By Hilary R. Mosher, Coordinator of the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management at the Finger Lakes Institute
The Finger Lakes Institute is hosting the 2015 Finger Lakes Research Conference on November 12 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The lineup of presenters includes experts from New York and Canada in the field of water resources, invasive species, and contaminants while poster session topics range from exotic plant species to feeding preference of goats for invasive species management. The purpose of this year’s conference is to convey information to the public, natural resource managers, and others on what is being done locally, regionally, and across the state on issues of importance to the region.
This year’s keynote speaker is Todd Walter, Director of the Water Resources Institute at Cornell University. The Water Resources Institute (WRI) works to identify and develop resources to improve water quality via original research, education and outreach for said research, management of funding opportunities to the higher education community, and relationship-building with stakeholder groups and others. To that end, Todd will talk about agricultural non-point source pollution in the Finger Lakes. This topic is of keen interest to those across the region who are advocating for research and control of non-point source pollution in our Finger Lakes and beyond. The WRI currently has a competitive grant application available to address key gaps or issues of emerging importance in NY’s water resources and to bring innovative science to watershed planning, management, and policy. For more details on the application requirements, see the RFA available here.
Invasive species are represented on the docket for those with a strong interest in biological invasions and impacts. Kimberly Schulz (SUNY ESF) will document the effects of an invasive zooplankton in the food webs of the Finger Lakes and Great Lakes. Brian Weidel (USGS, Great Lakes Science Center) will make the connection between the Dreissena mussels and the round goby in Lake Ontario. Having the round goby identified in Cayuga Lake and given the potential for other lakes to be impacted, this presentation will highlight the need for further research on biological invasions in the Finger Lakes. Cathy McGlynn, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s new Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator will address the newly adopted aquatic invasive species management plan and will be available to answer the burning questions that our Finger Lakes partners have regarding AIS in our lakes. Robert Johnson will follow with an update of the research and management currently conducted in the south end of Cayuga Lake to eradicate Hydrilla verticillata. With the new infestation identified in Monroe County and the potential for new populations to be discovered, it is a timely topic for our region. Doug Wilcox, Empire Innovation Professor of Wetland Science at the College at Brockport, retiree of the USGS, and former Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Wetlands will provide an overview of the wetland restoration projects being conducted in Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area of Lake Ontario.
Temporal trends in water quality based on chemical analysis are one of the key tools that researchers use to determine changes in ecosystem function. John Halfman, Professor of Geosciences at Hobart and William Smith Colleges will provide an update of ongoing, long-term data and research on nutrients and other water quality pararmeters in the Finger Lakes. His research provides insight into the state of our Finger Lakes and is a long-term record of changes across many lakes. Cliff Kraft, Associate Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University will document ecosystem disruptions caused by the lack of B vitamins. Karen Riva-Murray from USGS’s New York Water Science Center will talk about mercury bioaccumulation in streams across New York State. Roxanne Razavi, the Finger Lakes Institute’s Post-doctoral Research Scientist will provide an overview of the FLI’s NYSERDA-funded research project that began in 2015. Jeff Ridal, Executive Director and Chief Research Scientist for the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences in Canada, will discuss the Institute’s role in protecting ecosystems and engaging with stakeholders. Students and researchers in the Finger Lakes will present research posters that showcase the research being conducted in or having relation to the Finger Lakes.
The research conference is a way for everyone with a stake in the Finger Lakes region to develop a strong understanding of the research and projects being done in or those that affect our region. We welcome our guest presenters and poster presenters who will provide attendees with timely information on issues that impact the region and we encourage our attendees to ask tough questions and remain strong advocates for our region. You are what make the Finger Lakes great! We look forward to seeing you on the 12th.