The CMU boathouse on Whiskey point houses 12 mesocosms (each a 250-gallon tank representing a small experimental aquatic ecosystem) that can be filled (when the lake is stratified during the summer) with warm nutrient-depleted water pumped from the surface of Lake Michigan or cold nutrient-rich water from below the thermocline; this is the only facility within the Great Lakes basin with this capability. The tanks can either be used for batch culture or continuous-flow experiments. Each tank can be illuminated from above by programmable lights capable of providing full solar radiation and equipped with aeration, chillers, heaters, and
metering pumps to deliver known doses of nutrients or contaminants. The environmental conditions in each tank can be continually controlled and monitored by a computerized system. This is a state-of-the-art facility that acts as a conduit for generating high quality peer-reviewed publications by CMU researchers and external collaborators. The mesocosm facility allows CMU faculty and students to design replicated experiments to examine the effect of multiple variables on ecological processes. The results provide new insights into the probable responses to global climate and general environmental change, and hence not only advance the field of aquatic ecology, but provide natural resource managers and policy makers with the critical information required to make scientifically informed decisions.