Great Lakes Literacy, Principles Four & Five – Water makes Earth habitable
The Great Lakes contain approximately 20% of Earth’s surface fresh water, and fresh water has many unique properties. Water is essential for life, and all living processes occur in an aqueous environment. Every aquatic and terrestrial organism in the Great Lakes basin requires a source of fresh water to survive.
Life in the Great Lakes ranges in size from the smallest blue-green bacteria to the largest animal that lives in the Great Lakes, the lake sturgeon. Most life in the Great Lakes exists as microorganisms. Microorganisms, such as phytoplankton and cyanobacteria, are the most important primary producers in the lakes.
The Great Lakes’ watershed supports organisms from every kingdom on Earth and Great Lakes biology provides many examples of life cycles, adaptations, and important relationships among organisms, such as symbionts, predator-prey dynamics, and energy transfer.
The Great Lakes ecosystem provides habitat for both terrestrial and aquatic species. The Great Lakes are three-dimensional, offering vast living space and diverse habitats from the shoreline and surface down
through the water column to the lake floor. Great Lakes’ habitats are defined by environmental factors. As
a result of interactions involving abiotic factors such as temperature, clarity, depth, oxygen, light, pressure, substrate type and circulation, life in the Great Lakes is not evenly distributed. Abiotic factors can change daily, seasonally or annually due to natural and human influences.
Ecosystem processes influence the distribution and diversity of organisms from surface to bottom and nearshore to offshore. Wetlands, including coastal marshes and freshwater estuaries, provide important and productive nursery areas for many species that rely on these habitats for protective structure, hunting grounds, migration stops and raising offspring.
Life cycles, behaviors, habitats and the abundance of organisms in the Great Lakes have all been altered, in some cases to the good and others to the bad, by intentional and unintentional introduction of non-native plant and animal species.
This year I have noticed a large decline in the wildlife also vegetation and water quality. Therefore all Summer images are in the “one post”
Last year Hamilton did not know what to do with a huge deposit of coal tar from years of Foundry work going on in Hamilton Harbour.Last year they covered the poison with a big Metal Dome, I think
this has upset the balance and has made this area,s water poor quality.(DEADLY)And deadly too wildlife-sadly enough, Last year I saw maybe 100 Black crowned herons same as Blue Herons and maybe 4 Green herons-this year not “one” all Summer long.I say stop making our public trails cement covered and stop selling french fries and using pesticides on plants on the trail Hamilton “SHAME”
Hope things change
Doug Worrall Photography