Waste treatment and dilution
Reduced storm impact (mangrove, barrier islands, coastal wetlands)
Habitats and nursery areas for marine and terrestrial species
Genetic resources and biodiversity
Animal and pet feed (fish meal)
Harbors and transportation routes
Coastal habitats for humans
Offshore oil and natural gas
Types of Marine Ecosystems
An area in which fresh water from a river mixes with salt water from the ocean; a transition area from the land to the ocean. Other names: bay, sound, lagoon, harbor, or bayou.
Characteristics of Estuaries
Water is brackish : a mixture of freshwater and saltwater
There is a gradual increase in salinity as you go from the river (0-5ppt) to the middle of the estuary (5-25ppt), to the ocean (>25 ppt).
(ppt = parts per thousand, a unit for salinity)
Pollutants are absorbed in estuaries.
Very nutrient rich ecosystems leads to high productivity and high biodiversity.
Fast-moving rivers and waves carry nutrient-rich particles.
Sediment settles out in the estuary when the water slows down.
Nutrients accumulates on the bottom (benthic zone).
Great place for plants to grow!
Important functions of estuaries: for living