Notice: this is a new page to replace the legacy Great Lakes Water Life gallery. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Rochelle Sturtevant at

Contributing to the Great Lakes Water Life Database

The Great Lakes Waterlife partnership welcomes review and contributions from Great Lakes scientists and managers to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on the species found in our waters. Currently, our priority needs are as follows:

  1. Taxonomic Revisions and Synonymy – We have made every effort to use the scientific names identified in key literature and by major world taxonomic databases; however, this is under constant revision. Experts aware of additional synonymies, mis-identified species , missing Great Lakes species, or significant changes to taxonomy should contact us with the reference for the needed revision. In general, revisions can be sent to

  2. Distribution Information – Our current goal is to accurately identify the native/introduced geographic range and domain of every species in the Great Lakes at a fairly coarse resolution. We use the terms native and introduced relative to the Great Lakes basin; thus introduced species are not native to any part of the Great Lakes, but may be native to other parts of North America. The term ‘range expander’ is used when species are native to part of the Great Lakes basin, but are found within portions of the Great Lakes outside their native range. Examples include species native to Lake Ontario that expanded into the upper lakes with the opening of the Welland Canal, species shifting northward due to climate change, etc. Initial creation of the database relied on key agency surveys and synthesis literature. Gaps can not currently be reliably interpreted as absence of a species. We welcome additional data with a strong preference for peer-reviewed publications and agency reports but will consider unpublished data if such fills key gaps and identifications were verified. In general, revisions can be sent to

  3. Photos – Our goal is to provide a single, high quality photo depicting key features for every species in the Great Lakes. Obviously, our photo collection is incomplete! Photos should be of individual specimens and must be identified to species by a qualified taxonomic expert. Strong preference for photos of specimens collected in the Great Lakes (rather than the same species collected elsewhere). Please provide a credit line that will accompany the photo. While we request users to always cite the provided credit, we cannot guarantee such and contributors should consider submissions to effectively be placed in the public domain. Photos should be of resolution 800x600 pixels or better, and sent to accompanied by the species name, credit and permission to use.

Additional feedback is always welcome!