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Aquatic Ecosystems (Ponds, Streams, Lakes, Rivers, Oceans, Estuaries)

There are many lives that depend on water. Water-dwelling organisms are referred to as aquatic organisms.

Aquatic Ecosystems

There are many lives that depend on water. Water-dwelling organisms are referred to as aquatic organisms. Water is required to sustain all life activities, including food, shelter, reproduction, and reproduction. Aquatic ecosystems are composed of groups of interacting organisms that are interdependent on one another and their aquatic environment for food and shelter. Aquatic ecosystems are found in water bodies like rivers, lakes, and oceans. In a freshwater ecosystem, you would have lakes, ponds, rivers, oceans, streams, wetlands, swamps, etc. A marine ecosystem would consist of oceans, intertidal zones, reefs, and seabed. The aquatic ecosystem is home to many different species of animals, plants, and microbes.


Freshwater Ecosystem

They cover almost 0.8 percent of the earth's surface. Wetlands, swamps, bogs, rivers, streams and ponds are among the resources of freshwater. Habitat types classified as lotic and lentic include freshwater habitats. A standing water body, such as a lake, pond, pool, bog, or other reservoir, is called a lentic habitat. Streams and rivers are examples of lotic habitats.

Lentic Ecosystems

All habitats with standing water are included. An example of Lentic Ecosystem is lakes and ponds. Lenticular water generally refers to stationary or still water. A variety of plants and animals live in these ecosystems including algae, crabs, shrimps, frogs, salamanders, and alligators, as well as reptiles such as water snakes and alligators.

Lotic ecosystems

Rivers and streams are mainly considered to be flows that move unidirectionally. There are numerous species of insects in these environments such as beetles, mayflies, stoneflies, and several types of fish such as trout, eels, minnows, etc. These ecosystems include a wide range of non-aquatic species, including beavers, river dolphins, and otters.


There are many plant and animal species that live in wetland areas, as they are marshes that sometimes contain water. There are several types of plant species in wetlands, including swamps, marshes, bogs, black spruce trees, and water lilies. These ecosystems are home to dragonflies and damselflies, as well as birds like the Green Heron, and fish like the Northern Pike.

Marine Water Ecosystem

Marine ecosystems cover a large area of the earth's surface. About two-thirds of the planet's surface is covered by water, which includes oceans, seas, reefs, seabed, estuaries, thermal vents, and rock pools. There is a native life form for every habitat. Because of this, they have adapted to the conditions of their environment. Water is crucial to the survival of animals that live in it.Mudskippers, for example, are an example of an adaptation that is still present today. Freshwater organisms find it difficult to survive in the marine ecosystem because it is dominated by salts. Freshwater animals are not able to live in marine environments. Since their bodies are adapted to living in salt water, they swell through osmosis.

Coastal Ecosystem

Coastal ecosystems are open water and land systems that are intertwined. This ecosystem has a different structure and diversity than that of the interior ecosystems. A variety of aquatic plants and algae occupy the bottom of the coastal ecosystem. There are crabs, fish, insects, lobsters, snails, shrimp, and other creatures of the sea that inhabit the area.

Ocean Ecosystem

Among the five oceans on earth, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans, the major ones are said to be the Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. Despite their size and depth, the Pacific and the Atlantic are thought to be the biggest and deepest of the five oceans. These oceans are believed to contain more than five lakh species of aquatic life. There are many creatures found in these ecosystems, including shellfish, corals, sharks, tube worms, small and large oceanic fish, turtles, crustaceans, seabirds, reptiles, crabs, marine mammals, plankton, and other plants.

Plants and animals found in aquatic ecosystems exhibit a wide range of adaptations including life cycle adaptations, physiological adaptations, structural adaptations, and behavioral adaptations. Water animals are generally streamlined, which reduces friction and therefore saves energy. Locomotion is controlled by the fins, and respiration is controlled by the gills. They are able to drain excess water from their bodies because of special features in freshwater organisms. There are different kinds of roots that aquatic plants have, enabling them to survive. The roots of some plants may be submerged, while others might be emerging roots or floating plants like water hyacinths.

Ponds and Lakes

Ponds and lakes have a biotic (living) ecosystem that includes plants, animals and microorganisms, along with abiotic (nonliving) biochemical interactions. An example of a lentic ecosystem is the pond and lake ecosystem. In nautical terms, lentic denotes a stationary or mostly still body of water, derived from the Latin lentus, meaning sluggish. Lakes often possess distinct zones of biogenetic communities because of their physical structure. The littoral zone is home to aquatic plants (macrophytes), which are plants that require ample sunlight to survive. The depth of this layer is normally defined by light levels of less than 1% of the surface. Euphotic zone definition: the level at which the light in the lake drops below 1% of visible light, below which photosynthetic organisms cannot grow. An epilimnion is the region of the lake where the euphotic zone is typically found.

However, in unusually transparent lakes, photosynthesis may take place beyond the thermocline into the perennially cold hypolimnion. Summertime algal growth may extend as deep as 25 meters during summer in the epilimnion of western Lake Superior near the city of Duluth, MN. The water of ultra-oligotrophic Lake Tahoe, CA/NV, is so transparent that algae can grow more than 100 meters into its bottom, with its mixed layer thickening to approximately 10 meters during the summer months. Lake Tahoe has unfortunately suffered from insufficient management since about 1960, which has led to algal growth in the basin, as well as sediment input from stream erosion and lake shoreline erosion. As well as providing food and habitat for algae and invertebrates, the plants in the littoral zone also provide a variety of habitats for fish and other organisms, which are extremely diverse from those in the open ocean.

Limnetic zones are areas where light can penetrate but doesn't usually reach the bottom of open water. There is a surface layer of organisms in the benthic zone, the sediment below the surface. A benthic organism can mix sediments to a depth of 2- 5 cm (several inches) in the upper layer of sediment, typically to a depth of 2-5 cm. The benthic zone in general is dominated by invertebrates, such as moth larvae, mosquitoes, black flies, and crustaceans. Sediment organic content, sediment structure, and in some cases fish predation all play an important role in the productivity of this zone. Its organic matter (food) is relatively low, and it is unprotected from predators. Because sand is unstable and deficient in nutrients, higher plant growth is not common in sandy sediment. Animals live in a variety of habitats in and around rocky bottoms, including shelters for predators (refuges), algae growth on rocks (periphyton), and organic matter pockets (food). The surface of a flat mucky bottom offers abundant food, but it offers less protection and fewer habitats for benthic organisms if it is not colonized by higher plants.


Ecology is the study of how living organisms relate to their environment - the ecosphere - and to each other. An ecosystem consists of the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that occur between plants, animals, and microorganisms in a specific natural environment. The river ecosystem consists of:
  • Mostly unidirectional flow of water
  • Physical change that is continuous
  • Microhabitats vary greatly (and are always changing)
  • The water flow rate varies
  • Animals and plants that have adapted to the conditions of water flow.

Water flow

River ecology differs from other water ecosystems mainly because of its water flow. A lotic system is characterized by flowing water. Rapids with torrential intensity alternate with slow backwaters. Turbulence in the water also causes its speed to vary. Snowmelt, rain and groundwater inputs can cause a sudden change in flow. As riverbeds erode and sediment, the habitats change, creating a variety of different habitat types.


Biological organisms in rivers live on a substrate. Organic matter may include fine particles, leaves, wood, moss and plants, or it may be inorganic, such as geological material found in the catchment area like boulders, pebbles, gravel, sand and silt; it may also include inorganic material such as boulders, pebbles, gravel, sand and silt. Substrates tend to shift and change significantly during floods.


Photosynthesis, which is powered by light, is the main source of food for rivers. Furthermore, the shadows cast by it provide a habitat for prey species. If the waterway is located in a forest and shaded by overhanging trees, the amount of light it receives varies, but a wide exposed river receives more light as the Sun shines on its surface. As rivers get deeper, they become more turbulent and particles in water become less effective at letting light through.


River temperatures vary depending on their surroundings. Radiation can be used to heat or cool water at the surface, or it can be cooled or heated by conduction through air and surrounding surfaces. River bottoms can have a wide temperature difference from the surface, especially if they are deep and slow-moving. Climate, shading, and elevation can all influence the temperature of water. Poikilotherms are creatures living in such environments - their internal temperatures change according to their environment.


Biological activity abounds in river water. These bacteria aid in the recycling of energy. Plants and other bacteria utilize organic materials decomposed by bacteria to make inorganic compounds.

Water Chemistry

Depending on the river ecosystem, the water chemistry may differ. Rain and pollution from human sources can also affect it. A lot of the time, its effects are determined by what is surrounding it or by the surrounding area.

Most organisms depend on oxygen for survival in river systems. Generally, it is soluble at the surface of water, but its solubility decreases as its temperature increases. The air is exposed to a wider area of water on turbulent waters, and the water's temperature tends to be lower than in slow backwaters, letting more oxygen into the water. In a waterway with poor circulation, animals are active or there is a lot of organic decay, oxygen levels are reduced.


A fish's ability to survive in a river system depends on his or her speed and the duration of that speed - swimming against a current requires enormous energy. The fish may be able to use this ability differently depending on the habitat they occupy in the river. In general, fish prefer to stay on bottoms and near banks, or to swim in currents only for feeding or changing locations. Several species do not swim in the current at all. In addition to rivers, many other habitats (springs, wetlands, waterways, streams, oceans) are also connected to river systems. Many fish also need to pass through other habitats during their life cycles. Freshwater and saltwater eels, for example, have water cycles that may require stages in each. Fish provide food and are preyed on by other fish.


Photosynthesis is the process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy. Streams and rivers are typically the largest source of primary food for algae. Fast-flowing water makes it difficult for most of them to maintain large populations since they float freely. Slow-moving rivers and backwaters tend to build up large numbers. Certain algae species cling to objects to prevent them from being washed away. Slower currents are most favorable for plants. Mosses, for instance, attach themselves to solid surfaces. Duckweed or water hyacinths are free-floating plants. Other plants grow at the bottom of wetlands where sediment accumulates. Plants need oxygen and nutrients from water flow. In addition to providing food, plants protect animals from the elements.


In addition to fish, a wide range of birds inhabit river ecosystems, but they spend some time in terrestrial habitats and are not as closely tied to rivers as fish are. For water birds, fish and invertebrates provide a significant source of food.


Arctic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Southern (Antarctic) Ocean are the five major oceans on earth. There are unique species in each of the oceans, even though they are connected. Approximately 80% of the world's oceans are in the Pacific, whereas 20% are in the Atlantic. Diverse species of life can be found in the ocean. Despite their cold temperatures, the Arctic and Southern Oceans have a lot of life in them. Maritime krill (small, shrimp-like marine creatures) are found in the Southern Ocean under the ice.


A mouth is the point at which a river meets the sea and may be thought of as a mix of fresh and salt water. Water bodies behind barrier beaches, coastal bays, tidal marshes, river mouths, and coastal bays are examples of estuaries. As a result of their special water circulation, they are biologically productive because they trap nutrients and stimulate the growth of plants.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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