The Everglades

Topics: Everglades, Florida, Ecosystem Pages: 4 (1191 words) Published: June 18, 2013
The Everglades ecosystems contain a diverse environment that stretches from the middle of the Florida peninsula to Florida Bay. The Everglades consists of endless marshes, towering palms, alligator holes, dense mangroves, and tropical fauna. Fire, water quality, and geology are just a few of the natural factors that help shape the development of the Everglades, with frequent flooding in the wet season and droughts in the dry season (Everglades, 2013). Although many natural occurrences take place in this ecosystem, humans have a strong influence on some of the negative contributions that is disturbing the natural process and undermining the integrity of the ecosystem.

There is a diverse array of organisms located in the Everglades which consists of plants, periphyton algae, animals, fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. These organisms have specific structures and functions that enable them to be suited for the environment that they live in. They also have special importance to the overall health and integrity of an ecosystem. Take for example the American alligator which can reach 15 feet in length and with their forward eyes and along with its ears and nostrils lie in the same plane on the snout which allows for them to be completely submerged underwater while leaving these organs out (Trubey, 2000). The tail of the alligator plays an important factor not only in self-defense but it is used to dig burrows in the mud for nesting and to keep warm. When that alligator leaves the burrow the hole left behind fills with freshwater and can be used by other species for breeding and drinking water (American Alligator, 2013). The removal of the alligators from this particular ecosystem would affect countless species and be detrimental to their ecosystem. An additional key organism pertinent to the Everglades is periphyton algae, which consists of cyanobacteria, heterotrophic microbes, and detritus. Periphyton is attached to submerged surfaces and is...

References: American Alligator (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nwf.org/wildlife/wildlife-library/amphibians-reptiles-and-fish/american-alligator.aspx
Brown, P., Wright, A.(2009). The Role of Periphyton in the Everglades. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss522
Florida Everglades. (1997-2004 ). Retrieved from http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/everglades/FEeverglades3a.html
Reid, A. (2013). Florida Everglades Restoration Stalled By Water Quality and Costly Cleanup. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/florida-everglades-restoration_n_2751063.html.
Simon, E. J., Reece, J. B., Dickey, J. L. (2010). Essential biology with physiology. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson/Benjamin Cummings.
Trubey, C. (2000). American Alligator. Retrieved from http://www.biol.andrews.edu/everglades/organisms/vertebrates/reptiles/american_alligator/gator1/ColorGator.html
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