The North Atlantic and Great Lakes represent two ecologically diverse
and heavily impacted regions, which at the same time support some
of the most valuable coastal resources in the nation. The length
of the coastline of the Great Lakes rivals that of the entire eastern
seaboard. New Bedford, MA reports the highest valued landings of
any U.S. fishing port. Centuries of commercial and recreational
fishing and decades of point and non-point contamination and nutrient
input have severely altered our coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems.
Understanding, sustaining and conserving these systems forms the
basis of NURC-NA&GLs research program.
- The American lobster Homarus americanus is the U.S.s
second most economically important single-species fishery. Combining
ROV and side-scan sonar technologies, NURC research has better
defined the role that seafloor habitats play in the survival and
production of juvenile lobsters.
- Aided the New England Fishery Management Council in developing
management actions to conserve deepwater coral habitats off the
North Atlantic. Some deep water corals serve as critical habitat
for fish, most are vulnerable to fishing and others are long lived
records of climate change.
- Used an ROV to validate that egg deposition and fry production
of lake trout take place at Michigan's Mid-Lake Reef Complex.
Future research will build upon this study to assist restoration
of this extirpated species.
- Working in collaboration with the National Marine Sanctuary
Program at Stellwagen Bank and Thunder Bay, NURC ROVs have been
used to survey and document wreck sites, which are marine heritage
resources. NURC research was pivotal in the listing of the steamship
Portland on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Great Lakes are closed systems and whatever
enters remains within the basin indefinitely, ending up in sediments
and the benthic boundary layer (BBL). NURC technology has led
the way in examining the processes that sequester and bury or
recycle and release nutrients or toxic substances that may either
fuel or contaminate Great Lakes ecosystems.