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Great Lakes Biology Monitoring Program

Simplified Great Lakes Food WebSimplified Great Lakes Food Web (NOAA GLERL Images)GLNPO’s biology monitoring program focuses on the Great Lakes lower food web. In aquatic ecosystems, the lower food web is comprised of plants, called phytoplankton, and invertebrate animals that are lower on the food chain and may be fed on by fish.

Since 1983, GLNPO’s biology monitoring program has been assessing the health and condition of the lower food web. Changes in phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos, Mysis, and chlorophyll-a build a picture of the ecological health of the open waters of the Great Lakes. This information helps fishery and water quality managers determine how changes in lower food web communities may impact the fisheries and water quality in the Great Lakes. The program also searches for new aquatic invasive species within the zooplankton, phytoplankton and benthic communities.