Back to Basics- Habitats 2
Yesterday we talked about land habitats, today we are covering water habitats. We are hitting up some of the basics, but there are more water habitats on the earth- understandable since 75% of the planet is covered in water.
Fresh water habitats are those without salt! Let’s talk about those:
Wetlands: an area where aquatic plants thrive. They can include marshes, bogs or swamps. Wetlands can be fresh water, salt water or brackish water (a mix of fresh and salt). They can have some dry seasons or stay wet all year round. Many animals call this their home including alligators, birds and mollusks.
Lakes/ponds: are usually closed bodies of water. They can be large or small. They can be natural or man made. They are mostly fresh water, with the exception of a few salt water lakes. Lakes are home to many different fish, some of whom only call one lake their home.
Rivers/streams: rivers and streams are fresh water habitats where the water continuously moves. The longest river in the world is the Amazon. Rivers and streams lead to the ocean. Animals that call rivers and streams home, must adapt to not going down stream. Some animals leave their ocean home to have offspring in the fresh water environment and some do the opposite- like salmon.
Brackish waters: where fresh water and salt water mix. You will find this habitat at the mouth of a river, estuaries and mangroves. Brackish mangroves are important habitats for many animals who have their offspring their in the roots of the trees. These nurseries keep little fish save from larger predators.
Deep oceans: deep oceans are dark places. The sunlight can not penetrate these depths. The animals that call this harsh environment home must adapt to living where there is no plant life. Such alien creatures as the frilled shark, the anglerfish and giant spider crabs call this home.
Open oceans: the open ocean is the area where sun penetrates the water. This massive habitat is the often called the marine desert. There are little nutrients here. Animals that call the open ocean their home must be fast and efficient swimmers, like mako sharks, tuna and dolphins.
Coral reefs: these amazing habitats are the most diverse in all of the oceans. Many animals call it home, including the coral that build the reef. Coral reefs are similar to the rainforest. Animals that call the reef home include, clownfish, anemones and sponges.
Intertidal zone: the intertidal zone is on the shore, in between the low tides and the high tides. We often think of places with tide pools when it comes to intertidal zones. The animals that live here, like muscles must be able to survive life outside of water. It is a harsh environment to call home.
These are just a few of the water habitats that are on our planet. The ocean especially has some harsh environments and yet life still exists. Sooooooo cool!