drone aerial view of the Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake Institute

female standing on rock in Great Salt LakeOur Mission

Connecting people to Great Salt Lake through research and education.

Our Story

Great Salt Lake Institute (GSLI) was established in 2008 with support from Westminster University and an external grant, allowing us to hire a coordinator, involve student employees, and purchase equipment to reach out to the community in a real way. We began by running community field trips and developing high school and college curriculum on GSL. Shortly thereafter, we created a GSLI summer undergraduate research program.


Meet the Team


Bonnie Baxter at the Great Salt Lake

Bonnie Baxter, PhD

Great Salt Lake Institute Director


David Parrott Headshot

David Parrott, PhD

Great Salt Lake Institute Assistant Director



Get Involved

We welcome your participation in our study of Great Salt Lake. We want to hear from you, whether you're a scientist, a poet, a performance artist. We are interested in helping people make connections to enhance study, understanding and appreciation of the lake and its surroundings. To get involved, email gslinstitute@westminsteru.edu.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.


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Great Salt Lake

As one of the extreme ecosystems of the world, where life is test to its limits, Great Salt Lake provides new territory for exploration and stewardship.

spiral jetty

Spiral Jetty

We are committed to protect and value the Spiral Jetty as a unique, world-renowned artwork, and as a place where we can conduct valuable research on Great Salt Lake.

students in lake

Teacher Resources

We support field trips, teacher training, and curriculum development centered on the Great Salt Lake.




Director of the Great Salt Lake Institute, Dr. Bonnie Baxter and Jaimi Butler edited and published Great Salt Lake Biology. This book includes many Westminster faculty and students as authors. This is the first book ever centered on Great Salt Lake biology. Authors explore the lake from the microbial diversity to the invertebrates and the birds who eat them. Unusual perspectives are included, including the impact of tar seeps on the lake biology and why the Great Salt Lake may help us search for life on Mars. The role of human perceptions and our effect on the biology of the lake is also considered.


professors posing with children's book they wroteDirector of the Great Salt Lake Institute, Dr. Bonnie Baxter, and former coordinator, Jaimi Butler, published the children’s book The Great Great Salt Lake Monster Mystery, which follows children as they look for the fabled Great Salt Lake Monster while discovering brine shrimp, birds, salt, and much more.