A freshwater biome is one that many people overlook the importance of. They are much smaller bodies of water, but important just the same. These freshwater biomes include lakes, rivers, streams, and creeks. They all dump water into a marsh area, typically from the mouth of the rivers. Some that people never consider though include ditches, gutters, canals, and even puddles. They too can be a freshwater biome due to the fact that life will use them for survival.
Freshwater biomes cover 1/5 of the Earth and they are vital to our survival. More than half of the drinking water for humans and animals comes from this resource. When you take your daily shower you often just turn on the faucet and take it for granted. However, just about all of that water comes initially from a freshwater biome resource.
|Climate||From 39° to 71°F|
|Plants||Spike rush, bull rush, pickerel weed, cattail, and water lily, mangrove leaves.|
|Animals||Manatees, frogs, raccoon, mosquitoes|
|Location||Florida, Amazon River, lakes in Russia.|
These bodies of water don’t have to be very deep at all. They can be as low as only one foot of water in them. They never have more than six feet of water in them. The Florida Everglades in the United States is the biggest freshwater biome in the world. However, you will find freshwater biomes all over the world.
They are very important to the overall balance of things. Some people assume that this is the largest of all biomes but it isn’t. It is simply the fact that the freshwater biomes are so spread out every where you look that gives the impression that they do make up a larger area than they really do.
Freshwater Biome Characteristics
The freshwater biome is a location where there is plenty of nutrition and minerals. That is why so many types of plants and animals are able to thrive in such a location. You may not realize it but salt water can be very harsh. Such conditions aren’t ideal for many forms of plants and animal life. However, they are able to do very well in bodies of freshwater.
They vary in size significantly which can make giving characteristics of them difficult. However, as long as there is a pool of water that is free of salt it can be considered a freshwater biome. They are able to take on a vital importance in ways most of us don’t realize. The dips and ruts that shape them allow for water to be collected. When this occurs, the risk of flooding is alleviated in many areas. That water will be in one given area.
There is sediment found at the bottom of a freshwater biome. The slow moving or still water of them allows for it to remain in place. Unlike an ocean biome with salt water which is always moving, some freshwater biomes remain still all the time. Approximately 70% of the water that is used to irrigate crops comes from freshwater biomes. That amount can be more or less in a given area depending on the annual amount of rainfall.
Freshwater Biome Flora and Fauna
There is no shortage of animals or plants living in a freshwater biome. It is believed that more than 700 species of fish, 1,200 species of amphibians, mollusks, and insects all live in these areas. Many of them are very tiny so they may seem unimportant or be easy to miss. Yet they have a significant role in their environment just like the larger and well known inhabitants of such a location.
There are plenty of great animals that live in the water of the freshwater biome. They include frogs, crab, shrimp, turtles, and tadpoles. Some of them live both in the water and on the land around it including the beaver. The otter may be found living here as well. In large freshwater biomes the manatee could be present as well.
Fish are very common in the freshwater biome. In fact, these areas often draw people to them for fishing and relaxation. The types of fish you will find depend on the location and the time of year. It could be bass, salmon, or trout. The size of these fish can vary significantly as well. If they have lots of smaller fish to consume they will usually become a decent size.
There are plenty of animals that live just on land around the water. They include the raccoon, earthworms, and possums. The area is also very dominant by the presence of mosquitoes. However, where there is freshwater you will often find a huge number of different types of mammals. Many of them rely on the water to offer them a place for drinking.
You will find many species of low lying plants growing in the freshwater biome. This includes different types of grass and sedge. Sometimes you will find some trees in the freshwater biome, but they aren’t plentiful. There are plenty of plants that you may not be able to identify in such an area. They include spike rush, bull rush, pickerel weed, cattail, and water lily.
Cyanobacteria is the blue and green algae that you will find in most freshwater biomes. There are many animals that depend on this to feed if they are going to survive in such an environment. Flies and water fleas wouldn’t be able to exist without that algae. You may be saying who cares as they are merely pests. Yet they provide adequate amounts of food for birds, amphibians, and many other living things in the freshwater biome.
What many experts have noted though is that there are very few types of plants that can’t grow well in a freshwater biome. It is also important to note that the freshwater biome has the second largest diversity among the plants and animals that are found within it. This makes it both exciting to explore and a vital benefit to Earth as a whole.
What you will find living in a freshwater biome may surprise you in terms of the animals and plants that are found in it and around it. Even very small bodies of water can be more than sufficient to help sustain life in that area. There are several zones in freshwater biomes such as those around wetlands and those around estuaries. There is quite a variation in temperatures, amounts of water, and what will be found living in them.
Global Warming and Pollution
There are a couple of risk factors that are very serious threats to the freshwater biomes. The first has to do with pollution. Various forms of free radicals in the air can make it hard for animals to thrive and plants to grow like they should. Pollution due to human waste and chemical run off are also a problem in most areas.
Global warming is also a concern for many freshwater biomes. The level of water in them can make a huge difference when it comes to what is able to live there. Many of these locations with very small levels of water of completely dried up. Others are at risk of doing so in the near future. Many have drastically less water in them than they did just a decade ago.
With the number of people turning to bottled water, less is being consumed from the freshwater biome. However, there has been research to show bottled water has lots of contaminants in it. As consumers learn this they are less likely to continue spending their money on it. Plus, bottled water is a huge concern because so much of the plastic from the empty bottles ends up in the freshwater biome.