Those not familiar with the Great Lakes freshwater coasts may wonder how a seemingly endless supply of mussels could possibly be a bad thing. After all, saltwater mussels considered a delicacy by many, is a common item found on your favorite restaurant’s menu. Unfortunately, the freshwater dreissenid mussel is not only an unwelcomed item on the menu, but also in North America’s freshwater waterways. These invasive mussels have very few natural predators to limit their numbers, so their populations continue to grow and spread, wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes food web.
Ocean chemistry is changing faster right now than at any time over the past 50 million years. “We are fundamentally altering marine ecosystems,” says NOAA oceanographer Simone Alin, Ph.D. With her colleagues at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), Alin is responsible for monitoring the rapidly changing chemistry of seawater and understanding the ramifications for the world’s oceans, particularly the highly productive, fisheries-rich coastal waters off the west coast of North America.
“Climate scientists call me the fish guy and fisheries scientists call me the climate guy,” jokes Charles “Charlie” Stock, research oceanographer and modeler, at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL).
Hongyan Zhang, Ph.D., uses computer models to investigate various topics, like the impact of invasive mussels on plankton, the occurrence of blue-green algal blooms, and the effectiveness of the phosphorous reduction program in Lake Erie.
As director of the NOAA Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau, Alaska, Phil Mundy is as passionate about his lab’s role in supporting stewardship of marine and coastal resources as he is about explaining the lab’s work to broader audiences.
Michelle Wood, Ph.D., uses tools from genetics, cell biology, oceanography, and remote sensing to explore connections between microorganisms in the sea and the physical processes influence them.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.