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EPA GLNPO Great Lakes monitoring program

 Jim Watkins, Lars Rudstam, Toby Holda, Stephanie Figary, Joe Connolly, Chris Marshall, Gabriella Doud, Beth Whitmore, Patrick Boynton, Sarah Schaeffer (Cornell ), Alexander Karatayev, Lyubov Burlakova, Knut Mehler, Susan Daniel (SUNY Buffalo State College ), Annie Scofield (Purdue University) (Funded by US EPA Region 5 Great Lakes National Program Office, Chicago, IL)

2019 was the second year of the second 5-year grant on monitoring all five Great Lakes for chlorophyll, zooplankton, mysid shrimp, and benthos. Benthos sampling by Buffalo State now also includes larger surveys in each of the lakes every five years associated with the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative. The US EPA monitors all five Great Lakes each April and August aboard their 180 ft. research vessel, the Lake Guardian. The ship has state of the art sampling equipment including a Seabird CTD (equipped with sensors for temperature, dissolved oxygen, light, particles and chlorophyll) and onboard laboratory facilities. They also have traditional nets and dredges for plankton and benthic sampling. Zooplankton and mysid samples from these surveys are then brought back to CBFS in our microscopy laboratory. We are nearly caught up with the large sample load, enabling us to present last year’s zooplankton data at the spring Great Lake fishery manager meetings, which was one of our goals. We also explored advanced technology (i.e. hydroacoustics and Triaxus vehicle) in comparison with our traditional measurements. These tools provide high-resolution measurements on horizontal and vertical spatial scales. In addition to monitoring, research projects in the grant include genetic barcoding of invertebrates, mysid biology (Cornell graduate student Toby Holda) and zooplankton indicators (Cornell graduate student Stephanie Figary). At Buffalo State, our collaborators Karatayev, Burlakova and Mehler use video transect techniques to measure dreissenid mussel abundance.