Aquatic Ecosystem

Topics: Water, Aquatic ecosystem, Aquatic ecology Pages: 30 (9179 words) Published: September 5, 2010
Aquatic ecosystem

An estuary mouth and coastal waters, part of an aquatic ecosystem. An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem located in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

What is an aquatic ecosystem?

Aquatic systems are those that contain plants and animals that predominantly depend on a significant amount of water to be present for at least part of the year. But a perfect definition is tough to make. How many weeks a year does an area need to show standing water in order to be a pond? How about a bird bath or dog water dish, as both can breed aquatic insects if left undisturbed for a few days? For our purposes, we have a number of aquatic systems that hold water all year (in most cases) and are impacted to different degrees by activities on the surrounding landscape.

What are a few components of an aquatic ecosystem?

pond layers - Like in a forest, the top, middle, and bottom of a pond can be vastly different from each other, and even the layers in between. Under different temperature or light conditions the water in a pond can vary greatly in oxygen, clarity, and other factors that effect were plants and animals might live. The air above the pond and the land below the pond are important as well, as those provide space for animals to live, plants to root, and predators and prey to interact. diversity - while many people think of a pond as just a small lake with frogs and fish, there are thousands of differents species of plants and animals living together in a natural pond. The more diverse a pond is (more species that it has) the stronger and healthier it is. micro-organisms - some of the most imortant plants and animals in a pond are so small they are difficult to see without a microscope. They are called "micro-organisms" (micro=small, organism=life form) and while a few may cause disease, almost all are very beneficial and important to a pond ecosystem. While bigger animals may fly, walk, or swim away to other ponds, micro-organisms are always present in large numbers. macro-organisms - larger plants and animals that are easy to see on a pond are called "macro-organisms (macro=large). They are the plants and animals that we often notice first, and can more easily spread from pond to pond.



Marine ecosystems cover approximately 71% of the Earth's surface and contain approximately 97% of the planet's water. They generate 32% of the world's net primary production. They are distinguished from freshwater ecosystems by the presence of dissolved compounds, especially salts, in the water. Approximately 85% of the dissolved materials in seawater are sodium and chlorine. Seawater has an average salinity of 35 parts per thousand (ppt) of water. Actual salinity varies among different marine ecosystems. Marine ecosystems can be divided into the following zones: oceanic (the relatively shallow part of the ocean that lies over the continental shelf); profundal (bottom or deep water); benthic (bottom substrates); intertidal (the area between high and low tides); estuaries; salt marshes; coral reefs; and hydrothermal vents (where chemosynthetic sulfur bacteria form the food base). Classes of organisms found in marine ecosystems include brown algae, dinoflagellates, corals, cephalopods, echinoderms, and sharks. Fish caught in marine ecosystems are the biggest source of commercial foods obtained from wild populations. Environmental problems concerning marine ecosystems include unsustainable exploitation of marine resources (for example overfishing of certain species), marine pollution, climate change, and building on coastal areas.


Freshwater ecosystems cover 0.8% of the Earth's surface and contain 0.009% of its total water. They generate nearly 3% of its net primary production. Freshwater ecosystems...
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