Soranno and MSU co-authors Mary Bremigan and Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, associate and assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, respectively, said many current and emerging environmental issues have causes that range in scale from local to global. All three are members of the MSU Landscape Limnology Research Group.
Land-use change, exotic species invasions and climate change are all complex issues linked in ways that only can be understood by taking an approach that includes all these scales as well as freshwater, terrestrial and human landscape information.
"A landscape approach that considers what's happening at both the local, water body scale and at the broader regional scale is really the only way to study these types of issues," Cheruvelil said. "If you look at only one ecosystem in isolation, you don't see the whole picture."
"The landscape limnology framework makes it easy to run several complementary models at the same time," added Bremigan. "Right now, the people who manage fish use one model and the people who manage nutrient levels use a completely different model and they're rarely compatible, so it can be difficult to see how changes in one affect the other. Landscape limnology models make it easier to see the relationships between all the variables."
The DNRE began using the MSU scientists' landscape limnology approach in 2006 to set and manage nutrient levels in the state's freshwater lakes and streams and the managers are very pleased with the results.
"The state of Michigan had to present our approach to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials and they gave us a very favorable review," Soranno said. "Now we're starting to work with agencies outside Michigan."
|Contact: Jamie DePolo|
Michigan State University