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Location & Geography of Biome: Freshwater wetlands usually occur in shallow waters. These wetlands usually have seasonal variations of water depth, this including dry periods during which water doesn’t occur at or near the surface. There are four major wetlands. These four types are: marsh, swamp forest, bog, and fen. Marshes being the most productive of the four, are typically dominated by relatively tall, species of plants such as reed, cat-tail, and floating-leaved plants such as water lilies. Swamps are forested wetlands, seasonally or permanently flooded. In North America, tree-sized plants, including bald cypress and silver maple, overpower them. Bogs are unproductive that develop in cool but wet climates. Bogs rely on the nutrients from the atmosphere, and are typically dominated by species of moss. Fens also develop in cool, wet climates. Fens have a better nutrient supply compared to bogs and are constantly more productive.

Climate of Biome: Wetlands are very vulnerable to climate variations and other events. The coastal wetlands are usually unstable to start off. They are easily changed by, erosion, flooding, or the salt water. Water supply is a big concern. In certain areas like drier summers, its increased of the use of water for irrigation could reduce the supply of water for wetlands, either in a direct way or indirect. Another way would be a lower volume of water could than increase the concentrations of whichever pollutants that keep settling in the wetlands. Having small changes in the temperature or the water supply does have effect of the wetland. If the temperature rises then some plant species that we don’t want could expand northward. With high temperatures and low concentrations of oxygen they favor the growth of bacterium. When the change of seasonality of precipitation occurs it intends, or could harm plants and animals that have life cycles that only require certain amount of water at a certain time of the year. If such a change it could cause a decrease in a plant, which then the waterfowl depends on.

external image algae.jpgVegetation Types and Adaptations Plants and algae are very important to freshwater biomes. They are important because they provide oxygen through photosynthesis, and food for animals. Algae is food for many aquatic animals, like turtles. In fast streams and rivers many plants have special structures that keep them from being carried away by the water. Some aquatic plants have strong roots that keep them anchored securely, while others have stems that bend easily with the movement of the water. Certain mosses are able to cling to rocks. Plants who live in still waters have different adaptations. Water lilies, algae, and duckweed float on the surface. Cattails and reeds grow along the shoreline of many freshwater ecosystems. Estuaries house plant life with the unique adaptation of being able to survive in fresh and salty environments. Mangroves and pickleweed are just some examples of estuarine plants.

Animals of Biome & Adaptations:The muddy lake bottom is home to flatworms, segment worms, mollusks, crustaceans and insect larvae. There are also fish, frogs and newts that live in the reeds and rushes in the lake. Some animals that live in a pond that can dry up have to be specially adapted to live there. For example, the African lungfish can bury itself in the drying mud and can cover itself with a slimy cocoon so that its skin can stay moist. The African lungfish can stay buried for months at a time. Some other fish can even travel across land to get to another pond like the climbing perch because their gills absorb oxygen from the air. Animals that live in rivers and streams had to find different ways to adapt to the strong current. One animal is a leech that moves along the bottom of the river or stream in a series of loops. Most fish are strong swimmers so they have adapted to the river and streams. But some fish has to cling or creep over stones. There are many birds that live in the wetlands. Some examples of birds are ducks, geese, wading birds like the sandpiper and plover, gulls and terns, herons. Other examples are cranes, fish eagles, and many small birds like warblers, finches, weavers and kingfishers. Ducks adapted to this environment by diving under water in the mud for worms and crustacean. Other birds have to dive deep to eat algae that are on the lake bed.

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Major Products/Exports/Goods/Services: Freshwater wetlands provide many services to the environment. The most unique of all ecosystems, freshwater wetlands work as a water purification system, control floods and erosion, as well as recycling nutrients in the water. Freshwater wetlands control floods by absorbing water that runs off from rivers or from storms. The freshwater wetlands slow the movement of the incoming water and store it, keeping the levels of water under control. Freshwater wetlands control erosion filtering sediment and slowing the speed that water flows. Wetlands act as a filter, cleansing the water of pollutants by breaking them down. Organic materials are recycled and put back into the environment where they benefit the food chain. The water in these wetlands is about 0.01% of the water people use on a daily basis.

Current/Major Stresses-Human Impact on Biome: Freshwater wetlands worldwide are under threat from secondary salinisation and climate change. Some wetland ecosystems may respond to the effects of seasonal change quickly, while others may do so more slowly. In slow response wetlands, seasonal variability has a weak impact on the ecosystem properties of stability, resilience and species richness. In fast response wetlands are seasonally controlled heavily. Seasonal variability may also reduce wetland resilience. This may also provide opportunities for the restoration of wetland by increases their sensitivity to management actions and recovery processes. Stresses: Human Impacts Pollutants by human activities added 300,000 tons of nitrogen. Then they added 12,000 tons of phosphorus in the ground waters in 1996. Then added on to the surface waters and elevate levels in the groundwater. In 2000 there was 2.5 million tons of sulphur dioxide released in the environment. Over time the wetlands are susceptible to direct or indirect impacts. Like, climate change, land-use change, droughts, and agriculture. A major stressor is siltation. It puts on the environmental stressor of habitats in streams and rivers.

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