Skip to main content

The Recurrent Coastal Plume in Lake Michigan: A Critical Event for Copepod Reproduction and Recruitment

9730416 Bundy Research will be undertaken in response to an Announcement of Opportunity (NSF 97-38)for Coastal Studies in the Great Lakes. This is a collaborative research project between investigators from ten academic and government research institutions. The research is being conducted under the auspices of the NSF Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) program and the NOAA Coastal Ocean Program. This collaborative, 5-year research program will focus on the importance of episodic events on nearshore-offshore transport and subsequent ecological consequences. The study seeks to 1) determine what processes control the cross- margin (inshore to offshore) transport of biological, chemical, and geological materials in the coastal margins of the Great Lakes, and to 2) develop and test scientific strategies for assessing, quantifying, and predicting the impacts of multiple stresses both natural and anthropogenic, in the Great Lakes or selected coastal sub-regions. A tight coupling between sediments and overlying water exists in lakes and coastal ecosystems through the process of sediment resuspension. Satellite observations in Lake Michigan illustrate an annually recurrent episode of nearshore-offshore transport, a 10 km wide plume of resuspended material extending over 200 km along the southern shores of the lake. Preliminary evidence indicates that this episodic event may be the major mechanism for cross-margin sediment transport in Lake Michigan. The program results will be applicable to similar events in many coastal areas. This component of the study addresses the general hypothesis: large episodic events, such as the Lake Michigan Recurrent Coastal Plume (LMRCP), change mesozooplanktonic community structure and production by altering species and life-stage distributions of certain organisms and their trophic interactions. Field observations, process studies, and laboratory investigations will be combined to evaluate physical and biotic effects of the plume on the mesozooplankton community. Biweekly sampling of nutrients, physical variables, and other parameters will serve to put the LMRCP in perspective with ongoing changes in the plankton and other events, and help evaluate its significance to the Lake as a whole. The response of mesozooplankton to large scale episodic events during the winter-spring period in the Great Lakes and other similar aquatic systems is important at the ecosystem level because these populations play a pivotal role in energy transfers and nutrient transformations that occur throughout the rest of the year.

In progress
Project URL
Project Database
Start Date
End Date

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is an
interactive, Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate
up-to-date information about research projects in the
Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.