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Aquatic Ecosystems.  The major kinds of aquatic environments are streams and rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans.  Each of these can be subdivided.

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Presentation on theme: "Aquatic Ecosystems.  The major kinds of aquatic environments are streams and rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans.  Each of these can be subdivided."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aquatic Ecosystems

2  The major kinds of aquatic environments are streams and rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and oceans.  Each of these can be subdivided further with respect to many factors. Aquatic Ecosystems

3  In aquatic ecosystems, depth, water temperature, flow rate, and oxygen and nutrient concentrations are the dominant physical factor  Many of the producers in many aquatic ecosystems are single-celled algae  Aquatic ecosystems have been classified by salinity, water movement, and depth Aquatic Ecosystems

4  All aquatic ecosystems interact with the terrestrial biomes that surround them  Streams receive runoff, groundwater, and organic matter from the surrounding land  A variety of organisms live their lives in both aquatic and terrestrial environments Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

5  Could you name some other interactions between aquatic ecosystems and terrestrial biomes? Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers  Frogs and salamanders, for example, have aquatic larval stages and terrestrial adult stages  Some terrestrial animals feed on organisms that grow in streams and lakes  Many organisms with aquatic larval stages, such as mosquitoes, feed on terrestrial organisms

6  Stream and river systems are referred to as lotic systems  Flowing water erodes  Rivers and streams are created by erosion  Most streams and rivers are older than lakes – although they move around more Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

7  Streams form wherever precipitation exceeds evaporation  Streams grow with distance as they join together with rivers Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

8  River continuum concept- ecosystems are more complex and more productive downstream because water flows more slowly and becomes warmer and richer in nutrients. Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

9  Riffle areas are where water runs rapidly over a rocky substratum  Water is well oxygenated in riffles Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

10  Pools are deeper stretches of more slowly moving waters  Pools tend to accumulate silt and organic matter Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

11 Are these two areas productive or unproductive? Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers Both areas tend to be unproductive because the nutrients needed for life are washed away in riffles, whereas the oxygen and sunlight needed for life are lacking in pools.

12  Streams lack the richness and diversity of life  Toward the headwaters of rivers, the productivity of algae and other photosynthetic organisms tend to be low  Riparian zones are transitional areas between the aquatic system and adjacent land  Riparian zones are influenced by seasonal flooding and elevated water tables Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

13  Much of the food web of headwater ecosystems depends on leaves and other organic matter  Organic material that enters the aquatic ecosystem the outside is termed allochthonous Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

14  The larger the river, the more its organic material is autochtonous, originating where it is found Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

15  As you move downstream, rivers become wider, slower moving, more nutrient laden, and more exposed to sunlight  Nutrients and sunlight support growth of algae and plants Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

16  Lotic systems are sensitive to any modification of their water flow  Rates of flow, water temperature, and sediment patterns are all altered Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers  Could you name one major modification?

17  Dams are built for flood control, to provide water for irrigation, or to generate electricity  Water behind dams becomes warmer, and bottom habitats become choked with silt, destroying habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms  Using dams for flood control changes the seasonal cycles of flooding  Dams disrupt the natural movement of aquatic organisms Flowing Water: Streams and Rivers

18  Referred to as lentic systems, distinguished by non-flowing waters  Range in size from small, temporary rainwater to lakes that are about a mile in depth  Example: Lake Baikal, in Russia, contains about 1/5 th of all the fresh water at the surface of the earth. Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds

19  Many lakes and ponds are formed by the retreat of glaciers  Glaciers leave behind gouged-out basins and blocks of ice buried in glacial deposits  Example: The Great Lakes of North America formed in glacial basins Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds

20  Lakes are also formed in geologically active regions  Vertical shifting of blocks of the earth’s crust creates basins w/in water accumulates Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds

21  Oxbow lakes are broad bends of the former river cut off by shifts in the main channel Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds

22  Lakes are subdivided into several ecological zones, each of which has distinct physical conditions  Littoral zone  Limnetic zone  Benthic Zone Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds

23 Littoral zone is the shallow zone around the edge of a lake or pond w/in which one finds rooted vegetation Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds Limnetic zone is the open water where producers are floating single- celled algae, phytoplankton.

24  The sediments at the bottoms of lakes and ponds make up the benthic zone  The benthic zone provides habitat for burrowing animals and microorganisms Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds

25  Are lakes and ponds permanent? Standing Water: Lakes and Ponds  What will happen to the former aquatic ecosystem?  Most temporary ponds can dry out each year  Most small temperate lakes that formed when glaciers retreated will gradually refill in w/ sediment until there is no open water  The formerly aquatic ecosystem will slowly change into a terrestrial ecosystem, first a wet meadow and later the natural terrestrial biome of the region

26  Areas of land consisting of soil that is saturated w/ water and supports vegetation specifically adapted to such conditions Wetlands

27  What are some examples of wetlands? Wetlands  Swamps, marshes, and bogs  Salt marshes and mangrove wetlands associated w/ marine envrionments

28  Most of the plants can tolerate low oxygen concentrations in the soil. Many are specialized for anoxic conditions and grow nowhere else  Wetlands provide important habitat for a wide variety of animals  Wetlands protect coastal areas from the ravages of hurricanes and other storms  Wetland sediments immobilize potentially toxic or polluting substances dissolved in water Wetlands

29  Estuaries are found at the mouths of rivers  Are unique because of their mix of fresh and salt water  Are abundantly supplied w/ nutrients and sediments carried downstream by rivers  Estuaries tend to be areas of sediment deposition  Supports high biological productivity Estuaries

30  Oceans cover the largest portion of the earth  Variation in marine environments comes from differences in temperature, salinity, depth, currents, substrata, and tides Marine Aquatic Systems  What does depth influence?  Depth influences light and pressure.

31  The littoral zone (also called the intertidal zone) extends between the highest and lowest tidal water levels  Exposed periodically to air  Ecological conditions w/in the littoral zone change rapidly as the tide flows in or out Marine Aquatic Systems

32  The neritic zone extends to depths of about 200m, which correspond to the edge of the continental shelf  Region of high productivity  The sunlit surface layers of water are close enough to the nutrients in the sediments below that strong waves can move them to the surface Marine Aquatic Systems

33  The oceanic zone is beyond the neritic zone where the seafloor drops rapidly to great depths  In the oceanic zone, nutrients are sparse and production is strictly limited  The seafloor beneath the oceanic zone is the benthic zone. Marine Aquatic Systems

34  Both the neritic and oceanic zones are subdivided vertically into a photic zone  In the photic zone, there is sufficient light for photosynthesis Marine Aquatic Systems

35  Organisms in the aphotic zone depend mostly on organic material raining down from above Marine Aquatic Systems

36  What other ecosystem could be compared to the open ocean?  What other ecosystem could be compared to the tropical rainforest? Marine Aquatic Sytems

37  Coral reefs are like tropical rainforests, both in the richness of their biological production and the diversity of their inhabitants  Reef-building corals are found in shallow waters of warm oceans  Coral reefs usually surround volcanic islands, where they are fed by nutrients eroding from the rich volcanic soil and by the deep water currents forced upward by the profile of the island Marine Aquatic Sytems

38  Coral reefs are doubly productive because photosynthetic algae w/in their tissues generate carbon energy that fuels the coral’s rates of growth Marine Aquatic Sytems


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