Lake Michigan Ecosystem Modeling
Biological invasions are the leading threat to the diversity of freshwater lakes world-wide and exceedingly costly to society. There is an increasing need for techniques to analyze the risk that introduced species will establish viable populations and become a nuisance. Recognizing the importance of invasive species as a threat to other organisms and the Great Lakes ecosystem, EPA has developed a research prospectus to assess the potential risks of invasive species in the Great Lakes.
The research, to be conducted by EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD), is focused on:
- developing and implementing monitoring protocols using conventional and advanced monitoring techniques in high-risk areas of the Great Lakes;
- predicting the spread of invasive species that are likely to become established and reach nuisance levels; and
- predicting the potential impacts of these species on the Great Lakes ecosystem.
The components of this research are scientifically interactive. The results of this research will have multiple uses and will guide EPA's regional offices and the Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO). These studies may identify methods for preventing future invasions and in setting priorities for the management of established alien species so that appropriate response actions can be taken to reduce or ameliorate the impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem. Decisions regarding the allocation of scarce resources for the control of established invasive species, including rapid response to emerging threats, will also be enabled by this research.
ORD presented ideas for this research initiative to GLNPO, other EPA regional representatives, and staff from the Office of Water in a meeting held in Chicago (Region 5) on October 26, 2004, which led to the formulation of the research prospectus. Three ORD Laboratories will participate in the program and will perform various functions, those include the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA), National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), and National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL).
NHEERL responsibilities of the research prospectus include sampling design, field sampling/monitoring, laboratory analyses, and potential effects forecasting of invasive species using a mathematical modeling framework.
U.S. EPA, ORD NHEERL, MED, Grosse Ile has developed a Lake Michigan Ecosystem Model (LM-Eco) that includes a detailed description of trophic levels and their interactions with the lower food web of the lake. The LM-Eco model was constructed by building upon an eutrophication modeling framework, LM3-Eutro. The LM-Eco model constitutes a first step toward a comprehensive Lake Michigan ecosystem productivity modeling framework to investigate ecosystem-level responses and effects within the lake. The LM-Eco Model consists of development within in two phases. The complexity of the LM-Eco model increases for each phase with respect to the number of compartments calibrated to field collected data.
The LM-Eco Phase 1 Model has been applied to examine the effect of the invasive species Bythotrephes longimanus on individual zooplankton species was investigated based upon extensive field data collected at multiple locations in Lake Michigan during the 1994-1995 Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study. Field data collected at 15 sampling stations within Lake Michigan over a series of 8 sampling cruises throughout a 2 year period demonstrated that over 65% of zooplankton species exhibited a decline with the occurrence of Bythotrephes in the sample. The LM-Eco model was successfully applied to simulate the trends of Bythotrephes and zooplankton abundance as observed in the collected field data. Model simulations allowed for examination of interactions between the invader Bythotrephes and native zooplankton groups on a 5km by 5km resolution throughout Lake Michigan. Analysis was completed as a time series specific to individual field sampling locations, Station 240, within the lake, and also on a lake-wide scale.
The LM-Eco Phase II model includes compartments for invasive dreissenids, including the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis). In the Process Flow Diagram for the Lake Michigan Ecosystem Model Development, LM-Eco Phase II development has compartments shown in yellow.
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Miller, D.H., R.G. Kreis, Jr., W.-C. Huang, and X. Xia. 2009. Application of a lower food web productivity model to investigate ecosystem level changes resulting from aquatic invasive species in Lake Michigan. 16th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, Montreal, QC, Canada, April 19-24, 2009. p. 220. (Abstract).
Miller, D.H., R.G. Kreis, Jr., W.-C.Huang, and X. Xia. 2008. Application of a Lower Food Web Ecosystem Productivity Model to Investigate Population Dynamics of Invasive Species in Lake Michigan. North American Lake Management Society, Calgary, Canada. November 11-14, 2008. p. 84. (Abstract).
Miller, D. H., R G. Kreis, Jr., W.-C. Huang , and X. Xia. 2008. Quantitative Evaluation of a Multi-Trophic Ecosystem Model for Investigating Population Dynamics of the Invasive Species Bythotrephes longimanus in Lake Michigan. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando, Florida, March 2-7, 2008. p. 111. (Abstract).
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