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GREAT LAKES PRESERVATION
1. Choose a specific ecosystem, such as a forest, a grassland or a marine or freshwater aquatic ecosystem.
A freshwater aquatic ecosystem that provides very abundant resources is the Great Lakes. Amazingly a total of five Lakes makeup the most significant collection of fresh water in the entire world. The Great Lakes contain more than a hundred thousand attached lakes, tributaries and marshlands. The aquatic ecosystems are affected by the human populations mainly through water pollution and the increasing need for fresh water consumed by daily living. Other stresses to the ecosystem are the effects of human environments, factories, and plants on the natural climates around the Lakes.
For example the rises in climate experienced through hotter air can change the temperatures of the water in the lakes. It can also cause losses of lake depths and the amount of ice cover that affects marine life. These higher climates causes water to evaporate off the lakes which would lower the level of the lake.
Changes in water temperature also affect the ecological balance of the streams or tributaries and rivers on the swampy marshes. The marine life that exists in the lakes impacted by climate change.
The lowest level of food is the algae that lives at the base of the lakes and will determine how much food is produced for the fish and zoo-plankton (Plante & Downing et al., 1990). The algae growth is based on the water temperature, nutrients in the water and soil, and the amount of light during the spring and summer seasons (Magnusson. et al., 1997).
Again with higher temperatures there is generally higher production of algae. This will increase the level of food at the bottom of the chain causing greater amounts of fish for the natural wildlife of animals in the food chain and ultimately humans. With lower temperatures during the warmer months the amount of algae in the river basins will decrease this in turns limit's the amount of food for the plankton and other fish. With less fish the native wildlife near the rivers will have less food and there may be a drop in fish varieties at the supermarket. In addition this will lower the revenue produced by the fish industry (Shuter & Ing, 1997).
The warmth of the water directly affects the body temperature of fish in their natural habitat. For every type or species of fish there is a perfect temperature that determines the place where the fish will live, grow and breed. The amount of food that is eaten by the fish, the metabolic system that affects its growth and fertility can depend on temperature.
The rivers also provide necessary services that humans use daily. These include drinking water, generating electricity, irrigation of crops, beverage production, recreation and waste management. The lakes and rivers are also the home of marine and wildlife from fish to beavers and bears.
2.Identify and discuss the effects that a growing human population may have on that ecosystem's resources, including loss or harm to population of wild species.
Other effects that the human population has on the ecosystems fresh water resources are water pollution, and reductions in the amount of groundwater from humans changing the landscape of the sediments through road development.
The streams to the northwest of Ontario are colder than the streams in the South and are important to the fisheries. They support the fishing industries and therefore the food supply and livelihood of humans according to the Nature Conservancy (1998). The natural coniferous forestry and soil in the northwest has higher concentrated carbon and is acidic. The waters that continually push against these soils cause the acids to spread throughout the ecosystem. The potential for fires is heightened due to these carbon deposits. If a fire should be started most likely by humans, it affects an entire region on both the land and the streams (Schindler et. al, 1996). The lumber trade of harvesting forests causes problems for the streams affecting their normal flow. For areas where wetlands or marshes support wildlife and provide proper shading for vegetation, organic nutrient degradation and sediments, it is important not to disturb the ecosystem as well. Most of the human population resides in the southeastern regions of the Great Lakes where there is more development (Schindler et. al., 1996). For example the Maumee River and Saginaw have a lower concentration of nutrients than the northern rivers (Nature Conservancy, 1998). Problems caused by disturbing the vegetation due to forestry removal, adding of pesticides to farming lands, and agricultural livestock, stormwater from chemical plants all contribute to the loss of quality soils.
3.discuss one management practice for sustainability and conservation of natural resources in that ecosystem.
Coordinated funding from manufacturers and land developers can be acquired to cleanup areas where pollution has disrupted the aquatic ecosystems of the Great Lakes. More programs such as the Great Lakes Cleanup Campaign coordinated by the EPA are needed. Such efforts go a long way toward restoring the balance of nature that has been eroded by human development of the lakes, streams, and rivers. The campaign was successful in removing over five million pounds of electronic equipment dumped in the lakes (Roth, 1996). They were also able to recover millions of pills that entered the waters through sewage systems. Another practice is to protect the lakes from invading species of fish coming from other areas. In recent news the Asian carp has found its way into the great lakes. This large fish preys on the same foods that the native fish eat causing these fish to diminish in quantity. This again causes problems for the fisheries that depend on the native fish for economic stability. The carp and other foreign fish such as zebra mussels and sea lampreys must be barred from entering the lakes through the Chicago canal (Broder, 2010). Gates in the canal help to block entry, management programs designed to monitor and coordinate more construction of gates will help maintain the proper ecological balance.
Thirdly more draining of chemicals such as phosphorus is necessary to diminish the chemical content of the waters through human habitation and the farming industry.
Broder, D. (2010). Great goals for the great lakes. Retrieved July 7, 2010 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022403480.html
Downing, J.A., Plante, C. and Lalonde, S. 1990. Fish production correlated with primary productivity, not the morphoedaphic index. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 47:1929-1936.
Magnuson, J.J., Webster,K.E. Assel, R.A., Bowser, C.J. Dillon, P.J, Eaton, J, Evans, H.E., Fee, D.J. Fee, Hall, R.I., Mortsch, L. and Quinn, F.H. (1997). Potential effects of climate change on aquatic systems: Laurentian Great Lakes and Precambrian Shield Region, pp. 7-53. John Wiley& Sons. (Also as an Issue of the Journal Hydrological Processes 11(6) 1997.)
Nature Conservancy. (2008). A vision for the great lakes and rivers priority in the campaign for a sustainable planet. Retrieved July 8, 2010 from http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/greatlakes/resources/
Schindler, D.W., Bayley, S.E., Parker, B.R., Beaty, K.G., Cruikshank, D.R., Fee, and Stainton, M. P. (1996). The effects of climatic warming on the properties of boreal lakes and streams at the Experimental Lakes Area, northwestern Ontario. Limnology and Oceanography 41:1004-1017.
Shuter, B.J. and Ing, K.K. (1997). Factors affecting the production of zooplankton in lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aq. Sci. 54:359-377.
Edited by Toneemarie on 7/9/2010 at 2:03 AM EST