What is an aquatic ecosystem?

What Does aquatic ecosystem Mean

We explain what aquatic ecosystems are and how they are classified (sea, or fresh water). Characteristics and examples.

Marine ecosystems are extremely varied and rich in fauna and flora.

What is an aquatic ecosystem?

An aquatic ecosystem is any ecosystem that develops in a body of water of varying size and nature , which includes seas , lakes, rivers, swamps, streams, lagoons and coasts. The nature of the water , its cycles, as well as the organic content present in it, both from natural and sedimentary sources (the soils ), play a vital role in them .

Aquatic ecosystems are broadly divided into maritime ecosystems (those belonging to the ocean and its coasts) and freshwater ecosystems (rivers, lakes, lagoons and streams), since according to the physical and chemical characteristics of each one, they will have a different fauna and flora , adapted to the vital conditions as best as possible.

The marine ecosystems are extremely varied and rich in fauna and flora, in a wide range from micro - organisms , mammals , marine, fish, mollusks, to large predators and plant forms static and mobile. Let us remember that this is where life on the planet comes from . These ecosystems adapt to the depth at which they are found, and we can roughly classify them into four areas:

  • Intertidal. The area where the sea connects with the mainland, whether on the surface or underground, is an area of much change and great movement and erosion .
  • Open sea. Also called the pelagic zone, it is the most densely populated region with the highest temperatures , which gradually decrease as one descends in height. It covers the oceanic surface and the first few hundred meters of depth.
  • Ocean bottom. Areas of greater coldness and less incidence of light , in which sand reigns and life becomes more fierce and silent. It is usually under hundreds of meters deep.
  • Abyssal or benthic zone. It is the deepest region of the ocean, located in trenches and crevices of the oceanic floor that lead to regions without sunlight , low presence of organic matter (although it has a constant rain of waste from the upper layers), gigantic water pressures and an adapted fauna. to these conditions, whose forms and survival mechanisms are usually striking or surprising.

The Freshwater Ecosystems , on the other hand, are divided according to the movement of water in three types:

  • Wetlands Land regions that are flooded for much of the year, and that can also face short periods of drought. They tend to promote the encounter of aquatic ecosystems with other terrestrial ones.
  • Lentic. Still or low-flow waters, such as lakes, ponds, and ponds. They contain more organic matter in suspension in the water.
  • Lotics. Running water systems such as rivers, streams, streams, etc. They present greater movement and greater coexistence of species, among fish, reptiles , amphibians , birds, etc.

It can serve you: Terrestrial ecosystem

Characteristics of an aquatic ecosystem

Aquatic flora is made up of algae, corals, and other photosynthetic forms.

Aquatic ecosystems are numerous and abundant in life, which is why they usually present complex trophic chains , of animals adapted to the specific conditions of the water: its salinity, its currents, etc. In the case of rivers, much of it will depend on the terrestrial elements dragged or dissolved by the current, as well as the presence or absence of mineral or organic matter in the soils that it runs through.

With the exception of amphibians and aquatic reptiles, many of which thrive in water but return to land to spawn (or vice versa), most of the animals in these ecosystems are adapted to permanent immersion in water , therefore that depend on its biotic balance.

The same happens with the flora, mostly composed of algae, corals and other photosynthetic forms that abound in the most superficial regions, where there is more sunlight. In the swamps, on the other hand, where the water is dark and full of organic remains, life adapts to the low concentration of oxygen.

Examples of aquatic ecosystem

Some examples of aquatic ecosystems are:

  • Mangroves. With dense and dark waters, with little movement, usually clay soils covered with decomposing organic matter, small fish and amphibian life forms predominate, as well as mangroves, trees whose characteristic roots stick out of the water.
  • Cost line. The coasts of the warm seas are particularly abundant in animal and plant life, and for this reason they are the most common fishing regions. Coral reefs, schools of fish and various food chains make up its blue waters.
  • Ponds Characterized by waters with very little movement and a high presence of organic matter from neighboring trees, they tend to host a huge variety of microscopic life, as well as small fish and insects.
  • Polar ocean The frozen waters of the poles, abundant in icebergs and frozen land, are also home to minimal flora (usually bacterial), and different animals adapted to intense cold, such as aquatic mammals, cold-water fish, etc.
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