The mixing of salt water and fresh water results in the formation of brackish water
. This brackish water is what is called estuarine.
Types of Estuarine
Estuary is found in the following bodies of water
a delta is where a river divides into many channels before entry into the ocean or sea. Brackish water or estuary (delta) is formed at the mouth of a river as it enters the sea.
Lagoon of Estuarine Habitats:
lagoon is a body of ocean water that enters into the land through a canal and therefore has the opportunity of mixing with fresh water from rivers and streams.
Bay of Estuarine Habitat
bay is a little or small portion of the sea water which enters into the land and mixes up with fresh water from rivers and streams.
It should be noted that a lagoon is bigger than a bay and it may be long enough to join the sea at another end while bay is very small and not long enough to rejoin the sea in another end.
Characteristics of Estuarine Habitat
The followings are the characteristics of the estuarine habitats:
fluctuation in salinity of Estuarine Habitats:
salinity fluctuates in this habitat. Salinity is also affected by season. While rainy season reduces salinity due to addition of fresh water, dry season increases it.
turbidity of Estuarine Habitats:
turbidity of estuarine habitat increases especially during the rainy season when lots of debris are brought down by rivers to the habitat. This high turbidity also reduces the rate of photosynthesis and respiration by organisms.
shallowness of water of Estuarine Habitats:
unlike the sea water which is deep, the water in estuarine habitat is very shallow.
low species diversity of Estuarine Habitat:
the estuarine habitat has low diversity of species compared to marine habitat.
water is affected by tides of Estuarine Habitats:
sea water usually flows rapidly into estuaries at high tides and rushes back into the ocean at low tides.
high level of nutrient of Estuarine Habitat:
low oxygen content of Estuarine Habitats:
oxygen content of estuarine habitat is generally very low and as a result, much of the microbiological activities are anaerobic.
DISTRIBUTION OF PLANT AND ANIMALS IN ESTUARINE HABITAT
Plant Species and Their Adaptive Features
planktons (diatoms) of Estuarine Habitats:
they possess air spaces in their tissues, rhizoids or false feet for attachment to rock shores and air bladder for buoyancy.
algae of Estuarine Habitats:
red mangrove (rhizophora racemosa) of Estuarine Habitat:
it has silt roots which grow down from the stem into the soft mud and develop numerous rootlets which have air spaces for conducting air to the tissues of the roots.
The roots also provide support and prevent plants from being washed away by the tides. Again the seed of red mangrove germinate while they are still on the parent plant thereby preventing the seedlings from being carried away by water current.
white mangrove (Avicenna nitida) :
it has pneumatophores or breathing roots for exchange of gases.
Animal Species and Their Adaptive Features
mosquito larvae and pupae of Estuarine Habitats:
these organisms possess breathing trumpets for gaseous exchange.
crabs of Estuarine Habitats:
they can burrow fast into the mud against predators, strong waves or tides.
water snails and shrimps of Estuarine Habitats:
these animals can burrow into the mud when the tide is going out, thus escaping the periodic dilution of its external medium.
worms of Estuarine Habitats:
they have strong protective and impermeable covering against high salinity.
mud skippers of Estuarine Habitats:
these animals have fins adapted for crawling when on land and for swimming when in water.
fishes of Estuarine Habitats:
fishes like tilapia have fins for movement and swim bladder for buoyancy. read more on classification of fishes
Food Chain in Estuarine Habitat
A typical food chain in an estuarine habitat may have up to three, four or five trophic levels. The phytoplanktons such as diatom and detritus form the basic producers which support the food chain.
Some examples of food chains in the estuarine habitat are:
- economic tools for nation building
- factors affecting the expansion of industries
- mineral resources and the mining industries
- demand and supply
- types of demand curve and used
- advertising industry
- factors of production
- joint stock company
- public enterprises
- private enterprises
- limited liability companies
Factors Affecting Estuarine habitat
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