Northwest Ohio will be the center of information and education about the Great Lakes this week, May 18-22, as The University of Toledo hosts the 52nd Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research.
In addition to providing the latest in research to the world’s leading scientists, educators and researchers, the conference offers several opportunities for the public to interact with the people whose work shapes the future of the Great Lakes.
“Some of the questions we get every year from the public are ‘Is the water safe to swim in? Can I eat the fish I catch? What’s next for Lake Erie as far as tourism goes?’” said Dr. Carol Stepien, director of UT’s Lake Erie Center and chair of the conference’s organizing committee. UT offers this annual conference in partnership with the International Association for Great Lakes Research.
“With this year’s theme of ‘Bridging Ecosystems and Environmental Health Across Our Great Lakes,’ we can answer these questions,” Stepien added. “We’re thrilled to have two keynote speakers whose research has been crucial in promoting a greater understanding of how science, environmental issues and public health are connected.”
In addition to more than 500 presentations throughout the week, the conference will feature a Great Lakes Public Forum offered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday, May 18, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room on Main Campus. The free forum, “Setting the Course for the Next 25 Years,” allows public participants to discuss the issues, opportunities and challenges posed to the Great Lakes region.
The conference’s keynote speakers are world-renowned scientists whose work connects Great Lakes research to public health concerns.
Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will address “Health and the Environment: The Great Lakes Region” at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 19, in Doermann Theater on Main Campus.
On Thursday, May 21, Dr. Rita Colwell will speak on “Climate, Oceans, Infectious Diseases and Human Health: The Cholera Paradigm” at 11 a.m. in Doermann Theater.
Colwell is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, senior adviser and chairman emeritus of Canon U.S. Life Sciences, and president/chief executive officer of CosmosID Inc.
Both keynote presentations are free and open to the public.
The International Association for Great Lakes Research is a scientific organization comprised of researchers studying the Laurentian Great Lakes, other large lakes and their watersheds. More than 1,000 members worldwide contribute to the association’s goals of promoting and communicating research pertaining to large lakes.