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Human Activities Effecting Ecosystems

what are some major environmental impacts to Canada's Great Lakes? What actions are required to prevent further damage?

Jonathon Barron

on 1 December 2011

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Transcript of Human Activities Effecting Ecosystems

Human Activities Affecting Ecosystems
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes contain the most fresh water on the earth, only the polar ice caps contain more fresh water.
Canada's Great Lakes
Damage to The Great Lakes
Though the Great Lakes are great in size, they are sensitive to many types of pollutants. The Great Lakes have suffered greatly over the years.
Run-off of Soils

Urbanized areas increase runoff water. This is because they possess many surfaces, like pavement, that disables the runoff water to be absorbed. Therefore, the water cannot be purified, and they travel into the Great Lakes, still containing the pollutants.
Lake Huron
Lake Ontario
Lake Erie
The lakes large surface areas make them vulnerable to pollutants that fall with rain and snow.
As the climate changes, it will impact the Great Lakes as well. This is because as temperatures raise the amount of rainfall will increase. We have already begun to see that storms becoming more intense.
The amount of water in the Great Lakes will drop, due to warmer temperatures and less ice, there will be more evaporation.
The animals that live in and around the Great Lakes are expected to move towards the north, where they can survive and reproduce, in their preferable climates.
For aquatic animals, they are most likely to move to deeper water. But other cold-water species are expected to decrease dramatically.
Farm Chemicals
Many fertilizers have been washed into the great lakes causing oxygen depletion.
The fertilizers that get into the great lakes have been causing growth of algae. When the increase of plant life dies, the organisms help these plants decompose, use up most of the oxygen supply. This causes other biotic things, like fish, to die.
So many urban areas have expanded over the last few decades. This has cause loss of habitat for many animals. Urbanization also causes many disturbances in the ecosystem.
Agriculture can alter habitats, introduce exotic pests and pollutes with fertilizers and pesticides.
Agriculture is the biggest human activity. It causes the most habitat alteration due to the large geographical scale.
Loss of habitat/species because of farming.
Erosion: natural vegetation has been taken from an area.
Chemical pollution: as water carries the soil away, it can also be dragging along pollutants.
There is an increase in global movement of goods. Oceanic shipping traffic is one of the most harmful to the Great Lakes.
As ships leave they take water in the ballast from their starting point, and release it at their destination. The water might contain exotic plants and organisms, which can be extremely dangerous to the native wildlife. This is because they have no predators, in the habitat, to which they have recently been introduced.
Globalization is posing a serious threat to the aquatic life and water quality throughout the world.
The shipping boat itself poses a threat to the aquatic life and water quality. The shipping boat can leak oil, they release harmful fumes into the atmosphere, and they cause noise pollution which disturb the wildlife.
Some organisms can also attach themselves onto the bottom of the ship, for example the zebra muscle. This invasive species attaches itself onto the bottom of shipping boats.
Introduction of Exotic Species
Predation: Exotic species when entering a new habitat can dramaticly change the food chain.
Competition: Exotic animals can outcompete native animals for habitat and food, due to the fact that they have no local predators or disease (that can effect them) to keep their population in check.
Hybridization: when exotic species are introduced into a habitat (intentional or not) can result in interbreeding between native and non-native species.
Interbreeding can cause decrease of native animals and maybe even extinction.
Disease and Parasites: some exotic pests that get introduces to a new habitat provide dramatic damage to native wildlife. Some might have brought a disease with them
Homogenization of ecosystems: predation, competition, hybridization, disease and parasites, and habitat alteration, all combine to decrease the amount of native species in a habitat, which get replaced with another exotic species.
Manufacturing has been polluting the air and the water of the Great Lakes.
Air: manufacturing can cause dangerous fumes to be released into the atmosphere.
Water: the manufacturing companies also cause acid rain to fall into the Great Lakes, harming the water quality as well as the aquatic life.
Manufacturing can also disable many animals from reproducing.
Preventing Further Damage
What We Can Do To Help In Our
Everyday Lives

Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
get a water-efficent toilet.
Don`t use more water than necessary to boil food.
Don`t take extremly long showers.
Use environmentaly friendly products.
Do not recklessly through away paint, car fluids and other harmful substances.
Use compst for fertilizing.
A way that is being used to restore and protect the great lakes is through programs and organizations. With the help from programs and organizations, Environmental Canada is taking avyion and addressing the issues to the general public.
Some action has already been done for the great lakes, for example in October 23rd, 2009, Canada`s Environmental Minister Jim Prentice, anounced the $290,000 funding for the 5 clean up projects to the St. Lawence River. Another 38 projects, to help clean up the great lakes recieved $2.2million in funding aswell.
By reducing the energy we use, we can help prevent more climate changes.
Choosing non-invasive plants for lanscaping can help habitat.
Lake Michigan
Lake Superior
Zebra Muscle on the Bottom of a boat.
Mouse gets eaten by snake
Mouse gets eaten by eagle.
The snake and eagle compete for the mouse
Liger (a cross breed between a lion and a tiger).
Switch to a `low-flow` showerhead.
Get involved in cleanup projects.
Do not use pesticides on your yards.
Runoff soil is caused when there is excess water that cannot be absorbed into the earth. As the runoff water moves along the ground, it can collect pollutants, which travels with it into the lakes.
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