Project

The timing and size of Great Lakes fish migrations determines their role in nutrient cycling. This project studies how climate is altering the timing of migrations across the Great Lakes, and also the role of these large migrations in fertilizing streams

Project

Current and future hydrologic variability is a major driver underlying large-scale management and modification of inland waters and river systems. In a climate-altered future, identifying and implementing management actions that mitigate anticipated flow regime extremes will be an important component of climate adaptation strategies. These concerns will be particularly focused on extreme flows (floods and droughts) that have ecological, social, and economic importance, and whose impacts are inversely proportion to their frequency. Climate warming is expected to increase the frequency of extreme precipitation. It is critical for natural resources conservation that responses to these risks incorporate ‘green’ infrastructure which potentially benefit both ecosystems and human infrastructure

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Slow the Flow _schematic2.jpg
Project

The timing of major life cycle events (reproduction, flowering, feeding) is set by seasonal environmental cues in many organisms.  Migratory fish in the Great Lakes are largely spring spawners, and they move into tributary rivers as the water warms in March-June.  There is growing evidence that the timing of these migrations is shifting under climate change, creating ever-earlier migrations.  These changes in timing may profoundly change which species are present in rivers at a given time, potentially unraveling critical ecological linkages during the dynamic spring warming period.  We are analyzing historical data on migration timing of six species across the Great Lakes basin, using Bayesian statistical modeling to maximize power to detect shifts from a patchwork of migration records in space and time

Project

Climate change is shifting the hydrodynamics and temperature of both the Great Lakes and their tributary rivers.  Both hydrology and temperature may play potent roles in mediating the magnitude of watershed nutrient load and their fate upon reaching the lake.  Tributary hydrology reflects the source of water (groundwater vs. surface runoff) and seasonal timing of discharge, while tributary temperature determines the density difference between river and lake water.  Similarly, mixing patterns in these massive lakes strongly influence whether tributary loads remain near the shore or become diluted in the open water, while the thermal profile determines whether inflowing river water is trapped at the surface, sinks to the bottom, or stays at an intermediate depth.  These physical interactions are critical for understanding the ecological impact of tributary loads, and how it is mediated by climate change

Project

Stream data for the northeastern U.S. are needed to enable managers to understand baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections of the impacts of climate change on stream temperature and flow, and in turn on aquatic species in freshwater ecosystems. This project developed a coordinated, multi-agency regional stream temperature framework and database for New England (ME, VT, NH, CT, RI, MA) and the Great Lakes States (MN, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, PA, NY) by building a community around the efforts of this study. These efforts included 1) compiling metadata about existing or historic stream temperature monitoring locations and networks, 2) developing a web-based decision-support mapping system to display, integrate, and share the collected information, and 3) developing data system capabilities that integrate stream temperature data from several data sources

Project

The number of fish collected in routine monitoring surveys often varies from year to year, from lake to lake, and from location to location within a lake.  Although some variability in fish catches is expected across factors such as location and season, we know less about how large-scale disturbances like climate change will influence population variability.  The Laurentian Great Lakes in North America are the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, and they have experienced major changes due to fluctuations in pollution and nutrient loadings, exploitation of natural resources, introductions of non-native species, and shifting climatic patterns.  In this project, we analyzed established long-term data about important fish populations from across the Great Lakes basin, including from Oneida Lake in NY, Lake Michigan, and the Bay of Quinte in Lake Ontario

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Yellow perch. Photo: Solomon David
Project

Climate change is expected to alter stream temperature and flow regimes over the coming decades, and in turn influence distributions of aquatic species in those freshwater ecosystems. To better anticipate these changes, there is a need to compile both short- and long-term stream temperature data for managers to gain an understanding of baseline conditions, historic trends, and future projections. Unfortunately, many agencies lack sufficient resources to compile, QA/QC, and make accessible stream temperature data collected through routine monitoring.  Yet, pooled data from many sources, even if temporally and spatially inconsistent, can have great value both in the realm of stream temperature and aquatic response. The NorEaST web portal was developed to serve as a coordinated, multi-agency regional framework to map and store continuous stream temperature locations and data for New England, Mid Atlantic, and Great Lakes States

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NECSC one-pager NorEAsT 170428_Page_1.jpg
Project

Maple syrup is produced from the sap of sugar maple trees collected in the late winter and early spring. Native American tribes have collected and boiled down sap for centuries, and the tapping of maple trees is a cultural touchstone for many people in the northeast and Midwest. Because the tapping season is dependent on weather conditions, there is concern about the sustainability of maple sugaring as climate changes throughout the region. In spite of this, maple syrup production is increasing rapidly, with demand rising as more people appreciate this natural sweetener.    This project addressed the impact of climate on the production of maple syrup. Informed by the needs of state and federal resource managers, tribal groups, and other maple syrup producers, the research team examined sugar maple’s sap yields coupled with the sugar and biochemical composition of sap throughout the geographic range of sugar maple

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Sugar Maple - Credit: Alan Cressler
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