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GLIN==> New Great Lakes Research Projects

Title: New Great Lakes Research Projects
December 2, 2002
Contact: Jennifer Read, Assistant Director, Michigan Sea Grant College Program, email: jenread@umich.edu, phone: 734-936-3622


Michigan Sea Grant Recommends New Great Lakes Research Projects

Ann Arbor - Michigan Sea Grant recently selected five Great Lakes research projects to receive a total of $539,786 in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Sea Grant Program.  The projects leverage an additional $285,485 in non-federal match over a two-year period beginning March 2003. The projects will investigate changing Great Lakes food web dynamics, state-of-the art zebra mussel control strategies and contaminants contained in coastal wetlands.

The new research projects coincide with three of the five priority issues identified in Michigan Sea Grant's five-year strategic plan-Great Lakes trophic change, aquatic nuisance species, and coastal wetlands.
Following is a list and brief description of research projects and principal investigators. For more information on Michigan Sea Grant funded research, visit the program web site at www.miseagrant.org. Awards will be official March 1, 2003 when the National Sea Grant College Program approves the 2003 budget.
Strong Attachments
Among their many traits, zebra mussels have a remarkable ability to attach quickly and tightly to underwater surfaces. Fine hairs, called byssal threads, and a complex mixture of adhesive proteins help the exotic nuisance species accumulate and spread. Once established on underwater structures including water intake pipes in Great Lakes and inland waters, zebra mussels filter nutrients, alter native habitat, and contribute to harmful algal blooms and loss of native species. This project will use DNA technology to identify the adhesion proteins and processes of zebra mussels, which may lead to innovative control strategies.
Identification of Adhesion Molecules in the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)
Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University, faisal@ahdl.msu.edu; (517) 432-4680.

Brave New World
What does the future hold for walleye and yellow perch in Saginaw Bay? These two key sportfish have experienced dramatic changes in the past decade resulting from nutrient reduction, exotic species impacts and changes in fishery management. This project will quantify the impacts of exotic species and altered food-web dynamics on fish community structure and distribution, focusing on changes in walleye and yellow perch populations.
Impacts of Exotic Species and Trophic Change on Fish Community Structure, Population Dynamics and Food Web Linkages in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron
Sara Adlerstein, University of Michigan, sadlerstein@usgs.gov; (734) 764-4491.
Edward Rutherford, University of Michigan, edwardr@umich.edu; (734) 764-4491.

Food for Thought
Chances are you won't find slimy sculpin in the fresh fish section of your local grocery store. While they may not be a delicacy, slimy and deepwater sculpin are relatively abundant in Lake Michigan and play an important role in the aquatic food-web. Known as forage fish, sculpin provide food for larger, predatory fish. In turn, sculpin feed on a bottom-dwelling organism called Diporeia, which has experienced sharp declines in recent years. To shed light on how the Diporeia decline may impact the Lake Michigan food-web, researchers will examine the distribution, diet and growth of slimy and deepwater sculpin.
The Impact of the Diporeia Decline on the Competitive Interactions and Distributions of Slimy and Deepwater Sculpins in Lake Michigan
David Jude, University of Michigan, djude@umich.edu; (734) 763-3183.

A Genetic Trail
Alewife, smelt, sculpin and bloater have something in common: together with several other species, these fish comprise what's known as the forage base in the upper Great Lakes. As such, they provide meals for important predatory fish such as lake trout and salmon. This study will use genetic testing to identify the movement and distribution of forage fish to better understand the relationship to top predator populations. Researchers will also identify the relative importance of ecological and physical environmental factors underlying fish community structure.
Spatial Genetic Structuring of Forage Fish in the Upper Great Lakes: Evidence for a Subdivided Forage Base and Implications for Structuring in Predatory Fish Species
Kim Scribner, Michigan State University, scribne3@msu.edu; (517) 353-3288.
Wendy Stott, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, wstott@usgs.gov; (734) 214-7242.

Heavy Metals and Coastal Wetlands
When pollution is discharged into the Great Lakes, heavy metals such as copper, zinc and lead can be incorporated into iron or manganese mineral phases or adhere to organic particles and remain in sediment indefinitely. Working in Saginaw Bay coastal wetlands, project scientists will use chemical measurements and sediment core processing to better understand where metals are concentrated, how quantities vary by season and depth, and to what extent these contaminants may be remobilized due to storms or dredging. Results will help scientists and managers better understand the risk posed by contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes.
An Evaluation of Seasonal and Temporal Variability in Potential Trace Metal Remobilization in Coastal Wetlands Sediments Using Voltammetric Microelectrode Technology and Solid-Phase Extraction Techniques
Brent Lewis, Kettering University, blewis@kettering.edu; (810) 762-7918.

Michigan Sea Grant, a cooperative program of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, is part of a national network of 30 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. Funding is provided through the National Sea Grant College Program by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

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.