CMU launches new research into Great Lakes ecosystem
By Craig McMorris, TV5 Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
Photo courtesy CMU
MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -
Central Michigan University researchers launched a new study into the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.
The research is being conducted on Beaver Island using mesocosm tanks to replicate the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.
Aquatic mesocosms are experimental containers designed to provide small bodies of water with close to natural conditions, in which environmental factors can be realistically manipulated.
In 12 mesocosm tanks, Don Uzarski, director of CMU's Institute for Great Lakes Research, and a team of faculty and student researchers created miniature versions of Lake Michigan, allowing the unique opportunity to study the ecosystems in a controlled environment.
"We have the ability to control all parameters in these tanks," said Uzarski. "We can simulate climate change, temperatures, nutrient concentrations, pollution load, flow of water and look at invasive species.
The biological station's prime location, at Whiskey Point on Beaver Island, provides the rare ability for researches to work right on the lake and practice both field and laboratory research. Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan.
"We have capabilities like no other researchers of the Great Lakes due to our location," said Uzarski. "The mesocosms allow us to change the temperature of the water to simulate climate change. We can lower the temperatures down to near winter temperatures and raise them as high as we want as well."
"Coupling the research we're doing in the mesocosm tanks with the real-world experiments we're doing in the water, it makes for the most powerful science," said Uzarski.
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