The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) is a scientific organization made up of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes of the world, and their watersheds, as well as those with an interest in such research.
Plastic debris types sampled from Humber Bay site. Its range, which has expanded to Lake Huron, poses a significant threat to the lower lake fishery. Since the s, more than invasive or non-native species have invaded the Great Lakes ecosystem from around the world, causing severe economic and ecological impacts.
During freezing weather with high winds, the "snow belts" receive regular snow fall from this localized weather pattern, especially along the eastern shores of the lakes. The lakes also moderate seasonal temperatures to some degree, but not with as large an influence as do large oceans; they absorb heat and cool the air in summer, then slowly radiate that heat in autumn.
They protect against frost during transitional weather, and keep the summertime temperatures cooler than further inland. This effect can be very localized and overridden by offshore wind patterns.
This temperature buffering produces areas known as " fruit belts ", where fruit can be produced that is typically grown much farther south.
For instance, Western Michigan has apple and cherry orchards, and vineyards cultivated adjacent to the lake shore as far north as the Grand Traverse Bay and Nottawasaga Bay in central Ontario. The eastern shore of Lake Michigan and the southern shore of Lake Erie have many successful wineries because of the moderating effect, as does the Niagara Peninsula between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Related to the lake effect is the regular occurrence of fog over medium-sized areas, particularly along the shorelines of the lakes. This is most noticeable along Lake Superior's shores.
The Great Lakes have been observed to help intensify storms, such as Hurricane Hazel inand the Goderich, Ontario tornadowhich moved onshore as a tornadic waterspout. In a rare tropical or subtropical storm was observed forming in Lake Huron, dubbed the Lake Huron cyclone.
Rather large severe thunderstorms covering wide areas are well known in the Great Lakes during mid-summer; these Mesoscale convective complexs or MCCs  can cause damage to wide swaths of forest and shatter glass in city buildings. These storms mainly occur during the night, and the systems sometimes have small embedded tornadoes, but more often straight-line winds accompanied by intense lightning.
Ecology[ edit ] Generalized schematic of Great Lakes waterline ecosystem Historically, the Great Lakes, in addition to their lake ecologywere surrounded by various forest ecoregions except in a relatively small area of southeast Lake Michigan where savanna or prairie occasionally intruded.
Logging, urbanization, and agriculture uses have changed that relationship. Some of these forests are second or third growth i.Coast Guard has instituted rules requiring the exchange of ballast water or sealing of ballast tanks on all ship traffic in the Lakes. In modeling eutrophication, the rate of water renewal plays a critical role; stagnant water is allowed to collect more nutrients than bodies with replenished water supplies.
At least 13 wildlife species are documented as becoming extinct since the arrival of Europeans, and many more are threatened or endangered. Fish of the Great Lakesand Asian carp in North America Lake sturgeonthe largest native fish in the Great Lakes and the subject of extensive commercial fishing in the 19th and 20th centuries is listed as a threatened species  The organisms living on the bottom of shallow waters are similar to those found in smaller lakes.
The deep waters, however, contain organisms found only in deep, cold lakes of the northern latitudes. These include the delicate opossum shrimp order mysidathe deepwater scud a crustacean of the order amphipodatwo types of copepodsand the deepwater sculpin a spiny, large-headed fish.
Early European settlers were astounded by both the variety and quantity of fish; there were different species in the Great Lakes. According to the bi-national U.
An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book: In the early 19th century, the government of Upper Canada found it necessary to introduce similar legislation prohibiting the use of weirs and nets at the mouths of Lake Ontario's tributaries.
Other protective legislation was passed, as well, but enforcement remained difficult. Concerns by the midth century included obstructions in the rivers which prevented salmon and lake sturgeon from reaching their spawning grounds.
The states have removed dams from rivers where necessary. Moreover, between andreported whitefish harvests declined from some By the mids, the lake trout populations of Lakes Michigan and Huron were reduced, with the lamprey deemed largely to blame.
This led to the launch of the bi-national Great Lakes Fishery Commission. An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book noted: Introductions into the Great Lakes include the zebra musselwhich was first discovered inand quagga mussel in There is also some shipping of liquid and containerized cargo but most container ships are too wide to pass through the locks on the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
The total amount of shipping on the lakes has been on a downward trend for several years. Recreational boating and tourism are major industries on the Great Lakes. A few small cruise ships operate on the Lakes including several sailing ships.
The Great Lakes are used to supply drinking water to tens of millions of people in bordering areas.
This valuable resource is collectively administered by the state and provincial governments bordering the lakes. As oftwo car ferry services cross the Great Lakes, both on Lake Michigan: An international ferry crossing Lake Ontario from Rochester, New York to Toronto ran during andbut is no longer in operation.
Shipwrecks Travel on the Lakes has been risky. Because of the immense size of the Lakes, there are vast stretches of open water without sight of land. The Lakes are sometimes referred to as inland seas. Many thousands of ships have sunk in these waters.
Storms and unseen reefs are a frequent threat. An estimated 6, to 10, vessels have sunk or been stranded since the early s, many with partial or total loss of crew.
The Lakes are prone to sudden and severe storms, particularly in the autumn, from late October until early December. The Great Lakes Storm of is the worst storm on these waters on record: At least sailors lost their lives over that weekend.
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank November 10,was the last major freighter lost on the lakes, sinking almost 20 miles off Whitefish Point in Lake Superior with all 29 crew members lost. The greatest concentration of these wrecks lies near Thunder Bay Michiganin Lake Huronnear the point where eastbound and westbound shipping lanes converge.
Today there is a U. Here divers can explore more than shipwrecks that form one of the most concentrated and best preserved maritime archaeology sites in the world. For many years in the late s and early s, wars were fought over the control of the Lakes and many warships were built for the inland seas, ranging from small and swift sloops-of-war to three-deckers capable of standing in any line of battle.
Political issues Great Lakes water use and diversions The International Joint Commission was established in to help prevent and resolve disputes relating to the use and quality of boundary waters, and to advise Canada and the United States on questions related to water resources.
Concerns over diversion of Great Lakes' water are of concern to both Americans and Canadians. Some water is diverted through the Chicago River to operate the Illinois Waterway but the flow is limited by treaty.
Possible schemes for bottled water plants and diversion to dry regions of the continent raise concerns. International treaties regulate large diversions.
Public outcry forced the company to abandon the plan before it began.The Journal of Great Lakes Research is multidisciplinary in its coverage, publishing manuscripts on a wide range of theoretical and applied topics in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, and geology of the large lakes of the world and their watersheds.
Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact that would prevent most future diversion proposals and all long-distance ones. The agreements also strengthen protection against abusive water withdrawal practices within the Great Lakes basin.
On December 13,the Governors and Premiers signed these two agreements: It is somewhat more detailed and protective, but cannot be enforced in court because enforcement arrangements can be made only between the federal governments.
The second is exclusively among the U. Congress, could be enforced in U. The USCG reserved the right to hold target practice whenever the weather allowed, with a two-hour notice.
These firing ranges would be open to the public when not in use. In response to requests from the public, the Coast Guard held a series of public meetings in nine U.
During these meetings many people voiced concerns about the plan and its impact on the environment. If typical rather than worst case assumptions were used the predicted risk would be even less.
After 15 years, one could infer that lead levels could meet or exceed EPA safe levels for lead. On December 18, the Coast Guard announced its decision to withdraw the "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" to establish 34 safety zones for live-fire training on the Great Lakes.
Officials said they will look into alternative ammunition, modifying the proposed zones, and have more public dialogue before proposing a new plan.
A bipartisan group of US legislators introduced the bill, including U. Stop the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species by enacting a comprehensive national program. Prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes by authorizing the Corps of Engineers to maintain and operate the dispersal barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and prohibit the importation and sale of Asian carp.
Phase out mercury in products by establishing a new grant program and improving existing research programs. Not coincidentally, this status allows neighboring states to apply for additional federal research and education funds allocated to these national resources. The claim was viewed with some amusement by other countries, particularly in the Canadian media; the lake is small compared to other Canadian lakes such as Great Bear Lake with over 27 times more surface area.
Following a small uproar and several New York Times articlesthe Great Lake status was rescinded on soon afterwards, although Vermont universities continue to receive funds to monitor and study the lake.
Similarly, there has been interest in making Lake St. Clair a Great Lake. In October,backers planned to present such a proposal at the Great Lakes Commission annual meeting, but ultimately withheld it as it appeared to have little support.
Concerns Invasive species The Great Lakes have suffered from the introduction of many non-native species. Since the s, more than invasive or non-native species have invaded the Great Lakes ecosystem from around the world, causing severe economic and ecological impacts.BAT Sensor Research on Lake Superior
They deprive fish of food, cause blooms of toxic algae, and foul boats, spawning areas and drinking water intakes.
On average one new invasive enters the Great Lakes every eight months. This non-indigenous mollusk is an efficient filter feeder that competes with native mussels and impacts fish populations by reducing food and available spawning habitat.
The utility and manufacturing industries around the region, depending on Great Lakes water for production, expend substantial time and money cleaning intake and discharge pipes clogged by the zebra mussel.
The remaining 90 percent have potentially harmful impacts but are insufficiently researched and understood.Lake Urmia 1972-2014
Besides the zebra mussel, several other species have been particularly harmful. The invasion of the sea lamprey, a parasite that attaches to large fish with a sucker mouth armed with teeth consumes flesh and fluid from its prey, resulting in substantial economic losses to recreational and commercial fisheries.
Control of sea lamprey predation requires annual expenditures of millions of dollars. These impacts have subsided with the introduction of salmonids that were stocked as predators to keep alewife populations under control.
The ruffe, a small percid fish, became the most abundant fish species in Lake Superior's St. Louis River within five years of its detection in Its range, which has expanded to Lake Huron, poses a significant threat to the lower lake fishery.
Five years after first being observed in the Saint Clair River, the round goby can now be found in all of the Great Lakes. The goby is considered undesirable for several reasons: It preys upon bottom-feeding fishes, overruns optimal habitat, spawns multiple times a season, and can survive poor water quality conditions.They protect against frost during transitional weather, and keep the summertime temperatures cooler than further inland. Nonpoint sources are difficult to regulate and usually vary spatially and temporally with season , precipitation , and other irregular events. The Center also serves as a focal point of organizing maritime archaeology workshops, documenting Lake Erie shipwrecks, and disseminating shipwreck information to the general public and specific user groups.
An electric fence has been set up across the mouth of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in order to keep several invasive species of Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.
The carp have voracious appetites and feed upon native fish species.
They can grow to 90 pounds kg and nearly four feet 12 m long. At least 30 percent of all invasive species were introduced into the Great Lakes in ballast water of cargo and other ships. Coast Guard has instituted rules requiring the exchange of ballast water or sealing of ballast tanks on all ship traffic in the Lakes.
Legislation requiring the management of ballast water was enacted inreplacing the voluntary management legislation passed earlier in Early European settlers were astounded by both the variety and quantity of fish. Historically, fish populations were the early indicator of the condition of the Lakes, and have remained one of the key indicators even in our technological era of sophisticated analyses and measuring instruments.
According to the bi-national U.