Alexander Karatayev, director of the Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State, and Lyubov Burlakova, research scientist with the center, have been named project directors on a $1.1 million grant awarded via subcontract from Cornell University.
The entire grant of $3.9 million was awarded by the EPA Great Lakes National Program Office and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Lars Rudstam, director of the Cornell Biological Field Station, is the principal investigator. Burlakova will be responsible for the grant management at Buffalo State.
The five-year grant will enable a team of researchers to study the lower trophic (food web) levels of all the Great Lakes from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario. Two technicians and two graduate students from Cornell, plus a technician and a graduate student from Buffalo State, will complete the core team.
“We’re studying the benthos [organisms that live on, in, or near the bottom] in the Great Lakes,” said Karatayev. “We were invited to be part of the team that submitted the proposal because we have experience in benthos research and invasive species.”
Karatayev and Burlakova are internationally known experts in invasive species, particularly certain kinds of molluscs; an article they published with coauthors Demetrio Boltovskoy and Dianna K. Padilla in Journal of Shellfish Research about invasive bivalves has been cited by other scientists more than any other article published by the journal in the last two years.
The project, which began this month, will provide data to agencies charged with managing the Great Lakes.