Michigan Sea Grant awards $766,032 for Great Lakes research

March 27, 2001
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Michigan Sea Grant recently awarded grants to support six new Great Lakes research projects during 2001-2003. The projects will address coastal wetland dynamics, aquatic nuisance species policy, Great Lakes episodic events, and environmental monitoring of Lake St. Clair.

Federal funds totaling $766,032 are provided by the National Sea Grant College Program, with matching funds totaling $457,198.

Michigan Sea Grant, a cooperative program of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, is one of 30 university-based programs in a national network that promotes greater knowledge and stewardship of the Great Lakes and ocean resources.

The new research projects coincide with several of the five priority issues identified in Michigan Sea Grant’s five-year strategic plan—Great Lakes coastal wetlands, sustainable coastal development, Great Lakes trophic dynamics, aquatic nuisance species, and Great Lakes education.

Following is a list and brief description of the newly funded research projects and principal investigators. For complete descriptions of current research projects, visit the Michigan Sea Grant Web site at www.miseagrant.edu.

  • Effects of Great Lakes Marsh Fragmentation on Fish Assemblages: One of the greatest impacts of development on coastal wetlands is fragmentation, which results in loss of habitat and isolation of core marsh areas. Researchers will determine the effects of fragmentation on marsh fish communities in Les Cheneaux, a system of narrow channels and islands in the eastern portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Paul Webb, University of Michigan James Diana, University of Michigan
  • Sedimentation and Emergent Plant Decay in Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands: This project will explore the effects of excessive sedimentation in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Researchers will study the effects of sedimentation on wetland microbial activity, which assists in decomposition. Robert Neely, Eastern Michigan University Robert Sinsabaugh, University of Toledo
  • An Environmental Monitoring System for Lake St. Clair: The goal of this project is to develop a near real-time Environmental Monitoring Network (EMN) to provide timely predictions of local water quality conditions on Lake St. Clair that pose potential threats to human health. With a high level of local governmental support from around the Lake St. Clair basin, project researchers will also create a web site to provide current lake information and forecasts of lake water quality conditions at public beaches. Guy A. Meadows, University of Michigan
  • The Economics of Policy Options for Controlling the Introduction and Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species in the Great Lakes: Project researchers will identify and assess various economic methods that may be used to prevent and control aquatic nuisance species. Potential options include economic incentives (taxes or subsidies), regulations (mandatory technology adoption), market-based systems and others. Researchers will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these various policy options and the social ramifications. Richard D. Horan, Michigan State University Frank Lupi, Michigan State University
  • Ecosystem Mosaics: Modeling Pattern and Process Using Remotely Sensed Imagery: This project will draw from and complement two ongoing research efforts: the Keweenaw Interdisciplinary Transport Experiment in Superior (KITES), and Episodic Events-Great Lakes Experiment (EEGLE) project in southern Lake Michigan. Researchers will use remote sensing technology to monitor the frequency of storm-induced episodic resuspension events, how particles are transported within them, and estimate surface chlorophyll and sediment concentrations. Judith Wells Budd, Michigan Technological University Changsheng Chen, University of Georgia
  • Estimating Nonmarket Values for Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands: Ecological wetland functions and other beneficial qualities are often overlooked by current land-use practices and mitigation strategies, resulting in the loss of natural wetlands. Researchers will develop a random survey of Michigan residents to identify the wetland characteristics that people value most in an effort to calculate their economic value. Michael D. Kaplowitz, Michigan State University Frank Lupi, Michigan State University John P. Hoehn, Michigan State University