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From Coast to Offshore: Some Progress on Developing Multi-Resource Designs for Great Lakes Monitoring

Kelly, J.R, P. Yurista, J. Morrice, G. Peterson, J. Scharold, M. Sierszen, C. West

All at: U. S. EPA, National Environmental Effects Research Laboratory,
Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Duluth MN

In the next generation of monitoring the condition of very large aquatic systems, we need to explore designs that integrate across multiple aquatic resource types, including coastal subsystems, nearshore, and offshore components, which together make up the total hydroscape. This recognition raises a number of issues, including: definition and discrimination among resource types (especially challenging in open or semi-open waters), relevant indicators of condition for each defined resource, and the potential for integration across resources to assess overall condition. Our recent efforts have used a variety of continuous in situ sensing technologies for synoptic mapping, as well as food web analysis (stable isotopes) to explore two themes. One is, can we establish an ecological basis for defining the bounds of nearshore resources (open waters and semi-enclosed embayments)? A second theme couples with the Great Lakes Environmental Indicators (GLEI) project, to explore the strength of linkage to landscape conditions among coastal resource types, judged on the basis of lower trophic web condition indicators. Specific examples from recent Great Lakes-wide coastal field studies (2001-2003) explore these two themes to identify promise and challenge of developing a multi-resource monitoring approach. This abstract does not necessarily reflect EPA policy.

Keywords: Great Lakes condition monitoring, coastal resources, integrated design

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