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Freshwater

ecosystems
Aquatic ecosystems

salinity = salt content of the water


Measured in parts per thousand (ppt)
1 gm of salt in 1000 gms water = 1 ppt
FRESH usually < 0.5 ppt
OCEANS average 37 ppt
0.6 to 36 ppt is called BRACKISH
Kinds of freshwater
habitats
Rivers, streams
Flowing freshwater
Source: where it starts
Mouth: where it ends
Lakes, ponds

Wetlands
All freshwater ecosystems

Just a fraction of the Earths water


Occupy less than 1 percent of the Earths surface
Rivers and streams

www.noaa.gov/str-plan/images/river.gif
Rivers from start to finish

Source =
Headwaters Mouth: where the river
Can be: ends
Snowmelt Usually the ocean or
another river, or lake
Spring
Even a lake River widens and
slows.
Water is colder,
clearer, more
highly oxygenated
Organisms include
trout, mayflies
What are some of the
differences?

Trout stream, NW NJ Mississippi R. Greenville, MS


Mouth

Mississippi River
delta
Lakes and ponds

Whats the difference?


Ponds typically smaller
May be seasonalthat is, dry up part of the year
Lakes exist hundreds or thousands of years
But, even lakes can fill in or dry up
Photos taken from Google Images
Parts of a lake
Parts of a lake

Littoral zone: near shore


Nutrient rich, lots of plant and animal life
Warm
Limnetic zone: near surface, open water
Lots of light
Lots of plankton
Profundal zone: deeper, little light
Benthic zone: the bottom, little light, low
oxygen
Photos taken from Google Images
Eutrophication

If nutrients increase too


much in a lake, pond,
or ocean, excessive
plant growth results
Phosphorus
Nitrogen
NOT GOOD: why?
As plants decay,
decomposing
bacteria use oxygen
dissolved in the lake to
do their jobs.
Dissolved oxygen goes
down
Primary producers

Linkage to biogeochemical changes

Good biological indicators of lake


trophic status for water quality
monitoring.

Photos taken from Google Images


Wetlands
Wetlands: what are they?

For regulatory purposes under the Clean Water


Act, the term wetlands means "those areas that
are inundated or saturated by surface or ground
water at a frequency and duration sufficient to
support, and that under normal circumstances do
support, a prevalence of vegetation typically
adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.
Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes,
bogs and similar areas."
Wetlands

May be fresh or brackish


Freshwater types include:
Marsh
Swamp
Bog
Fen
Marsh

Most common
freshwater wetland in
U.S.
Occur along streams
or in depressions
Characterized by
organic, wet soils and
non-woody (i.e., no
trees) vegetation.
Swamp

Wetland dominated
by woody plants
What good are wetlands?

Reduce flooding by acting like sponges


What good are wetlands?

Help clean water by acting like a filter


The plants and slow water flow in a wetland help
remove pollutants, leaving water cleaner
downstream in a lake or river.
Too much pollution can leave a wetland toxic to
visiting animals, such as many birds.
What good are wetlands?

Protect
shorelines
from erosion
Erosion in
this case
came from
grazing
animals