The Pamlico Sound

An Estuary That's Wise Beyond Its Years

By: Austin Carpenter

Pamlico Sound
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Where is the Pamlico Sound?

The Pamlico Sound is an estuary that is located in Eastern North Carolina; the sound is fed by 5 major rivers and several smaller rivers and streams. The Pamlico Sound is boxed in by North Carolina's barrier island and it is also connected to a smaller sound, known as the Albemarle Sound. Because the freshwater streams and rivers (coming from the mountains) are emptying into a body of water that is connected to the ocean saltwater and freshwater are both mixing causing the area to have high biodiversity.


Info Source:

http://www.outerbanks.com/pamlico-sound.html

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Why is it important?

Estuaries in general are very important because they act as a natural filter for often-times contaminated water. This happens because the plants in this area have spongy roots that often filter out a lot of harmful chemicals in the water. Estuaries are also important because it is a calm environment for animals to live and grow in (hence the reason that many animals lay eggs in the estuaries). The water filtering that happens in estuaries also extracts nutrients from the water, which help return those nutrients back to the soil.


Info Source:

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/estuaries/estuaries03_ecosystem.html

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What are so animals/plants that are live in this estuary?

Because of its unique environment and stable water this estuary is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Animals that call the estuary home include fish, crabs, lobsters, marine worms and clams. Plants life that call this estuary home included seagrass, mangroves,spike grass,Sea Lavender, and Smooth Cordgrass.


Info Source:

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/estuarylife.html

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What rivers flow into the Pamlico Sound?

The Pamlico Sound has several rivers and streams flowing into it, but the major rivers are the Neuse River, the Roanoke River, and the Croatan River. These rivers all flow into the Pamlico Sound from different areas bringing fresh water to mix with the salt water of the ocean, forming the estuary.


Info Source:

http://omp.gso.uri.edu/ompweb/doee/science/descript/albpam.htm

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What are the threats to the Pamlico Sound?

The Pamlico Sound's most common threat is pollution; it seems that while estuaries act as nature's filtering system, sometimes the filtering system becomes polluted! While this leads to cleaner oceans it often times means that the animals that live in the estuary are put in danger. The estuaries are also the area where all the water from the river basins flows into meaning that a lot of the pollution on land is brought out to sea. Threats to the estuary ecosystem also include a single-celled (toxic) organism that grows in the condition of excess nutrients. This organism is called a dinoflagellate. They have often been attributed to the death of animals in the estuaries on mass scales.


Info Source:

http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/544