Seminar Title: "Three-dimensional modeling: A powerful tool for the improved scientific understanding and management of Lake Erie"
Presenter: Serghei Bocaniov of the Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan
Seminar Abstract: Lake Erie is the most productive and economically important lake among the Laurentian Great Lakes with more than 11.5 million people (almost one-third of the total population of the Great Lakes basin) living along its coastlines. It also accounts for fishery and recreational industries of multi-billion dollars worth, as well as being a significant source for municipal and domestic water supply. Being such a valuable resource, Lake Erie needs to be protected, and therefore, is a focus of extensive scientific research to understand its responses to the effects of climate change, invasive species, cultural eutrophication and other human activities.
Various approaches can be used in order to understand the ecological responses of aquatic ecosystems to climate change, nutrient loads and invasive species as well as the consequences of possible management options. One of these approaches is to apply process-based modeling, for example, to develop mechanistic models for aquatic ecosystems. Such models, including dynamic three-dimensional (3D) models, can increase scientific understanding of the ecosystem functioning and provide valid predictions beyond the range of the calibration data. They are also useful for testing scientific hypotheses or predicting and quantifying the ecosystem responses to climate change, invasive species and management activities.
During this seminar, the results from two different case-studies will be presented to show how 3D modeling, and particularly the 3D coupled hydrodynamic and ecological model of Lake Erie, can be used to test the scientific hypotheses and support the lake management decisions. These case studies are the following: (1) the nearshore shunt hypothesis and the role of mussels in the decline of spring phytoplankton blooms; and, (2) the development of load-response curves to facilitate the revision of the existing phosphorus target loads to Lake Erie needed to achieve the desired reductions in central basin hypoxia.
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