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GLIN==> GLIER researchers attend workshop in China



Submitted by Christopher Weisener <weisener@uwindsor.ca>
Univ. of Windsor, Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER)

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Between 8-13 September, GLIER researchers Doug Haffner and Chris Weisener
attended a binational, multi-institutional workshop at the site of the
Three Gorges Dam in the most heavily populated city in China. The workshop
took aim at grand-scale ecological interdependencies and vulnerabilities.
Coordinated by GLIER's Chinese visiting scholar, Lei Zhang, the workshop
was designed to share environmental knowledge and technology.

With expertise gained in the Great Lakes and elsewhere, GLIER researchers and
their Chinese collaborators have begun building a partnership that will
speak to protecting the Yangtze River and its tributaries in the region of
Chongqing from eutrophication and other environmental concerns.
Eutrophication, the enrichment of water bodies by nutrients, can be caused
by artificial and natural sources. The workshop focused on both sources.
Artificially, abundant agricultural runoff from Chinese farms is being
washed into nearby lakes and rivers. Naturally, the soil from the Gobi
Desert is being swept unimpeded into the same water bodies. The nutrients
from both sources can create algal blooms, which over time cause dead fish
and plants to impede navigation. The lessons learned through studying the
urgent, large scale and complex challenge of providing sufficient food and
clean water for the population of one of the world's largest cities will
be shared with other countries soon to face similar challenges.


Canada was represented at the workshop by the University of Windsor
(GLIER), the City of Windsor, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the
National Museum of Nature, the University of Waterloo and the Canadian
Consulate in Chongqing, China. The Chinese contingent included top
scientists from the National Academy of Sciences, several high ranking
government officials, and senior scientists from Southwest University,
Chongqing, one of China's leading institutions of higher learning.
Discussions with the Canadian Consulate found the workshop attracting the
attention of the Province of Ontario. In the near future Premier Dalton
McGinty will be visiting the same Chinese institutions represented at the
workshop for environmental and trade discussions. The emerging partnership
will strategically position the University of Windsor for developing
research collaborations and graduate student exchanges.

Lei Zhang has been named Chinese Co-Chair of the Steering Committee to
develop the partnership. Christopher Weisener will serve as Canadian
Co-Chair. Future talks between partners will continue in April 2009 in
Windsor, hosted by GLIER and the University of Windsor.

The workshop was supported by a grant from the International Science and
Technology Partnerships (ISTP) in Ottawa. The workshop organizers see the
prospective environmental project developing under the umbrella of ISTP
and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

GLIER supports advanced research and graduate education to assess the
effects of multiple stressors on large lakes and their watersheds. While
our research focuses most intensively on the Great Lakes, our research
programs extend to other large systems of the world including large lakes
in Indonesia, the Caspian and Black seas, and coastal ecosystems including
Chesapeake Bay.

Contact: Lei Zhang, Chinese Co-Chair at zhanglei@uwindsor.ca
Contact: Christopher Weisener, Canadian Co-Chair at weisener@uwindsor.ca


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