Estuaries!

Michael Scampato, Emma Young, and Mackenzie McGuire

What is an Estuary?

An Estuary is a body of water that is usually located where rivers meet the sea. An Estuary is the body of water itself, as an extremely productive ecosystem that could surround it. A Coastal Plain is an Estuary that is created from glaciers that are millions of years old melting. Though Estuaries are the most productive ecosystems in the worlds, they are also very delicate, as many animals rely on it for survival. Estuaries are home to many unique animals that indigenous to these areas. However, Estuaries are not only important to wildlife that rely on it for survival, but human rely on Estuaries for a plethora of things. Too much human interaction with Estuaries have led to a decrease in their health and productivity.
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Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay is an example of a Coastal Plain Estuary in the United States. A Coastal Estuary is created from melting glaciers that were millions of years old. A Coastal Plain Estuary also has high sea levels due to the melted Glaciers. The Chesapeake bay has a high sea level that is increasing. Costal Plain Estuaries are also sometimes referred to as "drowned river valleys".
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What are the Abiotic Factors of Estuaries

There are numerous abiotic factors playing a role in the fauna and flora of an estuary. For example, the survival of some organisms depends on water depth. Some organisms are able to survive in deep or shallow water, while others cannot. Air and water temperatures also determine survival of various species. Many organisms have a range of temperatures in which they can survive, and the climate of estuaries attracts the species which can survive in it. Levels of salt in the water also helps some organisms to live and others to not survive. Just like temperature, all organisms have a range of salt capacity that they can handle. The amount of oxygen in water also affects all organisms. Some need less or more oxygen than others. The turbidity of the water, is how cloudy the water is based on the movement of it. This can take positive and negative affects on varying organisms. The pH balance of the water also allows some organisms to survive while others don't; all organisms can handle various pH levels and estuaries allow certain organisms to survive if they can handle its pH level. Soil types and types of nutrients also allow various organisms to survive and thrive while others die off. Meanwhile, the level of sunlight takes affect on the amount of flora that can survive in an estuary. Lastly, the currents and movement of the water affects the turbidity and therefore indirectly affects many organisms trying to survive in this biome.

Animals Among Estuaries

Estuaries contain hundreds of various fauna species. Just to name a few, there is the River Otter, the American Coot, the Skeleton Shrimp, the Green Darner, the Native Littleneck Clam, and the Great Blue Heron. The River Otter has adapted to its surroundings by becoming an incredible swimmer. Its coloring also allows it to blend in well with the plants and grass areas of an estuary. The American Coot is able to live in extremely moist environments and the estuary offers all the nutrients it needs. Its black color allows it to blend in with the darker more boggy areas of the biome. The Skeleton Shrimp is nearly invisible to the naked eye. Its extremely small size and clear color allows it to survive in the estuary by blending in virtually everywhere it goes. The Green Darner is an insect with a green body and clear wings. Its coloring allows it to blend in with much of the flora surrounding it. Its light wings also allow it to fly around quickly to escape predators. The Native Littleneck Clam has extremely light coloring allowing it to blend in with brown grass, sand at the bottom of the water, as well as foggy water itself. It can easily hide from predators while ingesting the nutrients it needs from the water's floor. Lastly, the Great Blue Heron has a large beak to reach under the water and quickly grab unsuspecting fish. Its large size and sharp mouth allows it to defend itself well from predators. It can also fly away quickly when it needs to.

Vegetation Among Estuaries

Digital Media Extensions Regarding Estuaries

Larger Animals of the Estuary - 021

Work Cited

"Abiotic and Biotic Factors in Estuaries." Abiotic and Biotic Factors in Estuaries. N.p., n.d.

Web. 16 May 2016.

"Estuary Plants." Estuary Biomes. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

"NERRS Video Gallery." NERRS Video Gallery. NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

"About Estuaries - Where Rivers Meet the Sea." About Estuaries - Where Rivers Meet the Sea. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

"Estuaries." NOAA's National Ocean Service Education:. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

"Estuary Animals." NatureMapping. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.

"Estuary." National Geographic Society. N.p., 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 May 2016.

"What Is an Estuary?" What Is an Estuary? N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2016.