Topic outline

  • Welcome to Great Lakes Ecology. During this unit, you will become familiar with the Great Lakes. We will examine many facets of life within and around the Great Lakes. Topics will include habitats, food webs, invasive species, lake usage and industry, climate change and on-going research.

    Enjoy!

    This class is centered toward students studying an ecology unit and students with a basic background of ecology.
  • Topic 1

    INTRODUCTION TO THE GREAT LAKES

    Great Lakes Basin
    How well do you know the Great Lakes? Can you name and place all the Great Lakes by shape? Can you list the Great Lakes in order by water volume? Do you know how the Great Lakes were formed?

    In this lesson, we will become familiar with Great Lakes facts and history. You will complete two assignments: a webquest and a timeline of historical and geological events of the Great Lakes.

    Use this video and the sites listed on the webquest to answer the questions.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 2

    HABITATS


    An ephemeral pond.The Great Lakes are home to many different animals and plants. These animals and plants require different habitats. In this lesson, you will explore the different habitats around the Great Lakes area.


    Click on Habitats page 2 to move on.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 3

    FOOD WEBS

    Let's take a closer look at the parts of a ecosystem. One major component is its unique food web. The food web, is how energy, in the form of food, is transferred from plants to animals to other animals. Food web diagrams and models are used to understand how the natural ecosystem functions.

    Today, we are going to explore the parts of a food web. Plants and animals form different levels and serve different functions.

    First, complete this activity. At the end, click on Return to Food Chains and Cycle Index and take the test to review.

    Second, draw a food web based on the two habitats you researched in the previous lesson.

    Make a chart in a Word document and turn it into a diagram of a food web.

    Include these key words in your chart: producer, consumer, decomposer, primary (1°) consumer, secondary (2
    °) consumer, tertiary (3°) consumer.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 4

    FOOD WEBS AND INVASIVE SPECIES

    Zebra MusselsFood webs can be fragile. Sometimes invasive species are able to capitalize on resources more efficiently than native species. There are invasive species in the Great Lakes. Let's explore some of the invasive species present in the Great Lakes today.

    Today we are going to look at how invasive, or non-native species, change food webs and can adversely effect a food web and ecosystem. Invasive species impact recreation, industry, and the economy.



    Click Invasives page 2 to learn more about Invasive Species in the Great Lakes.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 5

    THREATENED SPECIES: A LOOK AT LAKE STURGEON AND ISLE ROYALE

    Lake SturgeonToday, we are going to take a look at Lake Sturgeon and Isle Royale.

    To learn more about Lake Sturgeon, click on Lake Sturgeon Information.



    After learning about Lake Sturgeon, click on Isle Royale Information to continue your journey.



    Isle RoyaleDuration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 6

    GREAT LAKES SHIPPING AND ECONOMY

    Let's explore how the Great Lakes are used as a highway by the shipping industry. The Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway are major shipping channels through North America. They provide shipping access to the Midwest U.S. and Canada from the Atlantic Ocean. This enables local industries to export goods and materials around the world.

    To continue your journey, click on Great Lakes Shipping page 2.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 7

    POLLUTION IN THE GREAT LAKES



    The Great Lakes have been exposed to a large amount of pollution since the time of industrialization. Over many decades of different spillage and run-off of waste water and chemicals the ecosystems of the Great Lakes took a devastating toll. In this lesson, we will be looking at Lake Erie, which has had the most dynamic history in regard to pollution.

    Water Pollution in the Great Lakes
    Pay close attention to the methods of pollution and the effects of pollution.

    Watch this video about the efforts to restore Lake Erie.


    Take the Great Lakes pollution quiz to test your comprehension of water pollution.

    Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Topic 8

    ONGOING RESEARCH IN THE GREAT LAKES


    There are many scientists and programs that invest their time and money in researching varying aspects of the Great Lakes. This research spans and integrate areas of science from chemistry to biology, math, geology and many more.

    Watch this video to learn about the research of Dr. Jay Austin on Lake Superior.

    Let's learn about the process of water stratification in order to understand how lakes, aquatic animals, plants and humans are impacted by the changing temperature of lakes. Watch the animation.

    Also, view this Lake Stratification Diagram.

    Complete the Lake Stratification Assignment to apply your new knowledge.

    Duration: 60 minutes.

  • Topic 9

    ASIAN CARP: FUTURE OF THE GREAT LAKES?

    Asian carpAsian carp are an extremely successful invasive species that is found in the Mississippi River basin. Over the last 30 years, Asian carp have steadily moved up the Mississippi River and surrounding areas. Now, they are only a few miles away from Lake Michigan. Although, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin are not naturally connected, the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal connects Lake Michigan to the Illinois River.

    To learn more about the issues involving Asian Carp, click on Asian Carp page 2.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
  • Topic 10

    ASIAN CARP FORUM

    Respond to three of your classmates' views on the Asian Carp Forum.

    When completed, write an essay answering this question:

    What efforts should be made to preserve the Great Lakes for future generations? Why?

    Turn in Final Essay.

    Duration: 60 minutes.
    Thank you for taking the time to learn of the Great Lakes!