Great Lakes Fact Sheet #8: Biodiversity

File Size3.01 MB
PublishedMarch 9, 2013

Ecosystem Services, Habitat Loss and Species at Risk
Why is biodiversity so important to the Great Lakes?

Variations in lake depth, climate and geology in the Great Lakes region help sustain a rich array of ecosystems and over 3,500 plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. The lakes themselves are divided into different zones, each catering to different species, based on habitat conditions such as light, water temperature and oxygen levels. Lake trout, for example, prefer to live in deep areas of the lakes where the water is cooler and there is less light, while the shoreline areas support other forms of life, such as birds, mammals and amphibians. The lakes, rivers and streams that flow into the Great Lakes also support immensely diverse ecosystems, further enriching biodiversity in the region.