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CMG Scientist Observes, Assists Biologists Studying Nearshore Habitat in Lake Erie

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Peter Barnes spent several days at the beginning of this month assisting Biological Resources Division (BRD) colleagues in Vermillion, Ohio, with freshwater fish-habitat studies. As part of a project headed by Mary Fabrizio (USGS Great Lakes Science Center), we dodged Great Lakes thunderstorms to sample nearshore habitat-monitoring sites in Lake Erie. During at least part of their first year, 129 species of fish are found in nearshore lake habitats less than 2 m deep. Mary's hypothesis is that habitat changes alter the advantage of the nearshore zone as a critical habitat for young fish.

Peter's initial effort focused on learning how biologists examine the ecology of aquatic communities in these understudied fish communities, and how biologists begin to assess the role of water-column properties and substrate geology, as well as nearshore sediment dynamics. Peter also talked with Scudder Mackey and Nate Fuller at the Ohio Geological Survey in Sandusky, Ohio, regarding plans to re-map the nearshore lake bottom in Fabrizio's project area to compare with limited survey coverage from the early 1990s. This geologist was humbled by the temporal and spatial ecosystem complexities with which biologists must deal.

Related Web Sites
Great Lakes Mapping Project
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Great Lakes Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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Crater Lake Mapping

Lake Erie Nearshore Habitat

Channel Islands

Pinnacles Area—Gulf of Mexico

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Outreach Seafloor Mapping Seminar

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