera-Silveira y Jerry Kaster. 2015. Transverse coastal corridor: from freshwater lakes to coral reefs ecosystems. In: Biodiversity and Conservation of the Yucatán Peninsula, Eds: Islebe, G.A., Calmé, S., León-Cortés, J.L., Schmook, B. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. 2015. 401 p. [book chapter]

Kaster,J.L., Groff, C.M., Klump, J.V., Rupp, D.L., Hansen, A., Barbour, S., Hall, L., 2018. Evaluation of Lower Green Bay benthic fauna with emphasis on re-ecesis of Hexagenia mayfly nymphs, J. Great Lakes Res. DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2018.06.006

Klump, J.V., Brunner, S.L., Grunert, B.K., Kaster, J.L., Weckerly, K.A., Houghton, E.W., Kennedy, J.A., Valenta, T., 2018. Evidence of persistent, recurring summertime hypoxia in Green Bay, Lake Michigan, J. Great Lakes Res.

Klump. J.V., Bratton, J., Fermanich, K., Forsythe, P., Harris, H.J., Howe, R.W., Kaster, J.L. 2018. Green Bay, Lake Michigan: A proving ground for Great Lakes restoration. J. Great Lakes Res.

Groff, C. and J. Kaster. 2017. Survival, Growth, and Production of Hexagenia bilineata Mayflies in Fluidized Sediment from Lower Green Bay, Lake Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research.

(ii) Other Relevant Publications 

Waples, J. T., R. Paddock, J. Janssen, D. Lovalvo, B. Schulze, J. Kaster, and J. V. Klump. 2005. High resolution bathymetry and lakebed characterization in the nearshore zone of western Lake Michigan. J. Great Lakes Res. 31 (Supplement 1): 64-74.

MacKenzie, R.A., J.L. Kaster and J. Val Klump. 2004. The ecological patterns of benthic invertebrates in a Great Lakes Coastal Wetland. J. Great Lakes Res. 30:58-69. [publication]

Bardygula-Nonn, Lidia G., Jerry L. Kaster, and Thomas Glonek. 1995. Phospholipid profiling of sediments using phosphorus-31 nuclear magnetic resonance. Lipids 30(11): 1047-1051. 

Kaster, J.L. 1999. US Patent 5893233. Displacement of zebra mussels and other encrustaceous organisms using an air injection technique. 1996. US Patent 5520810. Water filtering using a bed of live zebra mussels. 

Kaster, J.L. 1996. Zebra mussel biofilter. Status: granted: No. 5208100

Kaster, J.L. 2012. Ecological consequences of microbialite encrustation by the invasive black striped mussel, Mytilopsis sallei. Proceedings of the International Stromatolite Symposium, Bacalar, Mexico. January 2012. 

Kaster, J. L. 2009. Ecological Early Warning for Laguna Bacalar: The Black Striped Mussel. 
Laguna Bacalar Scientific Symposium Proceedings. Bacalar, Mexico. January 2009. 

D. Last Grants/Contracts
​NSF. Award number 1522493, 7/1/15-6/30/18, J.V. Klump, PI. Title: Planning Grant: Developing a strategic plan and infrastructure needs for the Laguna Bacalar Field Station, Bacalar Mexico.

Biofouling Technologies, Inc. 2018-2021. Title: Biofouling technology studies. 

While Gregory Mendel was working quietly in the background, the raging scientific argument of the mid-1800's was about whether the preformed "little human" of the Homunculus came from the male or the female. It was between the "spermist" and "ovist" scientists. No one questioned that the entire idea of preformed humans within the sperm or ova might be severely wrong.
Believing for millennia that procreation was a miracle gifted solely to woman, once men recognized that their kids looked a lot like them, they put 2 and 2 together and began to think sex had something to do with them and how their children looked. Sex and procreation were not previously associated.  The man, sex, children nexus fully crumbled the "goddess concept" that placed women on a pedestal for the miraculous ability to create a baby. So a few thousand years later the spermists of course won the spermist/ovist argument, thus the male sperm Homunculus above. According to the science thought of that time, the Homunculus was clearly delivered by the male. Gregory Mendel's genetics definitively clarified the issue.

The path of science is littered with numerous "malfeasance" that oddly enough moved science forward by stimulating creative discussions.

Sometimes the self-correcting nature of science can take a very long time.
Oncoid microbialite (stromatolite) with snail living inside. Note water path entry/exit maintained through Oncoid.
Rio Chaac, Bacalar, MX.                  Photo credit: Kamila Chomicz