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Types of Aquatic Ecosystems

Types of Aquatic ecosystems

Introduction to Types of Aquatic ecosystems

The word “Ecosystem” has a Greek origin that is oikos, meaning "home," and systema, or "system." The word “Ecosystem”  was  proposed by British ecologist A.G. Tansley  (1935) .Ecosystem is an biological community of an area, of interacting organisms and their physical and chemical environment. Earth’s surface can be described by a series of interconnected ecosystems. Ecosystem can be classified into 2 main categories:

  • Terrestrial ecosystems: where organisms and their environment interacts on landmasses.
  • Aquatic ecosystems: where plants, animals and their physical environment interact in water. 

 

Types of Aquatic Ecosystems

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I. Fresh water:

Very small proportion of earth’s area that is only 0.8 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by them. Primary production in a fresh-water ecosystem is controlled by light and nutrient availability. Fresh water can be defined as the water that contains a relatively small amount of dissolved chemical compounds.It includes :Standing Water- lakes & ponds and Moving Water- rivers & streams.

  • Standing Water- lakes & ponds: Standing water ecosystems are known as Lentic ecosystems such as lakes and ponds. The  organisms in lentic ecosystem includs algae, rooted and floating-leaved plants, invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps, crayfish, clams etc, amphibians such as frogs and salamanders; and reptiles like alligators and water snakes.
  • Moving Water- rivers & streams: flowing-water ecosystems are known as Lotic ecosystems with water flowing in uniform direction and in a unidirectional way. Examples are rivers and streams, which harbor several species of insects and fishes. Crustaceans like crayfish and crabs; and mollusks such as clams and limpets.

II. Transitional Communities:

  • Estuaries: Areas where freshwater dumps into ocean. So the water is neither truly fresh water, since it has salt content, but it is also not consider salt water because it has a lower level of salt than the ocean. Estuaries are always productive and has rich biodiversity. Organisms are well adapted to varying levels of salinity.
  • Wetlands- bogs/fens, swamps, marshes: Here the water is completely or partially shallow. Has a rich biodiversity because they receive plenty of sunlight which supports life. Plants include water lilies, mangrove, tamarack and sedges are commonly found in wetlands. Various species of reptiles and amphibians are also found in wetlands.

 

III.Marine Ecosystem:

About 71% of the earths surface is covered by marine ecosystem. Marine ecosystem involves: Shorelines, Coral Reefs, Open Ocean

  • Shorelines : are where oceans and seas meet land. Since its close to the sea its always prone to hurricanes and erosion.Habitat fo burrowing animals.
  • Coral Reefs:  Cover less than 1% of the oceans.Also known as “Rainforests of sea”. These  are clear warm shallow sea’s.Made up of as a result of accumulation of calcium carbonate deposited by marine organisms like corals and shellfish.
  • Open Ocean: Oceans have a great impact on the biosphere.Its the source of rainfall. ocean temperatures determine climate and wind patterns.

I. Fresh water:

Very small proportion of earth’s area that is only 0.8 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by them. Primary production in a fresh-water ecosystem is controlled by light and nutrient availability. Fresh water can be defined as the water that contains a relatively small amount of dissolved chemical compounds.It includes :Standing Water- lakes & ponds and Moving Water- rivers & streams.

  • Standing Water- lakes & ponds: Standing water ecosystems are known as Lentic ecosystems such as lakes and ponds. The  organisms in lentic ecosystem includs algae, rooted and floating-leaved plants, invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps, crayfish, clams etc, amphibians such as frogs and salamanders; and reptiles like alligators and water snakes.
  • Moving Water- rivers & streams: flowing-water ecosystems are known as Lotic ecosystems with water flowing in uniform direction and in a unidirectional way. Examples are rivers and streams, which harbor several species of insects and fishes. Crustaceans like crayfish and crabs; and mollusks such as clams and limpets.

II. Transitional Communities:

  • Estuaries: Areas where freshwater dumps into ocean. So the water is neither truly fresh water, since it has salt content, but it is also not consider salt water because it has a lower level of salt than the ocean. Estuaries are always productive and has rich biodiversity. Organisms are well adapted to varying levels of salinity.
  • Wetlands- bogs/fens, swamps, marshes: Here the water is completely or partially shallow. Has a rich biodiversity because they receive plenty of sunlight which supports life. Plants include water lilies, mangrove, tamarack and sedges are commonly found in wetlands. Various species of reptiles and amphibians are also found in wetlands.

 

III.Marine Ecosystem:

About 71% of the earths surface is covered by marine ecosystem. Marine ecosystem involves: Shorelines, Coral Reefs, Open Ocean

  • Shorelines : are where oceans and seas meet land. Since its close to the sea its always prone to hurricanes and erosion.Habitat fo burrowing animals.
  • Coral Reefs:  Cover less than 1% of the oceans.Also known as “Rainforests of sea”. These  are clear warm shallow sea’s.Made up of as a result of accumulation of calcium carbonate deposited by marine organisms like corals and shellfish.
  • Open Ocean: Oceans have a great impact on the biosphere.Its the source of rainfall. ocean temperatures determine climate and wind patterns.

Significance of Different Types of Aquatic Ecosystems

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The study of aquatic ecosystem helps to understand the biodiversity (flora and fauna)of the aquatic ecosystem and their interaction with the physical and chemical environment .Aquatic ecosystems are in danger mainly because of human activities like: Overfishing, Transportation, waste disposal , recreation and other activities which might harm the ecosystem.


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