Great Lakes Environment

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Great Lakes Aquatic Health and Environment: Lake Ontario Abstract This paper critically analyzes the environmental factors that impact aquatic health in Lake Ontario. In total the nutrient availability and contamination in Lake Ontario has a large negative impact on the lives of the aquatic organism such as Quagga mussels, Cladophora and common fish species. Introduction The Great Lakes are a very important part of the fresh water system in the world. In fact, the fresh water in the Great Lakes accounts for approximately 1/5 of the world’s fresh surface water supply. The aquatic life and environment of the Great Lakes are a crucial factor when it comes to assessing the productivity and overall sustainability of the lakes. The term “aquatic…show more content…
The nature of aquatic systems is in a very delicate balance that is easily altered when chemicals and nutrients are added to the water. One example of this are the Cladophora, which are attached green algae in Lake Ontario. It grows during the summer and lives on nutrients such as phosphorous that make their way into both naturally and through pollution in the form of soaps and fertilizers [3]. The more pollution that flows into Lake Ontario the faster the decline in aquatic health. These contaminants that flow into the water system effect the food web to a large extent. A study conducted by Anika Ballent and her team found that microplastics are one of the major contaminants in Lake Ontario due to its high urbanization and population density [2]. Aquatic life is very fragile in the sense that there are many factors that cause it to fluctuate. A chemical leaking into a body of water is similar to a poison released as a gas in the air we breathe and there are many organisms that are affected by the toxins and pollutants that are dumped into Lake Ontario. Some of the main species of fish in Lake Ontario are walleye, trout and salmon. The Lake Ontario food web has been damaged by over-fishing, fluctuation in nutrient levels, industrial chemicals, agricultural fertilizers, untreated sewage, phosphates from laundry detergents, and pesticides[4]. Some pollutant chemicals that have been found in the lake include DDT, benzopyrene, PCBs, chromium, lead, mercury, and carbon tetrachloride[4]. Conclusion Future research into Lake Ontario’s aquatic health could be to study how the pollution has changed the ways we treat the water from the lake before human consumption. Over the years the water treatment methods have changed to adapt to poorer water conditions and by tracking these changes we may be able to further understand the negative impact that we are placing on the fresh water

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