The Great Lakes ecosystem contains various types of habitats: forests,
marshes, wetlands, and dune communities. These communities allow
for more than 3,500 species of plants and animals to inhabit the
basin. The many varieties of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds,
and fish make the Great Lakes basin a unique and complicated ecosystem.
The northern parts of the Great Lakes region are home to dense
coniferous and northern hardwood forests, while largely grasslands
and prairies cover the southern areas of the region. The marshes,
wetlands, and dune communities are located near and along the many
Some of the mammals native to the Great Lakes region include the
black bear, fox, moose, coyote, gray wolf, elk, white-tailed deer,
bobcat, beaver, otter, and canada lynx. Although these animals are
native, many are now endangered and are rarely seen in the region.
The amphibians and reptiles native to the region include many species
of frogs, turtles, and snakes, including the poisonous eastern Massasauga
Native birds of the region include the great blue heron, the bald
eagle, the piping plover, the herring gull, the whooping crane,
the snowy owl, and wood ducks.
The Great Lakes are home to a number of fish, some of which are
native and others of which have been introduced. Among those that
are native to the region are the brown bullhead, the bloater, brook
trout, the burbot, the deepwater sculpin, the emerald shiner, lake
sturgeon, lake trout, freshwater drum, lake whitefish, lake herring,
the longnose sucker, the ninespine stickleback, largemouth bass,
pumpkinseed, muskellunge, northern pike, rainbow smelt, rock bass,
slimy sculpin, smallmouth bass, walleye, white bass, yellow perch,
the white perch, and white sucker. Species that have been introduced
include: alewife, brown trout, carp, various pacific salmon species,
round goby, ruffe, and sea lamprey.