Research Vessel Lake Guardian
EPA researches and monitors the Great Lakes in its ship, the Research Vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian.
The Lake Guardian goes out twice a year on surveys (spring and summer). Scientists conduct research on the Lake Guardian. Monitoring programs sample the water, aquatic life, sediments and air to assess the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
The Lake Guardian is a vessel of opportunity for emergency response exercises with the US Coast Guard and others.
Facts about the R/V Lake Guardian
- EPA's largest research and monitoring vessel on the Great Lakes
- The only self-contained, non-polluting research vessel on the Great Lakes
- In operation since 1990
- Out collecting data from April to October each year
- Participates in emergency response exercises with the US Coast Guard
- operated by a contractor crew
- uses state-of-the-art data collection techniques and instruments
More information about the Lake Guardian
- General Specifications
- Main Deck
- Labs Onboard
- Sampling and Monitoring Equipment
- Scientific Work Spaces and Equipment Specifications
Conduct research on board the Lake Guardian
During monitoring surveys EPA offers the Lake Guardian as a ship of opportunity to scientists from federal and state government and and universities. We especially encourage research compatible with the standard sampling performed at each station (i.e., simple water and/or plankton samples which can be subsequently processed and analyzed).
Apply to do research on the Lake Guardian:
- Contact Eda Lam (email@example.com, 312-353-1739)
- Once you have permission to use the ship, you must complete a survey plan form
- You must also view the video Safety Aboard R/V Lake Guardian.
Great Lakes monitoring surveys
- Spring survey
- Summer survey
We use the data we collect to assess the general health of the Great Lakes system. We note improvements and stay abreast of new problems.
A survey generally involves sampling a standard set of parameters at 8-20 pre-established stations. We assess physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the water column at each station.
- conduct a conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) cast
- collect water samples from several depths
- tow a plankton net
- sometimes collect sediment for benthic community analyses
We often measure additional parameters in response to unique environmental conditions, such as the area of low dissolved oxygen that is seasonally present in Lake Erie.