**The title, authors, and abstract for this completion report are provided below. For a copy of the completion report, please contact the GLFC via e-mail or via telephone at 734-662-3209**
Ecosystem Health of Large Lakes: Identifying Utility and Metrics
Robert E. Hecky2 and Norine E. Dobiesz2
2 Large Lake Observatory, University of Minnesota Duluth,
2205 East 5th Street, RLB 109, Duluth, MN 55812
A series of four workshops brought together experts from large aquatic ecosystems around the world to examine four key elements related to ecosystem health: biodiversity, nutrients, fisheries management, and human dimensions. Through a collaborative effort, we selected a set of simple metrics that can be useful indicators of healthy ecosystems and might be adopted as fish community objectives for the Laurentian Great Lakes and other large water bodies of the world. The development and application of a set of ecosystem health metrics has for the first time allowed the ecosystem status of the world’s great lakes to be compared. Our metric trends indicated that lakes Ontario, Erie, and Victoria are the most disturbed of the great lakes while lakes Baikal, Tanganyika, and Superior are among the least disturbed. These metrics provide an objective set of indicators to assess the health of large lake systems in the future with not only reference to previous condition (improving or deteriorating) but also to allow regional, national and international agencies to prioritize their efforts to maintain and restore the health of these large systems. Additionally, this work has highlighted deficiencies in data collection and integration to support effective and timely ecosystem management and decision-making. Future efforts should address the importance of data management and integration to improve use and access of historical data and enhance predictive tools for managing fisheries in the world’s great lakes.