Native Species (Silver Chub):Name of Organism: The scientific name of this organism is called Macrhybopsis storeriana, commonly known as the Silver Chub. The silver chub is the only macrhybopsis species in Canada, as seen in its scientific name (Government of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 2014).Location of Organism: Within Ontario, Silver Chub populations are found in Lake Erie, the southern part of Lake Huron, and in Lake St Clair. This species of fish usually lives on softer rocks, such as silt or sand underwater. However, the Silver Chub has also been found on harder rocks, such as bedrock and gravel within the Great Lakes. This species of fish lives at a depth of 7 – 12 meters underwater in the waters of Lake Erie (Government of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 2014). The Silver Chub lives in a freshwater aquatic ecosystem, which the ecosystems of the Great Lakes are a part of. This species of fish could also be found in other regions of Canada and North America, such as in Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, and the Mississippi River in the United States, both are freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Description of Organism:The Silver Chub is a member of the Minnow Family. The Silver Chub’s physical characteristics include: growing up to 100 – 150 millimeters in length, has a pale grey and green skin colour with silver sides, their eye diameter is relatively large compared with other fishes in this ecosystem, and its caudal fin is forked and pigmented (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Statistical Services, 2016).Feeding Habits: The Silver Chub is an omnivore in the freshwater aquatic ecosystem in the Great Lakes. This means that this fish consumes both producers, such as plankton, and consumers, such as crustaceans and Zebra Mussels (Government of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 2014).Current Status of Species: The current status of the Silver Chub in Ontario is threatened. This means that this species is likely to become endangered if current conditions do not change in their habitats. Some threats to the Silver Chub includes: not having enough prey in the lake, changes to the habitats of the species due to human caused actions, such as pollution, and invasive species, mainly Asian Carps. These factors lead the populations of the Silver Chub in the Great Lakes to decrease in size and become threatened (Government of Canada, 2018). However, in other regions of Canada, where the Asian Carp is not as big of a threat, and human exploitation and actions have not been on the same levels as in the Great Lakes, which is one of the reasons why the populations of the Silver Chub have been able to remain stable in this area. Reasons for Current Status: The main reasons why the Silver Chub is listed as threatened in Ontario waters are because of the introduction of alien, invasive species, such as the Asian Carp, changes to the food chain, and changes to the amount of resources and food supply in this region. As the Bighead Carp, a type of Asian Carp invade the Great Lakes, this would cause an increase of competition for resources in this area. Therefore, the populations of the Silver Chub would start to decrease, and become a threatened species. Also, the amount of resources in this ecosystem could also be connected to humans, as agricultural runoff could cause the prey to die off, and slow their growth and reproduction (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Statistical Services, 2016). This would also decrease the populations of the Silver Chub, and cause a domino effect on the entire food web in Lake Erie. In other regions of Canada, such as in Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, the populations of the Silver Chubs has remained stable and is not considered a threatened species, because these threats that are impacting the populations of the Silver Chub in Lake Erie do not exist in Lake Winnipeg. Therefore, these threats in Lake Erie has a profound impact on the populations of the Silver Chub.What is Being Done: Currently, the Ontario government is doing nothing to protect the Silver Chub directly. This is because threatened species, such as the Silver Chub, do not get habitat or special protection from the government of Ontario. However, the provincial government protects endangered species, because there is a serious risk of those species to become extirpated from the ecosystem in Ontario, or become extinct. Instead, many other organizations and volunteers are trying to gather more data about the Silver Chub, and are attempting to negate the negative influences that impact the populations of the Silver Chub. Implications for the Future: If the Silver Chub would become extirpated, the freshwater aquatic ecosystem in Ontario would be affected drastically. This is because the Silver Chub is a primary consumer, and also a omnivore, which means that the fish eat smaller organisms and producers, such as plankton and crustaceans. This also means that larger fish rely on the Silver Chub for food and energy. If the Silver Chub were to become extirpated, the food web in this ecosystem would be greatly affected. If the Silver Chub disappeared, then the organisms at the bottom for the food chain would experience a population boom, and the organisms at the top of the food chain, which are the secondary and tertiary consumers, would decrease in population. This would throw this ecosystem out of balance, and make more room for invasive species, such as the Bighead Carp to thrive. Also, humans also would be affected dramatically if the Silver Chub were to become extirpated. This is because the Silver Chub is used as a bait for recreational and commercial fishing (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Statistical Services, 2016). If this species of fish were to disappear, these industries would suffer, as then people wouldn’t be able to catch as many prized fishes as before. Therefore, the loss of the Silver Chub would impact the sustainability of the ecosystem in Lake Erie, and of the fishing industries. Your Opinion: In my opinion, the Silver Chub would be endangered if no changes or actions are made to their ecosystem today. The main reasons why the populations of the Silver Chubs have been decreasing are mostly caused by human actions. For example, the introduction of the Asian Carp into the freshwater aquatic ecosystem in North America was caused by humans. The Asian Carp has now disrupted and invaded many areas of Canada and the United States. As the Asian Carp invades an ecosystem, they outcompete the local species for food. In this instance, the Bighead Carp is taking most of the resources in the Great Lakes, which would decrease the populations of the Silver Chub. The loss of the Silver Chub would also disrupt the recreational and commercial fishing industries in Ontario. This is because this species of fish is often used as a bait fish to catch larger, more prized fishes. As the populations of the Silver Chub decrease, and if invasive species such as the Asian Carp were to be established in the Great Lakes, this $7 billion dollar industry would suffer greatly (Boleyn-Fitzgerald, 2011). Therefore, we should take action, to protect the Silver Chub, due to the ecological and economical drawbacks.Invading Species (Asian Carp/Bighead Carp):Name of Organism: The scientific name of this species is called Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, commonly known as the Bighead Carp, a specific type of Asian Carp that is actively invading Canadian waters (Invasive Species Centre, 2016).Invading Location of Organism: The Bighead Carp is currently established in many locations in North America, such as in the Mississippi River, and the Illinois River in the United States. However, the species is making their way up to the Great Lakes, and have been spotted and caught in Lake Erie, Ontario (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2017). The Bighead Carp mostly invades the freshwater aquatic ecosystem, which is a fragile and important ecosystem to humans, and the biome and environment that it is located in. This ecosystem in North America have waters that are suitable to the Bighead, such as the cool and moderate water temperatures.Introduction of Invading Species: The Asian Carp has been introduced to North America from Asia by humans in the 1970s, on purpose. People imported the Asian Carp to control plankton and algae in their aquaculture ponds, in the United States and Canada (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2013). However, the Asian Carp escaped from these ponds and ended up in the wild, within the freshwater aquatic ecosystems of North America. This is due to flooding events, where the fish managed to swim away and go into the wild. After, the Asian Carp started to reproduce rapidly, and established a population in North America rapidly. These populations would start to migrate to other bodies of water, and take over the native ecosystems. One of the reasons why the Asian Carp thrived so quickly, was because there was no natural predators that would eat the Asian Carp. The Asian Carp could also be released into the wild by people who import the carp, either on purpose or by accident (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2017). Either way, these carps have now damaged the aquatic ecosystems in North America, and threatening many native species. Disturbance: The Asian Carp started outnumbering native species in the ecosystems where they were invading, because of the lack of predators in North America, and they are very quick to reproduce. At this rate, the Asian Carp would become the dominant species in many North American aquatic ecosystems (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2017). This is due to the fish’s ability to eat massive amounts of plankton, which most primary consumers in this ecosystem rely on. Therefore, the Asian Carp would disrupt the food web in the Great Lakes and in some rivers in the United States, and decrease the populations of native producers and consumers. In the Great Lakes and in the Mississippi River, the Asian Carp is found to impact many species of native fishes, such as the Silver Chub, by affecting their diet and living conditions. Thus, the Asian Carp would have a profound impact in Ontario’s aquatic ecosystems.What is Being Done: Under the Invasive Species Act in Ontario, it is illegal to import, possess, buy, sell, trade, and release the Bighead Carp alive (Government of Ontario, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, 2016). The Ontario government and the federal government is taking this invasive species very seriously, because of the large threat to our native ecosystems and organisms. Therefore, this fish is very regulated by the government, and all Bighead Carp must be dead, and sterile before entering Ontario. Border officers have intercepted many packages from overseas, containing the Bighead Carp, which were immediately destroyed, due to the threat of this fish to the ecosystem and the economy (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2017). To stop more Bighead Carp from entering the Great Lakes and Canadian waters from the rivers in the United States, electrical currents were installed underwater to repel the fish from entering this fragile ecosystem, and to stop the fish from migrating and spreading even further in the continent. Implications of the Future: In order for the freshwater aquatic ecosystem to be sustainable, the Bighead Carp must be extirpated from this ecosystem in North America. This is because fertile carps reproduce rapidly, in large numbers, at an unsustainable rate. This would increase competition between the Bighead Carp and the native species over space and resources. In the United States, the Bighead Carp has outcompeted native organisms, which had a disastrous effect on the local ecosystem (Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2017). This species also have disrupted the balance of the food web in the Mississippi River, which affects the populations of the consumers in this ecosystem. If the Bighead Carp successfully invades the Great Lakes, the native species, such as the Silver Chub, would become endangered, and their population sizes would shrink. This is due to the biotic relationship between the Bighead Carp and the native species, which is competition. The Bighead Carp and the native species also mostly share the same niches, and the same prey, which makes this competition into a battle for survival in the ecosystem. However, the Bighead Carp also impact human interests. This is because as the native species start to lose their populations, the recreational and commercial fishing industries would start to suffer, because the Bighead Carp is undesirable to these fishers, and in the fishing markets of North America. Also, the “prized” fishes would start to disappear, due to the Bighead Carp affecting so many parts of the local aquatic ecosystem. This would result in a disruption in this valuable industry, amounting up to $7 billion dollars annually (Boleyn-Fitzgerald, 2011). Therefore, the government and people must take action, in order to stop this invasive species from disrupting our local freshwater aquatic ecosystems.