Thursday, October 31, 2013

Aquatic ecosystems - Estuaries

ESTUARINE ECOSYSTEM
An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal area at the mouth of a river where sea water mixes  with fresh water. It is strongly affected by tidal action. Estuaries are usually nutrients in abundance. Estuaries are useful to human beings due to their high food potential. Hence, estuaries must be protected from pollution.

CHARACTERISTICS OF ESTUARINE ECOSYSTEMS
  1. Estuaries are transition zones that are strongly affected by tides of the sea.
  2. Water characteristics change periodically
  3. Living organisms in estuarine ecosystems have wide tolerance.
  4. Salinity in estuarine water is high during summer and lest during winter
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
Abiotic components
Temperature, pH, sodium and potassium salts and various nutrients.
Biotic components
  1. Producers: Ex - Marsh grass, sea-weeds, sea-grass and phytoplankton
  2. Consumers: Ex - Oysters, Crabs, Seabirds and small fish
  3. Decomposers: Ex - Bacteria, Fungi  and actinomycetes

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