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GLIN==> GL Food Web Partnership

Title: GL Food Web Partnership
News Release - October 17, 2001 - Michigan Sea Grant
Contact: Jennifer Read, Michigan Sea Grant, (734) 936-3622, email: jenread@umich.edu
or Marc Gaden Great Lakes Fishery Commission, (734) 662-3209, email: mgaden@glfc.org

A group of Great Lakes organizations have joined forces to measure the impact of aquatic nuisance species on the Great Lakes food web and on sport and commercial fisheries.

The Great Lakes Fishery Trust, the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission have formed a partnership on food web disruption in order to address this critical issue more effectively. Some aquatic nuisance species affect native sport and commercial fish populations when they prey upon the same organisms for food, disrupt spawning sites, and prey upon spawn and newly hatched fry. This contributes to fish population declines.

The partnership will enable the groups to prioritize funding and coordinate research. The coordinated approach will enhance the effectiveness of individual research projects. For example, information learned about the food web structure in one lake can be used to predict future impacts in the other lakes. The partners also anticipate that this approach will increase research opportunities.

"This partnership is a critical step in our efforts to understand how non native species are currently disrupting food webs and what these food webs are likely to look like in the future," said Bernie Hansen, chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

The partnership will focus on the effects of four nonnative invertebrates: these include zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), quagga mussels (D. bugensis), spiny water flea (Bythotrephes cederstroemi), and the fishhook water flea (Cercopagis pengoi). These four species have invaded the Great Lakes over the past 15 years and are expected to have increasingly severe impacts.
The Great Lakes Fishery Trust was created to compensate the citizens of the State of Michigan for the lost use and enjoyment of fisheries resources of Lake Michigan resulting from the operation of the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant. Great Lakes Fishery Trustees represent the State of Michigan, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, National Wildlife Federation, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission, created under the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries of 1955, was formed by the governments of Canada and the U.S. to control the sea lamprey, coordinate fishery management and conduct research.

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network is comprised of university-based programs in Illinois-Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Great Lakes Sea Grant Network programs conduct Great Lakes research, education and outreach and are funded by the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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