fresh water ecosystems

ecological role of wetlands

As mentioned above, wetlands are home to many different species of organisms. Although they make up only 5% of the area of the United States, wetlands contain more than 30% of the plant types. Many endangered species live in wetlands, so wetlands are protected from human use. Wetlands also play a key biological role by removing pollutants from water. For example, they can trap and use fertilizer that has washed off a farmers field, and therefore they prevent that fertilizer from contaminating another body of water. Since wetlands naturally purify water, preserving wetlands also helps to maintain clean supplies of water.



Marshes are shallow wetlands around lakes, streams, or the ocean where grasses and reeds are common, but trees are not (Figure 1.2). Frogs, turtles, muskrats, and many varieties of birds are at home in marshes. A salt marsh on Cape Cod in Mas- sachusetts.



A swamp is a wetland with lush trees and vines found in low-lying areas beside slow-moving rivers (Figure 1.3). Like marshes, they are frequently or always inundated with water. Since the water in a swamp moves slowly, oxygen in the water is often scarce. Swamp plants and animals must be adapted for these low-oxygen conditions. Like marshes, swamps can be fresh water, salt water, or a mixture of both.

freshwater ecosystems

Organisms that live in lakes, ponds, streams, springs or wetlands are part of freshwater ecosystems. These ecosys- tems vary by temperature, pressure (in lakes), the amount of light that penetrates and the type of vegetation that lives there.

lake ecosystems

Limnology is the study of bodies of fresh water and the organisms that live there. A lake has zones just like the ocean. The ecosystem of a lake is divided into three distinct zones (Figure 1.1): 1. The surface (littoral) zone is the sloped area closest to the edge of the water. 2. The open-water zone (also called the photic or limnetic zone) has abundant sunlight. 3. The deep-water zone (also called the aphotic or profundal zone) has little or no sunlight. There are several life zones found within a lake: In the littoral zone, sunlight promotes plant growth, which provides food and shelter to animals such as snails, insects, and fish. In the open-water zone, other plants and fish, such as bass and trout, live. The deep-water zone does not have photosynthesis since there is no sunlight. Most deep-water organisms are scavengers, such as crabs and catfish that feed on dead organisms that fall to the bottom of the lake. Fungi and bacteria aid in the decomposition in the deep zone. Though different creatures live in the oceans, ocean waters also have these same divisions based on sunlight with similar types of creatures that live in each of the zones. The three primary zones of a lake are the littoral, open-water, and deep-water zones.



Wetlands are lands that are wet for significant periods of time. They are common where water and land meet. Wetlands can be large flat areas or relatively small and steep areas. Wetlands are rich and unique ecosystems with many species that rely on both the land and the water for survival. Only specialized plants are able to grow in these conditions. Wetlands tend have a great deal of biological diversity. Wetland ecosystems can also be fragile systems that are sensitive to the amount and quality of water present within them. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:

instructional diagrams

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freshwater ecosystems include lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands.

-->  a) true

b) false

______ is the study of bodies of freshwater and the organisms that live there.

a) lakeology

b) oceanography

-->  c) limnology

d) biology

which of these organisms would you not find in the deep-water zone of a lake?

a) fungi

b) catfish

c) bacteria

-->  d) photosynthesizers

the sloped side of a lake where sunlight penetrates is the

a) aphotic zone

b) photic zone

-->  c) littoral zone

d) limnetic zone

wetlands are

a) worthless swamps.

-->  b) the only home for some specialized species.

c) lands that are at the edges of the ocean.

d) all of the above

marshes are distinctive because

a) they have lots of trees.

-->  b) grasses and reeds are common.

c) reptiles have high biodiversity.

d) all of the above.

swamps are distinctive because

-->  a) they can have freshwater, salt water or a mixture of both.

b) they are only infrequently inundated with water.

c) they have grasses and reeds, but few trees.

d) all of these.

wetlands make up more than 30% of the land in the u.s. but have only 5% of the plant types.

a) true

-->  b) false

wetlands never contain more than a few trees.

a) true

-->  b) false

wetlands have important roles in the ecology of an area. for example, they

a) trap and use fertilizer so that it doesnt contaminate another water body.

b) naturally purify water.

c) are home to many endangered species.

-->  d) all of the above.

diagram questions

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