Botany Bay Wetland Ecosystem

2016 Semester 2 Science Research Task by Iris Xiao

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Location of Botany Bay

Botany Bay is an oceanic embayment located in the South of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is fed by the Georges and Cooks River and flows 10km to the east before meeting its mouth, the Tasman Sea, the midpoint between Kurnell and La Perouse. A part of Botany Bay was declared a nature reserve in 1982 to protect its diverse wetland ecosystem of flora and fauna.
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Biotic Factors and Abiotic Factors

Botany Bay consists of many biotic and abiotic factors that make up the wetland ecosystem. These factors have a significant impact on the reproduction and survival of each species in Botany Bay.

BIOTIC FACTORS include all the living organisms in an ecosystem, their interactions, and their waste products.

Three Biotic Factors are:

-Producers also known as autotrophs convert energy into food from sunlight or chemical energy from deep sea vents. Examples of producers at Botany Bay are phytoplankton, eelgrass, epiphytes, seaweeds and algae.

-Consumers also known as heterotrophs cannot manufacture its own food and instead obtain energy from its producers. Examples of consumers at Botany Bay are krill and zooplankton.

-Decomposers also known as detritivores break down chemicals from dead plants or animal matter, returning essential nutrients to the ecosystem. Examples of decomposers ay Botany Bay include microorganisms such as bacteria and protists, as well as larger organisms such as fungi, insects, worms and isopod crustaceans.

Three Abiotic Factors are:

-Sunlight Penetration is an especially important factor as it is necessary for photosynthesis in the water as well as on land.

-Water is a very important biotic factor as all plants and animals must have water to grow. Without water, plants and animals become weak and confused and die if they do not rehydrate.

-Oxygen is an essential element in virtually all biological environments. Animals need oxygen for respiration and plants need oxygen for photosynthesis

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The ecosystem of Botany Bay consists of a wide variety of plant and animal species. Eight organisms that area part of the wetland ecosystem are:

- Sea Urchins

- Sea Hare

- Pacific Golden Plover

- Blue-lined Octopus

- Blue Swimmer Crab

- Pipefish

- Grey Mangrove

- Pygmy Squid

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Human Impact

Human activity has a great impact on the community of organisms and the environment on which they live in. Three major human activities are:

An oil refinery is an industrial process where crude oil is processed and refined into products like petroleum and store it. The refinery has a huge impact on water quality and marine life as the petroleum distributed contains many hazardous metals such as lead, arsenic, nickel, cobalt and chromium. When marine animals come into contact with the oil, this can result in:

- The reduction of growth

- Unfunctional gills

- High chance of birth defects

Dredging is the excavation of sediments and disposing of them at a different location to accommodate for large ships. Dredging has a significant impact on water currents and marine life as it removes the sea floor as well as any vegetation located on it. Primary consumers will no longer have food and this will affect the entire food chain. Dredging can also affect the local patterns of waves and currents. water will flow to deeper areas and as a result, nutrients will be lost in areas where organisms live.

Aviation is a major environmental impact as aeroplanes emit heat, noise and gases which contribute to:

- Climate change or Global warming which is the increase in the Earth's temperature caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Many different parts of ecosystems are being affected by the increase in warmth. Global warming can change the chemical composition of water , therefore the amount of oxygen in the water may decline, leaving pollution and salinity levels to increase.

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Pygmy Squid

Common Name: Southern Pygmy Squid

Scientific Name: Idiosepius Notoids

Description of Habitat: Pygmy squids are distributed along the Australian and Southern Pacific. They are abundant in seagrass beds near reefs in bays and inlets.

Diet: Pygmy squids feed on tiny shrimps and crustaceans.

Adaptations: Pygmy squids have two ink sacs that allow them to adapt to their environment and camouflage to their surroundings. This helps them to hide from their predators and allow them to catch their prey. They use their glue gland on their body to hide under seagrass leaves, and t catch prey, they rapidly approach shrimps from behind and bite the nerve cord to immobilise them.

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Common Name: Pipefish

Scientific Name: Syngnathidae

Description of Habitat: The pipefish is typically found in tropical or subtropical regions. They live in seagrass beds, among reefs, lagoons, estuaries and rivers.

Diet: Pipefishes prey upon small aquatic organisms and feed by sucking food rapidly into the mouth. The pipefish is adapted to eat tiny crustaceans such as copepods and mysids shrimp and larger pipefish will sometimes eat small fish. Some pipefish species have been able to adapt to eating parasites off other fish.

Adaptations: Pipefish camouflage themselves within grass beds by imitating blades of grass which allow them to hide from predators and catch prey easier. Pipefishes are very slender, long-bodied fishes that are covered with rings of bony armour for protection. They have a fused jaw which creates a long, tubular snout that is used for sucking in thei prey.

Food Web

Ecosystems rely on a balance of producers, consumers, and decomposers to make up this living community.
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Reliability of Sources

To create a correct, reliable poster, I had to ensure that I used reliable sources of information in order to make sure I obtain the correct knowledge. I visit many different sources to prove that a fact is correct. I evaluated a website’s reliability by the author, primary or secondary, purpose and the published date. I have elected sources that are created by the government and science institutions to support my research. I tried to minimise the use of sites that can be altered by anyone such as Wikipedia. Although secondary sources are quiet reliable, primary sources can make a source more dependable. Older websites can contain outdated information that is inaccurate compared to new and updated information. Collecting information from a reliable, unbiased and useful source allows me to gain the right information and help me in the future.