A biome is a formation of flora and fauna that have common characteristics and climates that can be found in different parts of the world. A variety of biomes are made up of a wide range of habitats such as; aquatic biome, forest biome, desert biome, grassland biome, and tundra biome. Whereas, aquatic biomes are further subdivided into freshwater and marine biomes.
Here in this article, we will provide detailed information about the freshwater biomes: climate, location, plants, and animals.
Freshwater biomes are very important for human survival. It is home to many different species and provides a lot of resources. Freshwater biomes make up only 0.8% of the entire water body on planet earth.
Freshwater biomes are large communities of plants and animals centered around waters with less than 1% salt concentration. The freshwater ecosystem is home to more than 40% of the world fish species and holds more than 20% of 10,000 freshwater fish species.
Although freshwater biomes are essential to human survival, some threats put it at risk. Pollution, global warming, and climate change are some of the reasons that put freshwater biomes into danger.
Types of Freshwater Biomes
Here are the types of freshwater biomes including ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands.
Ponds and Lakes
Ponds and lakes are still water, of which some tend to dry out over time, and some remain for years. Lakes and ponds are different from other sources of water as they do not move very fast, like rivers and streams. It offers a home to many kinds of plants and animals. Many of these organisms are structured to live in a specific type of freshwater habitat.
Sometimes ponds and lakes are referred to as lentil ecosystems, which means they consist of standing or still waters. Animals that live in lakes include different worms, insects, turtles, fish species, frogs, snails, crayfish, etc. Plants that thrive in lakes include lilies, bulrush, bladderwort, duckweed, stonewort, cattail, and many more.
River and Streams
Rivers and streams are the fast-moving bodies of water that flow only in one direction. It is also called as lotic ecosystems, which stands as moving water, as opposed to stagnant waters of lakes and ponds. Rivers and streams can be found in different sizes, including trickling streams and mile-wide rivers that can travel thousands of kilometers. It is the home of different animal species that live around waterways, including crocodiles, salamanders, snakes, fishes, snails, crabs, insects, beavers, and otters.
Similarly, plant species existing around rivers depend on their location and climate. The river plants like algae naturally populate the edges of the river and make water flow slowly. Star grass, tape grass, river birch, and willow trees are some of the plants that can be seen in the river and streams.
Wetlands are formed with a combination of land and water. It can be found in most parts of the world, mainly near to the rivers and lakes. Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet. It provides many benefits to the environment, such as; wildlife and fish habitat, flood storage, protection from shoreline erosion, natural water quality improvement, and many more.
Most importantly, it protects the organisms and provides safety by reducing flood damage and also preserves water quality. Examples of wetland plants include cypress trees, mangroves, water lilies, milkweed, and cattails. Examples of wetland animals include raccoons, beavers, crocodiles, alligators, deer, and minks.
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The freshwater biomes generally have a climate with moderate temperatures with a significant rainfall. Most of the freshwater biomes are situated in the polar regions of the Earth. Moreover, it encompasses a large area for different water bodies such as ponds, rivers, lakes, and streams.
Due to the uneven distribution, the environment of freshwater biomes differs depending on the region. During summer, the temperatures in freshwater biomes range from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Whereas, in the winter, the temperature goes up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Generally, the temperatures of freshwater biomes get dropped according to its depth. This phenomenon is more common in the lakes where movement is relatively less, and water is more profound than streams or rivers.
The freshwater biomes cover up to 20% of the land and 0.8% of the total water on the planet. Freshwater biomes include lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. Precipitation and temperatures are dependent on the region where it is situated. Most of the world’s wetlands are in temperate zones so they have warmer temperatures and higher precipitation.
Whereas, most of the lakes and rivers are located in mountains and valleys, and it has lower temperatures and less rainfall. Rivers are moving bodies that travel from mountains and get mixed into the ocean.
Plants are the essential factor of the freshwater biome. Quality of water, rate of flow, depth, and temperature are some of the major elements that affect freshwater biome plants. The fact is plants and algae play a vital role in preserving the freshwater biome because it provides oxygen and food for animals in the biome.
Similarly, sedge and grass are two popular plants that can be easily found in the biome. Some of the plants that can be seen in freshwater biomes are; mangrove leaves, water Lily, cattail, spike rush, bull rush, and many others. Likewise, cyanobacteria are also found mainly in almost all freshwater biomes.
Each animal, insects, and organisms in the freshwater biome play an important role in keeping the environment sufficient. There are over 1,200 amphibian species, 700 fish species, and a variety of insects available in the freshwater biome. It is true that freshwater biome is free from the harsh salt and provides a home to different plants, birds, insects, and animals. Even humans can also get benefit from the freshwater biome.
The common animals that can be found in the freshwater biome are a frog, turtles, crab, tadpoles, shrimp, raccoons, snakes, and many more. But, snakes are commonly found in freshwater biomes. Some animals live both in the water and on the land of the freshwater biome. The animals living on the ground are usually dependent on the lakes and streams to supply their water.
Freshwater biomes are very important for human survival and to life on Earth. It is home to many different species and provides food for us. The freshwater biome is enriched with many types of animals and plants are able to thrive in such a location. Moreover, it is also important to know that climate change and pollution are a serious threat to the freshwater biomes which need to be addressed.