Great Lakes science vessels are an important part of U.S. and Canadian research and monitoring efforts designed to protect the quality of the Great Lakes ecosystem. They support a wide range of research and monitoring activities related to the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the largest freshwater system in the world. Demand for scientific data has continued to increase while funding for research and monitoring has been reduced, prompting research managers to seek better ways to coordinate the use of these critical resources.

Since 1997 annual Great Lakes science vessel coordination workshops have been held to facilitate the exchange of ideas and improve the coordination of science vessel operations. This web site is a product of those efforts. It enables managers, scientists and science vessel operators to effectively communicate with their counterparts throughout the Great Lakes basin and to identify opportunities for collaboration. Details of each ship and its scientific equipment are posted as well as general schedules and points of contact to aid in coordinating operations, sharing resources and expertise to the benefit of all Great Lakes Science programs. The web site enables researchers to identify vessels that might be able to work on their projects and it helps the public learn more about this important fleet of vessels.

GLASS is led by a steering committee with representatives of many of the organizations that operate research and educational vessels in the region. Support for maintaining this web site is provided by the IJC Science Advisory Board Research Coordination Committee.

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