Great Lakes Research Receives Funding Infusion

Dr Fisk on Baffin Island, summer 2007.

Dr Fisk on Baffin Island, summer 2007.

(WINDSOR, ON) – Aaron Fisk, of the University of Windsor, is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Changing Great Lakes Ecosystems. He has received $15.9 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, and the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, for a project that aims to understand and support management of the Great Lakes, the university announced this morning.

The Real-time Aquatic Ecosystem Observation Network will provide infrastructure and data management for Canadian scientists to carry-out cutting-edge research on freshwater ecosystems.

“RAEON will support comprehensive and multidisciplinary research to understand and manage the Great Lakes, and will be a reference for researchers worldwide who are investigating freshwater ecosystems,” Fisk said.

The most significant challenge for researchers in the next 20 years will be understanding the impacts of the rapid changes in ecosystem processes and function associated with climate change and maintaining ecosystem services, according to Fisk.

“The Great Lakes are one of the most important natural resources on the planet,” said Alan Wildeman, the President and Vice-Chancellor of UWindsor. “Dr Fisk and his colleagues will be able to collect data never before attainable, that will inform future decision making on preserving the viability of the lakes. I thank CFI and the Ontario Ministries for their support of this extraordinary project.”

The funding will allow Fisk and his team of researchers from Carleton, Trent, and Western universities, and collaborators from the United States, to create a network of real-time sensors, autonomous sub-surface vehicles and an extensive collection of independent instruments.

Among the many areas to be studied, Fisk said the new infrastructure and data management will assist in forecasting and responding to current threats like nutrient pollution and early detection of future threats, such as Asian carp.

“This network will give leaders in government, industry and even individual Canadian households the comprehensive science-based data they need to make effective, responsive policy and management decisions,” Fisk said.

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