Teams of researchers will venture out onto all five Great Lakes this month to collect water samples are other data from below the ice.
Crews from over a dozen U.S. and Canadian universities will visit the frozen sections of Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior lakes during the week of February 14, according to The Citizen.
“We’ve been ignoring winter on the Great Lakes for so long,” said Ted Ozersky, a lake biologist with the University of Minnesota Duluth, who announced the “Winter Grab” expedition on Thursday, February 3. “There are lots of ways in which ice and winter conditions can affect the ecosystem. We don’t fully understand all of them. We have a general idea of how it should work but in many cases we haven’t done the footwork to see.”
Climate change’s affect on the Great Lakes is one of the focuses of this research. Ice coverage on the Great Lakes has steadily declined since the 1970s, and there’s growing concern it could become scarce by the end of this century. The impact of this receding ice coverage on lake ecology is currently unknown, but the expeditions planned for this month could help researchers learn more.
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