Biocomplexity study in Lake Ontario bays and lagoons

ITHACA, N.Y. -- A $3 million biocomplexity grant announced by the National Science Foundation (NSF) last week will enable a five-year study of how physical, biological and human interactions shape the ecosystems of Lake Ontario's freshwater bays and lagoons. The study will be carried out by a team affiliated with the Cornell Center For the Environment consisting of biologists, engineers and planners from Cornell University, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse and Syracuse University.

The faculty researchers and students at Cornell and Syracuse will be supported by one of 16 grants chosen from 300 proposals to the NSF, to foster a better understanding of the interrelationships that arise when living things at all levels interact with their environment.

"All of us take for granted the predictable patterns in our world, but as scientists we are very poor at explaining how these patterns emerge from our many small and specific studies," says Cornell's Mark B. Bain, leader of the Lake Ontario project. "The connections among numerous processes and pieces that result in familiar environmental patterns are at the center of our work. This is a new, interdisciplinary team testing a new idea in a very complex ecosystem," says Bain, a hydro-ecologist in the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell who has been dubbed the "sturgeon general" for his studies of that endangered species in the Hudson River.

Other investigators in the Lake Ontario project are Edwin A. Cowen, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell; Charles Driscoll, Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University; Stephen Ellner, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell; Nelson Hairston Jr., the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Environmental Science at Cornell; Donald Leopold, professor of environmental and forest biology at the College o

Contact: Roger Segelken
Cornell University News Service

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