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Estuaries: where the ocean meets fresh water

Estuaries are biomes that occur where a source of fresh water, such as a river, meets the ocean. Therefore, both fresh water and salt water are found in the same vicinity; mixing results in a diluted (brackish) saltwater. Estuaries form protected areas where many of the young offspring of crustaceans, mollusks, and fish begin their lives. Salinity is a very important factor that influences the organisms and the adaptations of the organisms found in estuaries. The salinity of estuaries varies and is based on the rate of flow of its freshwater sources. Once or twice a day, high tides bring salt water into the estuary. Low tides occurring at the same frequency reverse the current of salt water.

The short-term and rapid variation in salinity due to the mixing of fresh water and salt water is a difficult physiological challenge for the plants and animals that inhabit estuaries. Many estuarine plant species are halophytes: plants that can tolerate salty conditions. Halophytic plants are adapted to deal with the salinity resulting from saltwater on their roots or from sea spray. In some halophytes, filters in the roots remove the salt from the water that the plant absorbs. Other plants are able to pump oxygen into their roots. Animals, such as mussels and clams (phylum Mollusca), have developed behavioral adaptations that expend a lot of energy to function in this rapidly changing environment. When these animals are exposed to low salinity, they stop feeding, close their shells, and switch from aerobic respiration (in which they use gills) to anaerobic respiration (a process that does not require oxygen). When high tide returns to the estuary, the salinity and oxygen content of the water increases, and these animals open their shells, begin feeding, and return to aerobic respiration.

Freshwater biomes

Freshwater biomes include lakes and ponds (standing water) as well as rivers and streams (flowing water). They also include wetlands, which will be discussed later. Humans rely on freshwater biomes to provide aquatic resources for drinking water, crop irrigation, sanitation, and industry. These various roles and human benefits are referred to as ecosystem services    . Lakes and ponds are found in terrestrial landscapes and are, therefore, connected with abiotic and biotic factors influencing these terrestrial biomes.

Lakes and ponds

Lakes and ponds can range in area from a few square meters to thousands of square kilometers. Temperature is an important abiotic factor affecting living things found in lakes and ponds. In the summer, thermal stratification of lakes and ponds occurs when the upper layer of water is warmed by the sun and does not mix with deeper, cooler water. Light can penetrate within the photic zone of the lake or pond. Phytoplankton (algae and cyanobacteria) are found here and carry out photosynthesis, providing the base of the food web of lakes and ponds. Zooplankton, such as rotifers and small crustaceans, consume these phytoplankton. At the bottom of lakes and ponds, bacteria in the aphotic zone break down dead organisms that sink to the bottom.

Questions & Answers

what is biology
Sierrah Reply
viruses are composed of what
Daniel Reply
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Daniel
what are some disease caused by virus
Daniel
what are some disease caused by virus
Daniel
what is the use of biology
Tarkaa Reply
To widen our reasoning abilities about the past and the present events in biology and life at large
Musoke
To understand our biography
Musoke
Among all these which one is the major difference between platyhelminthes and coelenterates? 1. are multicellular 2. have developed a mesoderm 3. reproduce sexually 4. reproduce asexually
Habeeb Reply
what is evolution?
Emmanuelfray Reply
how can you define biology in terms of a burning fire in the bush?
Emmanuelfray
what is a cell
Kagelelo Reply
cell is a functional and unit of life
Sarita
describe the process of testing the presence of starch in a leaf
Estel Reply
give me somes of examples.
Manu Reply
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Ante
example of what
Elizabeth
what are chromosomes?
Ante
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Darkoa
Biology is the study of animals and plants on their characters and death
Okol
No biology is the study of life (living thing's)
Achibiri
Chromosomes refers to one of the small parts like threads in the NUCLEI (central part )of plants and animals cell that carry the GENES
Estel
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Estel
Ecology is the study of
Abdul Reply
Ecology is the study of the interaction of organism in each other and their environment.
Ante
Ecology is the study of the interaction of organism in each other and their environment
Everlove
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Great
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Ante
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Ante
a geographical area with dinstic species
Francis
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Ante
my pleasure
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characteristics of living things
Jane Reply
excretion, movement, sensitivity, reproduction,growth, respiration,nutrition
Estel
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Ante
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Ante
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Ante
sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction
Abdul
what are their function
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Hi
Olufunmilokun
What is light independent reaction
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correct word or phrase. ______A____ uses carbon dioxide and _____B______ to make sugar during______C______. _____D______ traps light energy during this process. *
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A_plant ,B_water,C_photosynthesis,D_chlorophyll
Abdul
Plant,sunlight,photosynthesis
Olufunmilokun
by which of the following feature c3 and c4 plant similar A .enzyme used to fix carbon dioxide B.cell where calvin cycle takes place C.cell where carbon dioxide fixation takes place
Kaleab Reply
correct word or phrase. ______A____ uses carbon dioxide and _____B______ to make sugar during______C______. _____D______ traps light energy during this process. *
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what is biology ?
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study of organisms
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is the study of living organisms
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what is link
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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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