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Aquatic Ecosystems. 4 things determine aquatic ecosystems:. Depth Flow Temperature Chemistry. Only 3% of the Earth’s surface is fresh water. Two types of freshwater ecosystems:. Flowing water ecosystems. Standing water ecosystems. Flowing Water Ecosystems. Rivers Streams Creeks

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Aquatic Ecosystems

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Aquatic ecosystems

Aquatic Ecosystems

4 things determine aquatic ecosystems

4 things determine aquatic ecosystems:

  • Depth

  • Flow

  • Temperature

  • Chemistry

Aquatic ecosystems

  • Only 3% of the Earth’s surface is fresh water.

Two types of freshwater ecosystems

Two types of freshwater ecosystems:

Flowing water ecosystems

Flowing water ecosystems

Standing water ecosystems

Standing water ecosystems

Flowing water ecosystems1

Flowing Water Ecosystems

  • Rivers

  • Streams

  • Creeks

  • Brooks

Animals that live in flowing water ecosystems

Animals that live in Flowing –Water ecosystems:









River otters

River Otters

Standing water ecosystems1

Standing Water Ecosystems

  • Lakes

  • ponds



  • General term for the tiny, free-floating or weakly swimming organisms that live in both fresh and salt water environments.

  • Phytoplankton – single celled photosynthetic algae

  • Zooplankton – small animals, usually microscopic, that feed on the phytoplankton.



  • Wetlands are productive because they are shallow with a lot of organic plant matter in the water that serves as breeding grounds for insects, fishes and other aquatic animals, amphibians, and migratory birds.

Wetland bogs

Wetland Bogs

  • Form in depressions left by sheets of ice.

  • Thick mats of sphagnum moss grow and the bogs tend to be very acidic.

Bog finds

Bog Finds

  • Many ancient bodies are preserved in the acidic / oxygen free bogs.

  • This man found in

    1950 is estimated to

    be over 2000 years


Venus flytrap

Venus Flytrap

Pitcher Plants

Wetland marshes are shallow wetlands along streams that remain wet at least half the year

Wetland Marshes are shallow wetlands along streams that remain wet at least half the year.

Sawgrass marsh in the everglades

Sawgrass marsh in the Everglades

Wetland swamps

Wetland Swamps

  • Wet year round

  • Often look like flooded forests with trees and shrubs.

Okefenokee swamp

Okefenokee Swamp

Aquatic ecosystems

Estuaries are wetlands formed where rivers meet the sea.

They contain a mixture of fresh and salt water.



  • Freshwater and saltwater mix - brackish

Estuary examples

Estuary Examples

  • Salt marshes: temperate zone estuaries dominated by salt-tolerant grasses above the low tide line, and by seagrasses under water.

  • Mangrove swamps are coastal wetlands that are widespread across tropical regions, including southern Florida and Hawaii.

Salt marsh

Salt Marsh

Marine ecosystems

Marine Ecosystems

  • Contain salt water

  • Photic zone: well lit upper layer down to 200 meters where algae and other producers can grow.

  • Aphotic zone: permanently dark area where no photosynthetic organisms live, but some chemosynthetic organisms live.

Marine zone based on depth of water distance from shore

Marine zone based on depth of water & distance from shore:

  • Intertidal zone

  • Coastal ocean

  • Open ocean



  • The portion of the shoreline that lies between the high and low tide lines is called the intertidal zone.

Intertidal zone

Intertidal zone

  • Barnacles

  • Seaweed

  • Snails

  • Sea urchins

  • Sea stars

Aquatic ecosystems

Intertidal Zone

Coastal ocean

Coastal ocean

  • Kelp forests

  • Snails

  • Sea urchins

  • Sea otters

  • Fishes

  • Seals

  • whales

Coral reefs

Coral Reefs

  • Corals are relatives to the jellyfish that secrete a hard substance called calcium carbonate.

  • They live in symbiosis with algae contained within the body of each coral animal.

  • Almost all grow within 40 meters of the surface.

Coral reefs1

Coral Reefs

Open ocean

Open Ocean

  • Begins at the edge

    of the continental

    shelf and extends


  • Largest marine zone

  • 500 meters to 11,000 meters.

  • Swordfish, octopus, dolphins, whales



  • Small organisms that live in the waters of the photic zone.

  • phytoplankton–microscopic plants and bacteria

  • zooplankton–microscopic animals

Benthic zone

Benthic Zone

  • Ocean floor

  • Organisms that live near or attached to the bottom

  • Sea stars, anemones, marine worms – all referred to as benthos.

  • Clams, sea cucumbers

Aquatic ecosystems

Harris Neck NWR

Aquatic ecosystems

Baby Alligator

Aquatic ecosystems

Sapelo Island

Aquatic ecosystems

Sapelo Island - Blackbeard

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