The Real-time Aquatic Ecosystem Observation Network (REAON) project will receive a total sum of $15.9 million from Ontario’s Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth. The REAON project is led by Dr. Aaron Fisk of the University of Windsor along with a team of researchers from Carleton, Trent, and Western universities, as well as from the United States. According to Dr. Aaron Fisk, the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Changing Great Lakes Ecosystems:
The Real-time Aquatic Ecosystem Observation Network will provide the instruments and staff to carry out comprehensive and multidisciplinary research to understand and support management of the Great Lakes, and will be a reference for researchers worldwide who are investigating freshwater ecosystems.
Funding will be used to address the network’s infrastructure and data management requirements, allowing the project scientists to carry-out cutting-edge freshwater ecosystem research. The Network is based at the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre in LaSalle, Ontario on the Detroit River. A portion of the funding will be used to build an addition to the Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre, providing increased space for preparation and maintenance of instruments, analyzing aquatic sample collections and surgeries for implants which allow fish tracking through telemetry.
Fisk maintains that climate change will be a central focus of Great Lakes research over the next 20 years, with a need to understand rapid changes in ecosystem processes and the associated impacts. The RAEON project will facilitate this goal through a network of real-time sensors, autonomous sub-surface vehicles and an extensive collection of independent instruments.
Professor Fisk says the network, “will give leaders in government, industry and even individual Canadian households the comprehensive science-based data they need to make effective, responsive policy and management decisions.”