The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sailed into Duluth.

The Environmental Protection Agency's largest research ship, the Lake Guardian, has arrived in Duluth and is docked at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center dock with eleven scientists onboard being supported by a 15-member crew.

The scientists are "searching for new species and evaluating the lower food web" using the ship's sampling equipment and three laboratories. Using the data found while aboard the ship, the scientists can determine water quality, sediment and animal and plant life on Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes.

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The Lake Guardian is owned and operated by the Environmental Protection Agency's  Great Lakes National Program Office, except for last year, the ship has done water quality surveys every spring and summer since 1983.

Using nets, sleds, bottles, cameras, and other types of equipment the scientists will collect water, sediment, and lower food web organisms from all over the five Great Lakes.

The Environmental Protection Agency says, "On this survey, scientists are monitoring the long-term changes in phytoplankton at offshore stations where the conditions are shallower and closer to nearshore regions of Lakes Michigan and Superior...and may tell a story that directly reflects human-Great Lakes interactions."

Zebra and quagga mussels are just some of the over 180 species of aquatic plants and animals that are not native to the area that have been discovered in the Great Lakes over the years and the work of the Lake Guardian and its crew will continue to search for more and discover new trends within the Great Lakes.


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