Lake Ontario Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative
EPA's research vessel, the Lake Guardian, in port in Rochester,
NY. The Lake Guardian participates in CSMI assessments of
the Great Lakes. People from EPA, DEC, Cornell University,
Clarkson University, the University of Michigan, and other
organizations made up the 2013 Lake Ontario research crew.
Each year, U.S. and Canadian organizations assess one of the Great Lakes as part of the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI). Information collected during CSMI assessments supports Great Lakes management programs.
CSMI assessments took place in Lake Ontario in 2003, 2008 and 2013. The 2013 assessment focused on improving the understanding of nutrient loading, transport and cycling in Lake Ontario. The five primary research areas were:
- amount of phosphorus and nitrogen entering the lake and how these nutrients move through the food web
- biological connections between nearshore and offshore areas of the lake
- phytoplankton and zooplankton population dynamics and use of nutrients in the lower food web
- fish population changes, diets and distribution in different areas of the lake
- transfer of nutrients and energy through the food web of the lake
The information collected in 2013 will inform management and research priorities such as nutrient loading and management; the role of invasive species; identifying energy pathways between offshore and nearshore habitats; and the ability of the lake to sustain its fisheries.
Lake Ontario CSMI Results
- Lake Ontario 2013 CSMI Progress Report 2 (PDF, 1.8 MB): This report summarizes initial products from Lake Ontario's 2013 CSMI assessment and describes future plans for reporting results.
- Lake Ontario 2013 CSMI Progress Report (PDF, 526 KB): This report is a preliminary summary of the information collected during Lake Ontario's 2013 CSMI assessment.
Collaboration is Key to the Success of CSMI
CSMI assessments require collaboration by many organizations. In total, 17 organizations contributed to Lake Ontario's 2013 CSMI assessment: DEC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Cornell University, University of Windsor, SUNY Buffalo State, University of Michigan, University at Buffalo -- SUNY, SUNY Brockport, Syracuse University, Bowling Green State University, Clarkson University, and University of Notre Dame.
Photographs from the 2013 CSMI Assessment
Photos from Lake Ontario's 2013 CSMI assessment (Note: Link leaves DEC's website) are available on DEC's Flickr account.