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Resource Shed Delineation in the Great Lakes
Analysis of spatially-explicit ecological phenomena in aquatic ecosystems is impeded by a lack of knowledge of, and tools to delimit, spatial patterns of material supply to point locations. The concept of “resource sheds” is developed to better understand these patterns, where resource sheds are defined as source areas from which materials are derived for an individual, population, or location, over a specified time interval. Calculation of resource sheds is based on tracking particles backward in time from a location of interest, and coupling the particle tracking model with a hydrodynamic model. The particle-tracking approach is more computationally efficient, is not influenced by restrictions imposed by a numerical grid, and allows more quantitative estimates of distributions, relative to typical concentration-based calculations. By linking the lake resource shed with a tributary model, it also is possible to track source regions up into watersheds. This type of calculation is useful in identifying potential management actions for remediation of regions such as the Western Basin of Lake Erie, which has been subjected to algae bloom problems, probably associated with nutrient loading. Current research is investigating this and other applications of particle tracking in analyzing various water quality problems in the Great Lakes.
FACULTY & STAFF
- New York Sea Grant