Great Lakes TechSurge convenes at NMC

TRAVERSE CITY — A first-of-its kind conference at NMC next week will offer an opportunity for Great Lakes researchers and advocates to better predict, plan for and manage challenges like the high lake levels that swallowed beaches this summer.

Great Lakes TechSurge: Lakebed 2030, a regional conference of the Marine Technology Society, will convene at NMC’s Great Lakes Campus Oct. 1-2. Internationally recognized for its conferences and technical symposiums, host cities for other upcoming MTS events include Houston, Seattle and Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The Traverse City event is held in parallel with a global initiative, Seabed 2030, which aspires to map the bottom of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Great Lakes Water Studies Institute Director Hans Van Sumeren, the Great Lakes section chair of the MTS, said he proposed the conference here to be sure the lakes weren’t left out of that initiative. Dr. Vicki Ferrini, research scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and head of Seabed 2030, will give the conference’s opening keynote address.

“Mapping in general provides multiple users the ability to better understand impacts,” Van Sumeren said. Those impacts include fisheries, invasive species, navigation -- both commercial and pleasure -- and coastal resiliency, or changes due to climate impacts and water levels.

“Things that are real in the Great Lakes today,” Van Sumeren said. “All those things require some level of mapping and subsurface data collection.”

Less than 10 percent of the Great Lakes lakebed has been mapped at high resolution, he estimated. The conference will allow MTS members from academia, government and industry to discuss and prioritize what data to collect and how to do so.

“It won’t happen unless we have the conversations about prioritization and collaboration,” Van Sumeren said. “It furthers the opportunity for everyone to help shape what we’re doing.”

The event, which is still open for registration, will include speakers and demonstrations from NMC vessels and in the Great Lakes campus harbor. For NMC Marine Technology students it will also include a career fair.

“They’re actively looking for students with our skills,” Van Sumeren said of the conference attendees. NMC offers the nation’s only bachelor’s degree in marine technology in the nation. Begun in 2015, the program just had its largest fall enrollment to date. A total of forty students are enrolled.

“The student success is building momentum,” Van Sumeren said.

Release date: Sept. 26, 2019

For more information:

Hans Van Sumeren
Executive Director, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute
(231) 995-1793 (o)
(231) 392-9690 (m)


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