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May 21, 2013

Great Lakes research focus of international conference at Purdue

Chicago's Belmont Harbor

In Chicago's Belmont Harbor, sailboats are moored in Lake Michigan under the city's skyline. (Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Hundreds of scientists, environmentalists, economists and government representatives from around the world will gather at Purdue University to review the most current research on the Great Lakes ecosystem and other large lakes.

The 56th annual Conference on Great Lakes Research will be held June 2-6 on the West Lafayette campus, with 600-700 people expected to attend. It will be held at Purdue for the first time.

"The conference brings Great Lakes scientists together to share findings and facilitate future research and management of large lakes," said Tomas Höök, assistant professor in Purdue's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, associate director of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and co-chair of the conference. "Most of the scientific experts on the Great Lakes will be there."

There will be presentations and discussions during daily, concurrent sessions on wide-ranging issues involving the Great Lakes and their watersheds. They include invasive species such as zebra mussels and Asian carp, impacts of contaminants and nutrients from land use in the Great Lakes basin, the effects of climate change, the quality of Great Lakes beaches, difficulties in re-establishing native fishes, and efforts among U.S. states and Canadian provinces to meet water conservation requirements in the Great Lakes Compact.

Anglers in Belmont Harbor

Anglers in Chicago's Belmont Harbor take advantage of Lake Michigan fishing opportunities. (Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant photo) 
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The conference, with the theme "Great Lakes Restoration and Resiliency," is organized by the International Association of Great Lakes Research, a scientific organization of researchers with a common interest in the management of the ecosystems of not only the Great Lakes but also other large lakes around the world.

Although the site of the annual conference alternates each year between the U.S. and Canada, the meeting generally attracts people not only from those two countries but also from areas such as Europe, Africa and Russia.

"This will be one of the largest conferences ever on Great Lakes research, showing the great interest there is in solving environmental problems to realize the potential of the tremendous resources of large lakes," said Jim Bence, IAGLR president. 

Conference highlights include:

* Welcoming address by Purdue President and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

* Keynote speakers each day. They are Kenneth Rose, professor at Louisiana State University; Yvonne Vadeboncoeur, associate professor at Wright State University; Keith Bowers, landscape architect and restoration ecologist, and president and founder of Biohabitats Inc.; and Dave Schwab, research scientist at the University of Michigan Water Center.

* Reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, one of 32 university-based Sea Grant programs that support coastal use and conservation. Sea Grant is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More information about the conference, including the daily program and how to register, are available at http://iaglr.org/iaglr2013/.

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Sources: Tomas Höök, 765-496-6799, thook@purdue.edu 

Jim Bence, 517-281-3480, bence@msu.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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