People know about oceans, rivers, lakes, etc., on their own, but all of these make up a larger aquatic biome. So, what is an aquatic biome?
Our oceans and other bodies of water play an integral role in our health and the environment. As a result, it pays to know all about the aquatic biome as well as its importance in the overall ecosystem.
Covering about 75% of Earth's surface, the aquatic biome is the largest of all the biomes. It is divided into two separate categories (freshwater and marine). The freshwater biome includes wetlands, ponds, rivers, streams, and lakes. The marine biome includes the seas and oceans.
The fact that there is life in the depths of the seas means that we need to protect our oceans even more. This is also mainly because we depend on our oceans as a water source for crop irrigation, industry, sanitation, and, of course, manufacturing and drinking water.
We've spent years studying the oceans and other bodies of water and their importance and role in sustaining life on this planet. Here, we will talk about the aquatic biome, as well as the parts that make it up.
What Is an Aquatic Biome?
Animal species, plant species, soil, climate, and precipitation are all shared by biomes, which are huge sections of the globe that have comparable features. Ecoregions and biomes are terms that are used interchangeably. Climate is likely the most essential component that defines the nature of each biome, but it is far from the only one. Topography, latitude, humidity, precipitation, and elevation are all variables that influence the character and distribution of biomes.
The aquatic biome encompasses all water-dominated environments on the planet. From brackish mangroves to Arctic lakes and tropical reefs, the aquatic biome is the biggest of all biomes on the planet, covering over 75% of the planet's surface. The aquatic biome supports a stunning diversity of organisms by providing a diverse range of environments.
About 3.5 billion years ago, the earliest life on our planet developed in primordial seas. Although the exact place of life's origin is uncertain, scientists have proposed numerous possibilities, including shallow tidal pools, hot springs, and deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
Aquatic habitats are three-dimensional settings with diverse zones dependent on depth, tidal movement, temperature, and proximity to landmasses. Marine and freshwater habitats are the two primary types of aquatic biomes depending on the salinity of their water.
The amount of light that passes through the water is another element that determines the makeup of aquatic ecosystems. The photic zone is the area where enough light is allowed to penetrate to facilitate photosynthesis. The aphotic, also known as the profundal zone, is the part of the plant where too little light reaches it to sustain photosynthesis.
The world's many aquatic ecosystems sustain a vast array of fauna, including fish, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates, to name a few. Cnidarians, Echinoderms, and even fishes are examples of aquatic groupings that do not have terrestrial members. The aquatic biomes can be divided into two major groups: marine habitats and freshwater habitats. This mainly depends on the level of salinity.
The Pacific, Indian, Atlantic, Arctic, and Atlantic oceans are the five major oceans. The oceans (basically, the marine biome) help sustain the life process by affecting the terrestrial climate and weather of the area and providing rain for crops through evaporation and air circulation via waves and currents.
Aquatic ecosystems with high salt concentrations are known as marine habitats (more than one percent). Seas, coral reefs, and oceans are examples of marine environments. There are additional environments where freshwater and saltwater are mixed together. Mangroves, salt marshes, and mudflats can all be found in these areas. The benthic, oceanic pelagic, neritic, and abyssal zones are part of marine ecosystems.
The ocean is a vast saltwater body that covers the majority of the Earth's surface. Life in the ocean, like life in ponds and lakes, is suited to certain areas of the water. Many species manage to survive in the deepest sections of the ocean, which are too dark to sustain photosynthesis. The food chain in these areas is built on bacteria that use chemical processes to obtain energy, known as chemosynthesis.
Freshwater habitats are aquatic environments with a low salt content (below one percent). Moving (lotic) bodies of water and stationary (lentic) bodies of water are the two types of freshwater ecosystems. Rivers and streams are moving bodies of water, while inland wetlands, ponds, and lakes, are still bodies of water. The soils of the surrounding areas, the speed and pattern of water flow, and the local climate all impact freshwater ecosystems.
On the surface of the Earth, it is naturally occurring water. Because glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, icebergs, streams, rivers, ponds, bogs, and lakes have a low concentration of salt and other dissolved particles, they are classified as freshwater. Lake Baikal is the world's biggest freshwater lake in terms of volume, holding 22–23% of the world's fresh surface water. Freshwater biomes rely heavily on plants and algae. This biome is critical for human life since it offers drinking water as well as energy.
The quantity of sunlight received by vast bodies of water, such as the ocean and lakes, may be used to split the water into zones:
- The photic zone stretches to a depth of 656 feet below the water's surface. This is the point at which enough sunlight reaches the plant to allow photosynthesis to take place. Algae and other photosynthetic organisms are capable of producing food and sustaining food webs.
- The aphotic zone is defined as water that is lower than 656 feet deep. Photosynthesis cannot occur here because there is insufficient sunshine. As a result, producers must either generate "food" through chemosynthesis or rely on food drifting down from above.
Freshwater Wetland Biome
A wetland is a land region that is constantly or seasonally saturated with water, giving it the features of a unique ecosystem. Freshwater wetlands are ecosystems that are impacted by a body of water rising permanently or temporarily and spilling into typically dry ground. It is crucial in the management of water flow and water quality throughout whole catchments.
It's also crucial for fauna's habitat and provides a safe haven for them during droughts. Freshwater wetlands include swamps, prairies, marsh, mires, and Bogs. Cattails and even Sedges are widespread plants that grow up through the water from the Earth in freshwater wetland biomes.
Coral Reef Biome
Corals are calcareous marine colonial polyps with a calcareous skeleton. Coral reefs are generated when the skeletons of these lime-secreting creatures accumulate and compress. It may be found exclusively between 30°N and 25°S in clear tropical seas. Coral reefs are divided into three types: fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls.
It is one of the world's most diversified ecosystems and the 21st century's medicine cabinet since various medications are being created to cure viruses, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer's disease and other ailments. As a result, it is critical to safeguard this ecosystem against coral bleaching, which is occurring as a result of environmental deterioration.
Coral reefs grow in shallow ocean environments. These formations resemble rock shelves, but they are constructed of corals, living organisms with a calcium carbonate skeleton. Coral reefs are very varied, with over a thousand different fish species living on them. Coral reefs are currently threatened by human-caused climate change, which has resulted in the ocean becoming hotter and more acidic.
Estuaries are areas where freshwater meets seawater. Estuarine life must adapt to the combination of freshwater and saltwater. Estuaries are home to a variety of fish and shellfish and various migratory bird species that rely on them for nesting and raising their young. Estuaries are areas where freshwater streams or rivers meet the ocean.
A novel ecosystem with abundant diversity is created by mixing fresh and saltwater biomes with varying salt concentrations. In estuaries, worms, crabs, oysters, ducks, turtles, frogs, insects, and animals thrive alongside mangroves, seaweed, and algae.
About THE AUTHOR
James Parker has a Masters degree in Sustainability with a focus on land management, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He also has experience managing sustainability projects, and is passionate about conservation and sustainability.Read More About James Parker