Definitions

Aquatic Ecosystem types food chain Importance and Threats

Aquatic Ecosystem

Aquatic ecosystem encompasses water environments. They include anything from a small body of water to the oceans.

Just as it occurs in terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems also present different types of ecological relationships and interaction between biotic and abiotic factors.

Types of Aquatic Ecosystem

Aquatic ecosystem classified according to the characteristics of: temperature, salinity, water movement, depth and incidence of solar rays.

Learn about the two main types of aquatic ecosystems:

marine ecosystem

Marine ecosystems include the seas and oceans, which cover approximately 71% of the earth’s surface.

They can be classified according to water depth as follows:

  • Coastal zone : region between tidal limits, periodically exposed.
  • Neritic zone : region of the sea over the continental shelf that extends to a depth of 200 m and is illuminated by sunlight.
  • Oceanic zone : region between 200 and 2000 m deep, there is no sunlight and animals become scarcer.
  • Benthic zone : corresponds to the bottom of the sea inhabited by some species.

The seas and oceans are also classified according to the zones that receive or not the sun’s rays:

  • Photic zone : region that receives enough sunlight for photosynthesis of aquatic producing beings.
  • Aphotic zone : region without incidence of solar rays and inhabited only by heterotrophic beings.

fresh water ecosystem

Freshwater ecosystems include streams, lakes, ponds, glaciers, underground reservoirs and rivers.

They are to be classified into the following zones:

  • Wetland or flooded areas : areas of soil saturated with water and which are home to characteristic vegetation. Examples are marshes and swamps. When associated with the marine environment we have mangroves .
  • Lentic zone : areas of water with little flow or stagnation, such as lakes, ponds, puddles and underground reservoirs.
  • Lotic zone : area with running fresh water such as rivers, streams and streams.

There are also estuaries found at the mouths of rivers and which join the seas. They have as their main feature the mixture of fresh and salt water.

Because they receive nutrients from the river and the sea, estuaries are highly productive aquatic ecosystems.

aquatic food chain

The food chain corresponds to the path of matter and energy that begins with producing beings and ends with decomposers.

Phytoplankton is an important primary producer of aquatic ecosystems, representing the base of the food chain and serving as food for other organisms .

Importance and Threats of Aquatic Ecosystem

Ecosystems represent the basic unit of the study of Ecology. Furthermore, it is here that all ecological relationships between species and their interaction with environmental factors are developed.

However, human activities drastically modify aquatic ecosystems. One example is eutrophication , a process that adds organic matter to aquatic environments as a result of sewage or industrial waste runoff.

This condition alters the functioning of the food chain, causing an imbalance in the ecosystem and contaminating the water.

Water pollution is another factor that can lead to the destruction of aquatic ecosystems and the disappearance of species.

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