Lake Superior - Ecology

Ecology

Over 80 species of fish have been found in Lake Superior. Species native to the lake include: bloater, brook trout, burbot, cisco, lake sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, longnose sucker, muskellunge, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, round whitefish, smallmouth bass, walleye, white sucker and yellow perch. In addition, many fish species have been either intentionally or accidentally introduced to Lake Superior: atlantic salmon, brown trout, carp, chinook salmon, coho salmon, freshwater drum, pink salmon, rainbow smelt, rainbow trout, round goby, ruffe, sea lamprey and white perch.

Lake Superior has fewer dissolved nutrients relative to its water volume compared to the other Great Lakes and so is less productive in terms of fish populations and is an oligotrophic lake. This is a result of the underdeveloped soils found in its relatively small watershed. However, nitrate concentrations in the lake have been continuously rising for more than a century. They are still much lower than levels considered dangerous to human health; but this steady, long-term rise is an unusual record of environmental nitrogen buildup. It may relate to anthropogenic alternations to the regional Nitrogen Cycle, but researchers are still unsure of the causes of this change to the lake's ecology.

As for other Great Lakes fish populations have also been impacted by the accidental or intentional introduction of foreign species such as the sea lamprey and Eurasian ruffe. Accidental introductions have occurred in part by the removal of natural barriers to navigation between the Great Lakes. Overfishing has also been a factor in the decline of fish populations.

Read more about this topic:  Lake Superior

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