Cardinale began his career working on restoration of Great Lakes coastal wetlands that had been drained for agriculture.

He and his colleagues showed that, once hydrologic connectivity is re-established, the vegetation of drained wetlands could be restored from existing seed banks that had survived nearly a hundred years of farming in agricultural soils.

Cardinale recently returned to his roots in Great Lakes restoration after he established the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR). CIGLR brings together academic institutions, government agencies, non-governmental agencies, and private businesses to work together on achieving sustainable use of the Great Lakes. With funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), CIGLR and its 40+ scientific staff have worked on a number of restoration projects in the Great Lakes, including restoration of fish habitat, management of invasive species, and remediation of coastal zones that have been impacted by harmful algal blooms and hypoxia. The Cardinale lab has recently been commissioned to evaluate the success of coastal restoration projects around the Great Lakes, and to develop management recommendations about which types of projects are most successful.



  • Department Head, Ecosystem Science and Management