The Laurentian Great Lakes are the largest group of lakes on Earth, containing a fifth of near-surface and liquid freshwater globally. Lake Erie has a human-dominated watershed and has witnessed recurrent summertime oxygen depletion for a century or more. Conditions favor the formation of an expansive summer “dead zone,” comparable in surface area to the low oxygen “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Microbes are important consumers and producers of greenhouse gases in the environment. Lake Erie’s expansive ‘dead zone’ offers an ecosystem whose chemical and physical characteristics are conducive to the production of greenhouse gases. The proposed Lake Erie ‘dead zone’ microbial metagenome and metatranscriptome sequencing project will provide insight into global carbon, nitrogen, and methane cycles.
Proposer’s Name: Robert Michael McKay