Volume 87, Issue 32 p. 313-319
Free Access

Lake Erie hypoxia prompts Canada-U.S. study

Nathan Hawley

Nathan Hawley

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Thomas H. Johengen

Thomas H. Johengen

Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Yerubandi R. Rao

Yerubandi R. Rao

National Water Research Institute, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

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Steven A. Ruberg

Steven A. Ruberg

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Dmitry Beletsky

Dmitry Beletsky

Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Stuart A. Ludsin

Stuart A. Ludsin

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Brian J. Eadie

Brian J. Eadie

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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David J. Schwab

David J. Schwab

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Thomas E. Croley

Thomas E. Croley

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Stephen B. Brandt

Stephen B. Brandt

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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First published: 03 June 2011
Citations: 73

Abstract

Because of its size and geometry, the central basin of Lake Erie, one of North America's Great Lakes, is subject to periods in the late summer when dissolved oxygen concentrations are low (hypoxia). An apparent increase in the occurrence of these eutrophic conditions and ‘dead zones’ in recent years has led to increased public concern. The International Field Years for Lake Erie (IFYLE) project of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL, a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) laboratory), was established in 2005 in response to this increase.

This project is investigating the causes and consequences of hypoxia in the lake. As part of the effort, scientists from the United States and Canada conducted an extensive field study in 2005 to gather more information on the duration and extent of the hypoxic zone and its effects on the biota in the lake. This article gives a brief history and description of the problem and presents initial results from the field study.