Aquatic Ecosystem

An aquatic ecosystem is an exosystem 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.

  • Marine ecosystems are aquatic ecosystems whose waters possess a high salt content. Out of all of the types of ecosystems on the planet, marine ecosystems are the most prevalent. They teem with life, providing nearly half of the Earth’s oxygen and a home for a wide array of species.
    • The oceanic zone is the vast open part of the ocean where animals such as whales, sharks, and tuna live.
    • The benthic zone consists of substrates below water where many invertebrates live. The intertidal zone is the area between high and low tides; in this figure it is termed the littoral zone.
    • Abyssal Zone, hydrothermal vents may occur where chemosynthetic sulfur bacteria form the base of the food web.
    • Neritic zones can include estuaries, salt marshes, coral reefs, lagoons and mangrove swamps.

Sea Life

sea life, is the plants, animals and other organisms that live in the salt water of the sea or ocean, or the brackish water of coastal estuaries

  • Oceans: They are the biggest and the most varied of the ecosystem. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the algae. Here salt water evaporates and turns to rain which in turn falls on land Large amount of carbon dioxide is absorbed by the algae in the atmosphere. Inter – tidal zone is the zone which connect ocean to the land. Only few species exist in rocky coastal areas as very few tides reach there.
  • Other oceanic zones: Deep sea which is also called benthic zone is the host to slit, sand and slowly decomposing organisms. Sunlight does not reach these areas so these areas are very cold. There are only few plants here and animals include starfish, anemones, sponges, amongst others, as well as several micro-organisms. Abyssal zone is the deepest part of the ocean. Fishes such as oddities and many species of invertebrates are found here.
  • Coral Reefs: They are the marine ridges and mounds which are formed due to the decomposition of calcium carbonate of living organisms. Coral consist of animal and algae tissues. It is a living organism. Corals use tentacles to catch microorganisms like animals do and feed by the process o photosynthesis like plants. The coral reef is also host to other species such as starfish, octopi and other mollusks. Coral animals cannot live in water cooler than 65 degree F (18 degree C), therefore coral reefs are found mostly in warm, shallow, and tropical seas.
  • Estuaries: Transition area between river and sea is called estuary. They are highly productive and rich in nutrients. there are many different names of estuaries like bays, sounds, inlets, harbors, and sloughs.
  • Freshwater ecosystem: Freshwater ecosystems cover 0.78% of the Earth’s surface and inhabit 0.009% of its total water. They generate nearly 3% of its net primary production. Freshwater ecosystems contain 41% of the world’s known fish species.

There are two basic types of freshwater ecosystems:

  • Lotic: Faster moving water
  • Lentic: Slow moving water

Lentic Zone

  • Lake ecosystems: Lentic ecosystems are those whose water is still, and are made up of ponds, marshes, ditches, lakes and swamps. It can be divided into zones. The first, the littoral zone, is the shallow zone near the shore. The off shore areas may be called the pelagic zone, the photic zone may be called the limnetic zone and the aphotic zone may be called the profundal zone. These ecosystems range in size from very small ponds or pools that may be temporary, to large lakes.
  • Pond Ecosystem: Ponds are small bodies of fresh water with shallow and still water, marsh, and aquatic plants. They can be further divided into four zones: vegetation zone, open water, bottom mud and surface film. The size and depth of ponds often varies greatly with the time of year; many ponds are produced by spring flooding from rivers. Food webs are based both on free-floating algae and upon aquatic plants.

Lotic Zone

The major zones in river ecosystems are determined by the river bed’s gradient or by the velocity of the current. Faster moving turbulent water typically contains greater concentrations of dissolved oxygen, which supports greater biodiversity than the slow moving water of pools. These distinctions form the basis for the division of rivers into upland and lowland rivers.

Fresh Water Life

The name freshwater is due to the less salt content in them. They exist in various form such as lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps or wetland and are host to wide variety of plants and animals.

Lakes: Lakes are the water bodies which can exists for centuries other than others like ponds which dry up frequently. The littoral zone, which is close to the shore, is host to a extensive range of species due to its warm and shallow environment. Several species of invertebrates, crustaceans, plants and amphibians bloom in this environment and in turn offer food for predators such as birds, reptiles and other creatures inhabiting the shoreline.

Wetlands/Ramsar sites

It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971. Large variety of flora and fauna grows in other still water bodies or wetlands like swamps, glades and marshes. Trees such as Cypress which are highly adaptable to high humidity of this region also grow in wetland. Other plants such as pond lilies and sedges also grow here. Animals found here and different types of reptiles, mammals, amphibians and birds and hundreds of insects. Starting point of rivers and streams are mostly snow and ice melting and spring. At the end, they end up in ocean or in other water body. Flora and fauna are different here from the lakes and ponds as the water in continuously flowing. Depending upon water temperature and the exposure of riverbanks to the sunlight small fishes such as river trout and crayfish can be found in several areas. Salmon and other vigorous fishes can be found in cold areas wh8ile fishes like catfish, carp, and other bottom feeders can be found in warm areas which are rich in sediments and decaying matter. River plants comprise floaating weeds and algae, mostly found forming around rocks and submerged tree roots.

The area where freshwater meets saltwater, is called an estuary; this area generally features distinctive features, trees and algae, seaweed, wetland flora, and several species of invertebrates, birds, reptiles and crustaceans congregate into a composite ecosystem, serving as a trade center to the world’s aquatic biomes. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands.