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GLIN==> UM Re-invigorates Great Lakes Research



Title: UM Re-invigorates Great Lakes Research
November 22, 2002
Contact: Jennifer Read, Assistant Director, Michigan Sea Grant College
Program, email: jenread@umich.edu, phone: 734-936-3622

NEWS RELEASE
University of Michigan Re-invigorates Great Lakes Research and Initiates Director Search

Ann Arbor-University of Michigan (UM) President Mary Sue Coleman addressed a capacity crowd at a November 2002 symposium in Ann Arbor, stressing UM's commitment to reclaim its once pre-eminent position in Great Lakes research.

Coleman highlighted the ecological and economic importance of the Great Lakes, which contain about one-fifth of the world's surface supply of fresh water and virtually surround the state of Michigan. To place the size of the Great Lakes in context, the waters of Puget Sound can fit into Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay, while the Chesapeake Bay can fit comfortably into the bottom third of Lake Michigan.

"In a state that touches four of the five bodies of water and defines itself-geographically, historically and psychologically-by its coastlines, it's hard to imagine a more pressing ecological research imperative," said Coleman. "Elevating the energy and intellectual resources devoted to the Great Lakes at the University of Michigan is one of the most effective ways we can be of service to the State of Michigan."

The two-day symposium featured presentations by UM faculty highlighting 10 priority issues. Among the most pressing topics covered were the damaging impacts of aquatic nuisance species and diversion and consumption of Great Lakes water. UM researchers noted that the rate of aquatic nuisance species introductions into the Great Lakes is increasing, leading to growing economic costs and a loss of aquatic biodiversity. Diversion and consumption of Great Lakes water will also increase with population growth and, according to UM researchers, may be magnified by the effects of global warming.

In closing comments, Rosina Bierbaum, Dean of UM's School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), praised the symposium as "provocative and invigorating." She announced that UM Office of Vice President for Research (OVPR) has committed $200,000 annually for four years to fund interdisciplinary Great Lakes research projects as part of its new Great Lakes Initiative.

The UM Great Lakes Initiative also calls for a national director search for the Michigan Sea Grant College Program, one of 30 Sea Grant programs in the nation. Michigan Sea Grant was instrumental in organizing the symposium in partnership with SNRE and in conjunction with the second annual Peter M. Wege Lecture.  As part of the Great Lakes Initiative, Michigan Sea Grant will formally be transferred from the UM College of Engineering to the UM School of Natural Resources and Environment. This transfer will bring the academic and administrative arms of Great lakes to a common program and should invigorate Sea Grant's efforts in interdisciplinary studies and Great Lakes ecology.

In light of the symposium's success, organizers plan to publish papers presented in a peer-reviewed journal, coordinate a Great Lakes seminar series, and establish the Great Lakes symposium as an annual event.

Michigan Sea Grant, a partnership between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 30 university-based programs across the U.S., funded by NOAA, see www.miseagrant.umich.edu.

The University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment supports the protection of the earth's resources and the achievement of a sustainable society through research and education, see www.snre.umich.edu.

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Elizabeth LaPorte, Communications Director
Michigan Sea Grant College Program
(734) 647-0767 | www.miseagrant.org | Fax: 734-647-0768
I.S.T. Bldg., 2200 Bonisteel Blvd., Univ. of Mich., Ann Arbor, MI
48109-2099  Michigan Sea Grant is dedicated to the protection and
sustainable use of the Great Lakes.
--
Elizabeth LaPorte, Communications Director
Michigan Sea Grant College Program
(734) 647-0767 | www.miseagrant.org | Fax: 734-647-0768
I.S.T. Bldg., 2200 Bonisteel Blvd., Univ. of Mich., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2099
Michigan Sea Grant is dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of the Great Lakes.