The Great Lakes and their connecting channels from the largest aggregation of freshwater on the planet (excluding the polar ice caps). The watershed includes parts or all of eight U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The Lakes are the dominant and defining geological characteristic of the upper Midwest, affecting the social, economic, recreational and ecological life of the region. Bordering as it does on four of the five Great Lakes, the State of Michigan and its universities understand the importance of the Lakes for the future vitality of our state. Accordingly the University of Michigan has pursued an active research program in this area, and seeks to share some of its findings through this site.