The Great Lakes give us important benefits, such as providing water and food for human use, pollination and water purification to support ecosystems, and recreational opportunities and aesthetic benefits for humans to enjoy. Together, scientists call these ecosystem services. We are mapping the locations of some of these services. We want to study cumulative stress at these locations, because places with high cumulative stress may not keep providing us the benefits that we currently enjoy.
We use the locations of beaches, marinas and important bird-watching sites to represent high-value recreational activities. To address provisioning services, we quantify the spatial distribution and magnitude of commercial harvests, and home ports for charter fishing vessels. We also assess spawning locations for two important species in recreational and commercial fisheries: lake trout and yellow perch.