2The grasses of a coastal lagoon or marsh serve as a habitat, providing food and shelter to a diverse array of organisms including insects, birds, and fish.
3Roots and plant fibers of salt marsh grasses also stabilize bottom sediments which greatly decrease the rate of erosion.
4Damage to the salt marsh can cause problems throughout the larger wetland ecosystem.
5When people use fertilizers on their lawns or farms that are located near streams or rivers that empty into the wetlands, too many nutrients may be dumped into the wetland area.
6This buildup of nutrients is called eutrophication This buildup of nutrients is called eutrophication. When eutrophication occurs, large algae and phytoplankton grow better than the sea grasses. These other organisms block sunlight from sea grasses.
7The sea grass beds may get much smaller or be completely destroyed.
8When sea grass beds are damaged, the availability of the marsh/lagoon to provide shelter and food for the many organisms that grow in that habitat. Erosion is more likely without the sea grasses to stabilize the sediment.
9Natural events like hurricanes can also damage salt marsh ecosystems.
10Hurricanes and the accompanying storm surge can tear up the marshes and lagoons, ripping up sea grass beds.
11This may overload the resulting area with a mass of nutrients that then cause growth of algae or other organisms that disallow re-growth of sea grasses.
12If salt marshes are damaged, many insects, birds, fish, plants, and even gators will have to find a new place to live! It is important for us to work to preserve our salt marsh wetlands!
14A: an inland swamp with lots of dissolved minerals in the water What is a salt marsh?A: an inland swamp with lots of dissolved minerals in the waterB: a wetland dominated by sea grasses at the edge of a body of saltwaterC: an island habitat in the center of the oceanD: a desert oasis habitat
15Sea grasses do NOT provide which of the following A: a food source for birds, fish, insectsB: shelter for young fishC: protection from lighteningD: reduced levels of erosion
16Sea grasses help prevent erosion by A: slowing water flow B: mixing nutrients with sedimentC: sending roots into the sedimentD: providing shade for insects
17Damage to the salt marsh can cause problems throughout the larger wetland ecosystem. A: TrueB: False
18Having extra nutrients in the water from fertilizer runoff helps sea grasses grow. A: TrueB: False
19Which of the following is NOT a problem of eutrophication? A: algae grow more easilyB: sea grasses lose the competition for nutrientsC: sea grasses have stronger growthD: phytoplankton overgrowth prevents sunlight reaching sea grasses
20A: an abundance of large animals in an ecosystem. Eutrophication meansA: an abundance of large animals in an ecosystem.B: a lack of nutrients in water ecosystemsC: an overgrowth of insectsD: an overabundance of nutrients in water that upsets the ecosystem.
21If sea grasses are destroyed, other plants are able to grow that are more suitable to the health of the ecosystem.A: TrueB: False
22Hurricanes can help the salt marsh ecosystem by cleaning out old growth. A: TrueB: False
23Which of the following is NOT an organism that is commonly found in a salt marsh? A: blue heronB: spartina grassC: oak treeD: periwinkle snail