The Human and Environmental Stressors to the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America: Effects on Local Ecosystem and Native Species
Burton, Kurtis P.
University of Wisconsin--Stout
MetadataShow full item record
Sometimes we neglect to recognize human impacts on the environment. An example that will be explored includes anthropogenic effects on the Laurentian Great Lakes. This includes degradation of water quality and how it alters aquatic life. Chain reactions may create ecological changes that should not be ignored. Indications of unnatural changes can also be helpful tools for scientists and managers in developing methods of tracking and implementation of restorative efforts (Seilheimer et al., 2009). With a unique and diverse ecosystem, the Great Lakes Basin is home for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial animals, but it is also an example of mass biological invasion (Sterner et al., 2017). Ecological effects from invasive species can impact the economy and the local food-web. To preserve the Great Lakes, restoration efforts must be implemented; given the dynamic complexity of these systems, it will be challenging and expensive. This paper will provide a broad review of human actions that can trigger a decrease in water quality within the Great Lakes Basin, and the impact they can have on native species such as fish and waterfowl. Examples of human disturbances to be explored include urbanization, agriculture, waste material (e.g., plastics), invasive species, and global warming. The health of communities surrounding the Great Lakes and those visiting could be exposed to a number of harmful diseases and bacteria. Additionally, humans can also be the solution by becoming citizen scientists, naturalists, and through community engagement.