The Great Lakes hold about 20 % of the world supply of freshwater and about 95 % of the supply of the United States, and are the world's largest and biologically diverse fresh water resource. Lake Erie, the smallest in volume of the Great Lakes, is the most complex lake (southernmost, shallowest, warmest, most biologically productive, highest level of nutrient/sediment/contaminant loading), and therefore provides an excellent laboratory from which to understand and model the complex interactions among the physical, biological, and social/economic systems which affect the lakes. The entire Lake Erie ecosystem is changing due to recent, human?induced impacts such as aquatic nuisance species, water diversions, and loading from nutrients, sediments, and contaminants. As a result the distribution, diversity, and abundance of aquatic species are declining alarmingly in some areas, and human activities along the coastline are being restricted. Unless a holistic system?wide approach is taken to understanding the interrelationships among biological, physical, and social/economic systems, this vital and unique ecosystem will be permanently damaged.<br/><br/>The ultimate goal of this project is the development of an integrated set of biological, physical, and social/economic models to describe/study the biocomplexity of the Great Lakes, and thereby improve management decisions in this complex system. Lake Erie will serve as the laboratory to study three aspects for improving the ability to understand the results of current modeling activities of the biocomplexity of the Great Lakes. Three areas have been identified that are possible impediments to our current capabilities: (1) the disparate spatial and temporal scales among the different models in use, (2) the need for the detailed coupling of physical, biological and social/economic models, and (3) inadequate application of new technology to our understanding of the causes of biocomplexity. Each area will be the subject of a workshop to help prepare for a longer?term study of the biocomplexity of the Great Lakes.
Biocomplexity Incubation Proposal for Lake Erie