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USGS Great Lakes Science Center. Great Lakes Research. GLSC Fisheries and Aquatic Research on the Great Lakes.

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USGS Great Lakes Science Center

Great Lakes Research

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GLSC Fisheries and Aquatic Research on the Great Lakes

Our Mission – To advance scientific knowledge and provide scientific information for restoring, enhancing, managing, and protecting the living resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem

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Our Basin-wide Facilities enable us to conduct research throughout the Great Lakes basin, and to link terrestrial, coastal, nearshore, and deepwater ecosystems.

Lake Superior




Biological Station



Hammond Bay Biological Station


Cheboygan Vessel Base




Lake Ontario

Biological Station


Tunison Laboratory

Ann Arbor


of Aquatic Science

Lake Michigan


Lake Erie

Ecological Research Station


Biological Station

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GLSC Research Focusing on: throughout the Great Lakes basin, and to link terrestrial, coastal, nearshore, and deepwater ecosystems.

  • Deepwater Science

  • Invasive Species

  • Aquatic Ecosystem Health

  • Restoration Ecology

  • Wetlands and Coastal Habitats

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Deepwater Science throughout the Great Lakes basin, and to link terrestrial, coastal, nearshore, and deepwater ecosystems.

Research Vessels on all 5 of the Great Lakes

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Long-term data provides information on changes in fish community structure and the impact of invasive species.

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Invasive species community structure and the impact of invasive species.

Our History:

  • Van Oosten part of international team working on smelt in Lake Champlain in late 1930’s

  • Hammond Bay Biological Station established in 1950 to control and eradicate sea lamprey

    Current Program:

  • Long-term monitoring of fish community structure and food-web dynamics

  • Targeted research addressing current and future partner and resource needs related to individual exotic species

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Sea Lamprey community structure and the impact of invasive species.

Lampricide Control

Data Archiving Tags

Alternative Control Technologies (barriers, sterilization of males)

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Zebra Mussel Expansion community structure and the impact of invasive species.

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Aquatic Ecosystem Health community structure and the impact of invasive species.

  • Focus areas:

  • Tributaries

  • Wetlands

  • Nearshore habitats

  • Deepwater habitats

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Diporiea community structure and the impact of invasive species.


Decline of Diporeia and Mysis

  • Deepwater benthic invertebrates and diet staple of fishes

  • Decline coincident with proliferation of invasive dreissenid mussels

  • Trophic dynamics – decline results in aquatic food web disruption

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Human Health: Swimming Advisories community structure and the impact of invasive species.

E. Coli and Lake Michigan Beach Closures

  • E. coli not as a nuisance species but as a component of the ecosystem

  • Life history of E. coli

  • Source is often wildlife and waterfowl

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Thiamine Deficiency Complex (TDC)/ community structure and the impact of invasive species.Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS)

  • Nutritional deficiency believed to result from salmonids (lake trout, salmon) consuming non-native forage fish (alewife, rainbow smelt)

  • May be fatal and seriously impact population and/or fish community

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Huron/Erie Corridor Initiative Their Habitats

This Initiative addresses:

  • Conservation biology of native species

  • Threats posed to native species by invasives (e.g. egg predation, similar spawning requirements)

  • Alteration of habitats used by native threatened and endangered species (e.g. substrate removal, reduced availability of low water velocity habitat, water temperature)

  • Restoration ecology

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Restoration of Native Mussels Detroit River

  • Unionids are the most endangered fauna in North America

  • Over 70% of the 300 species are listed as either endangered or threatened

  • In the Great Lakes basin, proliferation of dreissenid mussels pose a significant threat to native mussels

  • Research: assess unionid species composition abundance, and community structure, determine the potential of public lands to serve as refuges for unionids

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Lake trout restoration Detroit River

  • For over 40 years the GLSC has worked closely with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and its cooperating U.S. and Canadian Federal agencies, the eight Great Lakes states, the Province of Ontario, and Tribal fishery management agencies to restore lake trout populations in all of the Great Lakes.

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Wetlands and Coastal Habitats Detroit River

GLSC provides critical scientific information to natural resource managers through wetland restoration and management studies, and long-term effects of lake level changes (IJC partnership).

Metzger Marsh before and after restoration (western Lake Erie)

Wetland studies and development of new water level regulation plans for Lake Ontario

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Coastal Ecosystem Initiative Detroit RiverResearch Focus:

  • Understanding relationships between protection of natural coastal habitats and biota and environmental factors such as:

    • Water-level change

    • Coastal sediment dynamics

    • Coastal tributary sediment dynamics and hydrology

    • Ground water contributions to the coastal zone

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GLSC Research Focus Summary Detroit River

  • Deepwater Science – long-term datasets for fish population/community assessment

  • Invasive Species Program – understanding biological impacts of current invasives and preventing further invasions

  • Aquatic Ecosystem Health – food web dynamics and other key issues (E.coli,TDC/EMS)

  • Restoration Ecology – rehabilitation of native species and habitats

  • Wetlands and Coastal Habitats – wetland restoration and management studies; effects of Great Lakes water level changes

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USGS Great Lakes Science Center Detroit River

(Maybe something here to re-iterate the importance and value of water quality monitoring and research to GLSC projects; value of partnerships between BRD and WRD and also inter-agency collaborations.)