The survival of the freshwater biomes is extremely dependent on the climates. Though they belong to another ecosystem. However, human activities have a detrimental effect on this ecosystem.
Why does this concern us? These are the only significant sources of freshwater that is fit for consumption. Surveys say that only three percent of the water on earth comes from freshwater biomes.
Moreover, most freshwater biomes contain different types of fishes and moving water as well. However, to ensure their survival, the abiotic factors like climate should also be of utmost importance.
This article mainly focuses on the effects of freshwater climates on us and the ecosystem.
WHAT IS BIOME?
Before we dive deeper, let us rejuvenate our knowledge. Apart from this, whenever we talk about freshwater ecosystem climate, we often come across the word “biome,” what is it?
A biome is a zone that we classify according to the type flora, and fauna found there. We determine a biome with the help of the abiotic factors. It includes temperature, light intensity, soil, and water.
Biome change with the shift in its climate. Moreover, biomes lack a sharp definition. For example, we cannot define the transition zones. Zones like coast and wetland, grassland, and forests are transition zones.
A biome is an area where a community of flora and fauna share the same characteristics. Also, a biome is the bigger picture. Biomes can have diverse habitats under it. A biome encompasses large geographical zones. But, a microbiome includes a small community where some organisms live together in a smaller area.
Suggested by Clements in 1916, this classification excludes the taxonomic elements. Moreover, Tansley, in the year 1935, adds the concepts of abiotic factors. He then termed this as an ecosystem.
HOW ARE BIOMES DIFFERENT FROM ECOSYSTEMS?
Biome refers to a wide geographical area and hosts communities of different flora and fauna. Biomes consist of different habitats, ecosystems sharing similar climatic conditions.
On the contrary, the ecosystem is a much smaller picture. Ecosystems refer to a small geographical area that consists of abiotic and biotic factors. These factors interact with each other to ensure survival. Each of these factors contributes to the energy cycle. Many ecosystems that share a similar climatic condition can fall under a biome.
TYPES OF BIOMES
Every biome on this earth is unique. They have different weather and temperature conditions. Biomes are extremely sensitive and follow the rules to maintain itself. However, based on their requirements, they have two divisions.
These are the ones that occur under the water. Aquatic biomes can be of two types. They are saltwater and freshwater. Moreover, both of these biomes have different conditions. A freshwater climate is hugely distinctive than the seawater climate.
Moreover, in the case of saltwater biomes, they have divisions. The part of the ocean containing the coral reefs in the coral reef biome.
Apart from this, the freshwater biome is much different. A freshwater biome contains a conglomeration of land and water. This biome includes water. Also, the salt content in this biome is less than 1%. Some examples include rivers, lakes, ponds, and swamps.
Biomes that are native to dry land are terrestrial biomes. They have contrasting climate and flora in comparison to freshwater climates. This biome has several subdivisions. These include tundra biome, forest biome, and grasslands.
WHAT IS AN AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM?
As the main focus of this article encompasses freshwater climates, let us first know about the aquatic ecosystem for a vivid picture.
An ecosystem that surrounds bodies of water is the aquatic ecosystem. Besides, terrestrial ecosystems, this ecosystem also has abiotic and biotic factors. Multifarious communities that thrive dependently are also a part of this ecosystem. There are two significant types of aquatic ecosystems. They include marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.
However, the main focus of this article illustrates the freshwater biomes; let’s discuss them vividly.
Freshwater ecosystems are a subdivision of the freshwater ecosystem. These include lakes, streams, rivers, etc. sharing a great contrast with marine ecosystems. It has zero to less salt content, and a freshwater habitat is diverse. The classification depends on factors like temperature, light intensity, nutrients, and flora.
Also, Limnology is the study of freshwater ecosystems. It is a subset of freshwater biology and a diverse part of hydrobiology.
Moreover, there are two subdivisions of freshwater ecosystems. They are as follows:
This ecosystem is typical in still water bodies. Lakes, ponds, wetlands are the best examples of lentic ecosystems.
Besides, this ecosystem also constitutes biotic factors and abiotic factors. Lentic ecosystems have a freshwater climate. It can be small or as deep as Lake Baikal. Unlike lakes, ponds and pools have complete exposure to sunlight.
However, reservoirs and ponds have further subdivisions. The shallow or open portion of the water is the pelagic zone. This zone gets maximum light. Also, the bottom of these ponds and pools are the benthic zone.
Apart from this, the lakes have a deeper base. As a result, they have another site, which is the profundal zone. This zone receives zero to minimum sunlight. Also, these divisions have different freshwater ecosystem climates.
Lotic ecosystems refer to the flowing water ecosystems. These include streams, rivers, and springs. These ecosystems also have biotic and abiotic factors. In this type of habitat, they flow in a similar direction. Apart from this, they are dynamic. The living organisms here adapt to such changes and conditions.
WHAT IS A FRESHWATER BIOME?
A freshwater biome is a range of diverse ecosystems or communities residing in the water bodies. Moreover, these biomes generally have less than 1% of salt content. Freshwater is essential for our survival. It is the only water source that is fit for consumption. Freshwater sources include rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds.
Besides, lakes and ponds belong to lentic ecosystems. Whereas, the rivers and streams are the lotic ecosystems. However, both these ecosystems are home to diverse living organisms.
Also, many species have special adaptation, which aids in the survival of these species. For example, some species of plants are native to calm and still waters. But, they are incapable of thriving in flowing waters. Besides, some have distinctive adaptations that help them grip, which makes them fit for lotic ecosystems.
These ecosystems also have transition zones. The area between lentic and lotic ecosystem is the estuaries. These distinctive zones also host several habitats for many organisms. These kinds of domains include shellfish, birds, and fishes. Moreover, organisms living here have unique abilities. They adapt ways to survive in both conditions. They can survive in both lentic and lotic ecosystems.
Moreover, a freshwater ecosystem has various sects. It includes different freshwater climate, temperature, and resources. For example, the river or stream’s source consists of more transparent water and higher oxygen levels. But, the center and the bottom have less amount of oxygen and have unclear water.
The biotic and abiotic distributions rely on these factors. The shallow or the top portion has heterotrophs and small fishes. As we go deeper, the diversity intensifies. Moreover, when we reach the bottom, the oxygen levels drop, and it has less variety.
DISTRIBUTION OF SPECIES IN A FRESHWATER BIOME
A freshwater biome has a much more diverse distribution of species. What makes it so suitable? These waters are free of extreme salt concentrations. It promotes a varied range of distribution. Apart from this, freshwater is beneficial for humans as well. Also, this is perfect for consumption as well. This ecosystem has even distribution based on freshwater biome climate, temperature, etc.
Here is a list of animals that we can find in a freshwater biome climate.
Other than this, snakes are abundant in these biomes. A common species of snakes that is the moccasins are available abundantly here. We can also find some species of alligators here. Moreover, fishes like bass, catfish, etc. are also native to these ecosystems. Animals living around this ecosystem are dependent on these sources of water.
Generally, a freshwater biome has more than 1200 species of amphibians. Seven hundred species of fishes as well. However, every animal, insects play a pivotal role in maintaining the ecosystem.
Here is some flora that we can find in these biomes.
- Spike Rush
- Water Lily
- Bull Rush
- Pickerel Weed
Other than this, grass and sedge are the two favorite vegetation that grows here in abundance. However, trees are not common in these biomes.
Cyanobacteria is also common in these areas.
It holds critical roles. They are as follows:
- Cyanobacteria in blue-green algae are incredibly beneficial.
- It is a common resident in all freshwater climates.
- Cyanobacteria is an important food source for many organisms. Many depend on it for survival.
- Apart from this, insects like fleas and flies also feed on cyanobacteria.
FRESHWATER CLIMATES: WHAT DO WE KNOW?
The freshwater climate is usually moderate. However, the freshwater biomes in polar regions differ. The water is the main component of this biome. Also, they experience ample rainfall. They constitute areas that have salt-free water.
Moreover, the temperature of these regions depends on geographical location and statistics. Temperature ranges from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 45 degrees during the winter season. Also, they range from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer season. They cover approximately a fifth of the globe.
Also, they constitute about eighty percent of the world’s freshwater resources. For example, Florida Everglades, the largest freshwater biome in the world, experiences sixty inches of rainfall every year. Whereas, the winters are comparatively cooler and dry. Moreover, in the polar regions, the temperatures are contrasting. In the winter seasons, the water freezes in the polar zones.
Apart from this, the depth is also a concerning factor. Why? Because, as the depth increases, sunlight intensity decreases. The shallow areas receive more sunlight than the deeper regions of these biomes. However, this also affects the distribution of flora and fauna.
ISSUES FACED BY THE FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEM
The threats that freshwater biomes face mostly come from human activities. These ecosystems also play a vital role in the sustenance of humanity.
Radicals that form in the atmosphere also inhibits the growth of plants and animals. Also, human-made activities contribute to these problems. The chemicals and wastes also prove to be detrimental to these biomes. Human beings dump waste and chemicals in the freshwater. Spreading pollutes and poisons in the ecosystem. It makes the water unfit for consumption. It also leads to the death of organisms residing here.
Global warming also initiates the disruption of freshwater ecosystems. Also, as the surroundings heat up, this depletes the water resources. Also, this puts forth the risk of going dry. Already, in some countries, groundwater resources are coming to an end.
The protection and management of freshwater biomes are of utmost importance. Freshwater climates also play an essential role. Hence, we must take steps to control global warming. We are dependent on various ecosystems for sustenance.
Moreover, these biomes have abundant flora, fauna, and algae. These ecosystem engineers aid in keeping the balance in the food chain. Hence, protecting freshwater resources will only ensure our survival in the future.