Aquatic Biomes

Aquatic Biomes are biomes that exist within or directly around bodies of water and can be divided into freshwater and marine biomes. Freshwater biomes include lakes and ponds, wetlands, and rivers. Marine biomes include estuaries, coral reefs, oceans, and polar. Lakes and ponds can be divided into three zones. The littoral zone is a nutrient rich area around the shore where aquatic life is diverse and abundant. The open water zone is the area away from the shore that gets enough sunlight for photosynthesis. The benthic zone is at the bottom of a body of water.

Wetlands are areas of land that are covered with water for at least part of the year. There are two main types: marshes which contain non-woody plants, and swamps which contain woody plants or shrubs.

The most important aspect of rivers is that the characteristics of the water in rivers changes greatly from one area of the river to another. Plants and animals found in rivers are all uniquely adapted to the particular part of a river that they inhabit

Estuaries are areas where fresh water from rivers mixes with salt water from the ocean. Estuaries are one of the most productive ecosystems because they contain plenty of light and nutrients.

Coral Reefs are limestone islands in the sea that are built by coral animals called polyps. Coral reefs have high species diversity, are found in shallow, tropical areas, and their outer layer is made up of living corals.

Oceans cover almost 75% of the surface of the Earth. Almost 90% of the plant and animal life in oceans is concentrated in the shallower water around the continents. The open ocean is one of the least productive of all of the ecosystems in the world. Polar biomes are considered marine because almost all food is provided by the ocean. The Arctic and Antarctic are polar biomes.