Wednesday, June 1, 2011

North Shore factoids right from the source

Our own North Shore is the center of the universe right now for large lake researchers from around the world. Duluth's harborfront convention center is full of tweedy science types from across the U.S. and Canada, plus China, Africa, Russia and more. It's the annual conference of the International Association for Great Lakes Research. 

What's in it for fans of the North Shore? Some fascinating tidbits, to be sure. I attend a press conference and checked out the conference yesterday as a member of the media (and the only blogger, I believe). 

Among the hundreds of presentations and posters, I'm finding a few digestible if depressing factoids:
  • A typical North Shore stream carries 28-42 grams of the toxicant mercury into Lake Superior every year, primarily during spring run-off. 
  • The peak of spring run-off on Lake Superior streams is coming 9-13 days earlier in the spring than it did 50 years ago. 
  • Lake herring (or cisco) is the dominant fish in Lake Superior by biomass. In other words, if you took all the fish in the lake out and weighed them, the heaviest pile would be the herring. 
  • Minnesota has 11,877 "Great Lakes jobs." Wisconsin has 173,969.
I'm going to review the abstracts and post a few more tidbits as I find them. Researchers are finding out a lot about Lake Superior, and it's great to hear it right from the source.

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