Aquatic Ecosystem

Oct 19, 2022, 16:45 IST

Habitat is a part of an ecosystem. The plants, animals and climate are the identities of a habitat. Ecosystems primarily have two domains:

  1. Terrestrial or Land ecosystem
  2. Aquatic or Water ecosystem

Water supports many lives. Organisms that survive in water are called aquatic organisms. Their food, shelter, reproduction, and all other life activities are on the water. An aquatic ecosystem includes a group of interacting organisms that depend on each other and their water environment for nutrients and shelter. Examples of aquatic ecosystems include oceans, lakes, and rivers.

The aquatic ecosystem includes freshwater habitats such as lakes, ponds, rivers, oceans and streams, wetlands, swamps, etc., and marine habitats include oceans, intertidal zone, reefs, seabed, and so on. An aquatic ecosystem is a habitat for living species dependent on water, including animals, plants, and microbes.

Types of Aquatic Ecosystem

Biology Articles Aquatic Ecosystem

Different types of aquatic ecosystems are as follows:

Freshwater Aquatic Ecosystem

They cover only a small part of the country, almost 0.8 percent. Fresh water includes lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, wetlands, swamps, marshes, and temporary pools. Freshwater habitats are divided into lotic and lentic. Water bodies such as lakes, ponds, ponds, swamps, and other reservoirs are backwaters known as lentic habitats. While lotic habitats represent flowing water bodies such as rivers and streams.

  • Lotic ecosystems

They mainly concern fast-flowing waters that move in one direction, including rivers and streams. These habitats harbor numerous species of insects, such as beetles, mayflies, loons, and several species of fish, including trout, eels, minnows, etc. Apart from these aquatic species, these ecosystems also host various mammals such as beavers, river dolphins, and otters.

  • Lentic ecosystems

They include all standing water habitats. Lakes and ponds are prime examples of a lentic ecosystem. The word lentic refers primarily to stationary or relatively stagnant water. These ecosystems are home to crabs, algae, shrimps, amphibians such as frogs and salamanders, plants with both roots and floating leaves, as well as reptiles, including alligators and other water snakes.

  • Wetlands

Wetlands are marshy and sometimes covered with water with a wide variety of plants and animals. Swamps, marshes, bogs, black spruce, and water lilies are plant species found in wetlands. The animal life of this ecosystem consists of dragonflies and damselflies, birds such as the green heron, and fish such as northern pike.

Marine Aquatic Ecosystem

The marine ecosystem covers the largest area of ​​the Earth. Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by the water and consists of oceans, seas, intertidal zones, reefs, seabeds, hydrothermal vents, rock pools and estuaries. Each life form is unique and also native to its environment because they have adaptations according to their habitat. In case of the aquatic animals, they cannot survive outside of water.

There are still exceptional cases that show another example of adaptation (eg. The marine ecosystem is concentrated with salts, making life difficult for freshwater organisms. Marine animals also cannot survive in freshwater. Their body is adapted to live in salt water; if they are placed in less salty water, their body swells (osmosis).

  • Ocean ecosystems

Our planet Earth is blessed with five major oceans: the Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Atlantic. The Atlantic and Pacific are the largest and deepest oceans of all these five oceans. These oceans serve as a home for more than five thousand aquatic species. Several creatures of these ecosystems include molluscs, sharks, tubercles, small and large marine fish, turtles, crustaceans, blue whales, reptiles, marine mammals, seabirds, plankton, corals, and other marine plants.

  • Coastal Systems

They are open systems of land and water that are linked together to form coastal ecosystems. Coastal ecosystems have different structures and diversity. A wide variety of aquatic plants and algae species are found at the bottom of the coastal ecosystem. The fauna is diverse and mainly consists of crabs, fish, insects, lobsters, snails, shrimps, etc.

Plants and animals in an aquatic ecosystem exhibit various adaptations, including life cycle, physiological, structural, and behavioral adaptations. Most aquatic animals are aerodynamic, which helps them reduce friction and thus conserve energy. Fins and gills are locomotor and respiratory organs. The unique properties of freshwater organisms help them drain excess water from the body. Aquatic plants have different types of roots that help them survive in water. Some may have submerged roots, emergent roots, or floating plants like water hyacinths.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Q1. What are the factors affecting aquatic ecosystem?

Ans. Factors that affect aquatic ecosystems include salinity, water flow rate, acidity, oxygen, light levels, depth, and temperature. Light levels affect photosynthesizing plants and predation.

Q2. Which aquatic ecosystem is the deepest?

Ans. The ocean ecosystem is divided into 4 distinct zones. The deepest zone of this marine ecosystem, the abyssal zone, has cold, highly-pressurized water with high oxygen but low nutrient levels. Ridges and vents on the ocean floor that emit hydrogen sulfide and minerals are found in this zone.

Q3. Do aquatic ecosystems need sunlight?

Ans. Yes, it allows the diversity of life seen in this ecosystem.

Q4. What are three limiting factors in an aquatic ecosystem?

Ans. The three limiting factors in an aquatic environment are temperature, sunlight, Oxygen content, nutrient availability and salinity.

Q5. Why do we need to preserve aquatic ecosystem?

Ans. They clean and store the water that's crucial for people and wildlife. Healthy freshwater environments supply water for drinking, growing crops, manufacturing, energy and transport. They also help to prevent erosion, dispose of waste and provide natural protection from flooding.

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