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Illinois Wetland Ecosystems

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Illinois Wetland Ecosystems

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  1. Illinois Wetland Ecosystems

  2. Prairie Pothole Wetlands

  3. Wetland Plant Types

  4. Prairie Wetland Plant Communities • Wet meadows, composed of sedges, forbs, and grasses • Mudflat annual communities made up of smartweeds, grasses • Emergent communities (plants with roots growing underwater or in water logged soil, while the rest of plant emerges from water into air) - made up of cattails, bulrushes, reeds, bur reeds • Floating leaved communities which feature species such as water-lilies • Free-floating communities made up of duckweeds and watermeals • Submersed communities made up of pondweeds, coontails, naiads, and bladderworts

  5. Dry Marsh • Dry marsh (also called drawdown phase) - this develops during years of low water caused by below-normal precipitation when all or a large part of the marsh may be nearly dry or at least has no standing water • Mudflat annuals and emergent species are the dominant plants

  6. Dry Marsh

  7. Regenerating Marsh • Regenerating marsh - when normal precipitation resumes, standing water returns, allowing germination of submersed and free-floating plants • The regenerating marsh is characterized by an extensive cover of emergent species with submersed as an understorey

  8. Regenerating Marsh

  9. Regenerating Marsh

  10. Degenerating Marsh • Degenerating marsh - during this phase there is a decline in the populations of emergents due to a variety of interrelated factors which may include anoxia, damage from insects, disease and muskrats • This stage has anywhere from a 25:75 to 75:25 ratio of emergent vegetation to open water and this is the phase with greatest wildlife diversity and density

  11. Muskrats and Damage

  12. Muskrats and Damage

  13. Lake Marsh • Lake marsh or "eat out" phase is dominated by submerged plants like coontails, naiads, pondweeds, bladderworts; and floating aquatic plants like duckweed - the few remaining emergent plants may nearly disappear • the lake marsh phase continues until the next drought lowers the water level (which usually occurs on a 5 to 30 year cycle) and returns the marsh to the dry marsh state, starting the cycle over again

  14. Lake Marsh

  15. Lake Marsh

  16. Stresses of Wetland Environments • Wetland environments are characterized by several environmental stresses that most organisms are ill equipped to handle - Aquatic organisms are not adapted to deal with the periodic drying out that occurs in many wetlands • Terrestrial organisms are stressed by long periods of flooding • Because of the shallow water, temperature extremes on the wetland surface are greater than normally experienced in aquatic environments

  17. Stresses of Wetland Environments • But the most severe stress is probably the absence of oxygen in flooded wetland soils, which prevents organisms from respiring through normal metabolic pathways - in the absence of oxygen, the supply of nutrients available to plants is also modified and concentrations of certain elements (iron, sulfur) and organic compounds can reach toxic levels • In coastal wetlands, salt is an additional stress to which organisms must respond

  18. Adaptations to Stress • Adaptations can be broadly classified as those that enable the organism to tolerate the stress and those that enable it to regulate the stress • Tolerators have functional modifications that enable them to survive, and often to function efficiently, in the presence of stress • Regulators actively avoid the stress or modify it to minimize its effects

  19. Aerenchyma – air spaces in root tissues

  20. Ethylene and Aerenchyma

  21. Root Porosity and Rhizosphere

  22. Water Lily Adaptations

  23. Water Lily Adaptations

  24. Red mangrove with prop roots

  25. Black mangrove with pneumatophores

  26. Pneumatophores

  27. Bald cypress knees