4D.2 Environmental stressors on Saginaw Bay

Friday, 13 November 2009: 10:50 AM
Kamau Bakari Mbalia, OAR, Ann Arbor, MI

In 2007, the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, located in Ann Arbor, MI, in conjunction with several partner agencies and institutions is just beginning a 5 year project to study the effects of multiple stressors on Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron. Like many coastal areas around the world, Saginaw Bay has been subjected to numerous stressors originating from human activities. These stressors have included toxic contaminants, nutrients, sediments, overfishing, exotic species, and more recently - declining water levels. The combined effect of these stressors has compromised the health of Saginaw Bay and resulted in the loss of many ecosystem features and services that people value. The goal of this project is to help identify management actions that will improve the health of the Bay and restore the ecosystem services that are important to the population of that area. To accomplish this goal we will conduct research in the field and the laboratory to study how these stressors interact to influence Saginaw Bay's fisheries and water quality. The information from these studies will be used to guide the development of several mathematical models that will help identify useful management options. Mathematical models will help researchers to organize what is known about the behavior of stressors in Saginaw Bay and to identify the important processes about which very little is known. Additionally, the models will allow scientists to conduct simulated experiments, such as reducing phosphorus input to the Bay, to evaluate the logical outcome alternative management actions.
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