Water and ecology

Water and ecologyEcology refers to the detailed analysis of the interaction between various organisms and the surrounding environment. Various organisms depend on each other for getting their nutrition. This forms a vast web of interconnections among various animals and organisms. It is referred to as food web. Various such food webs form the ecosystem of a place. These various ecosystems together are known as ecology and even a little disturbance in a food web can destroy the whole structure. The nonliving aspects like water, terrain, altitude etc. present in an environment are also responsible for affecting the ecology. Water is one of the most important aspects of ecology as existence of life on earth is based on it. Hence it’s a fundamental part of ecology.

Two types of aquatic systems

Water environments in which ecosystems successfully grow can be divided into saltwater and freshwater ecosystems. Most organisms cannot live in both the ecosystems as the organisms have evolved to sustain in a certain level of salinity. Coral reefs found in oceans are an example of salt water ecosystem while inland ponds and lakes are freshwater ecosystems. Both these ecosystem together form the water ecology.

Saltwater aquatic system

The saltwater aquatic system can further be divided into Coastal and Open ocean aquatic systems. The coastal part is not much in area but it supports most of aquatic life found in oceans. Estuaries, Swamps and Coastal Wetlands form a part of coastal aquatic systems. Swamps are formed along many tropical coasts and this supports the swamp ecosystem. Coastal reefs are formed in clear coastal waters in tropical and subtropical region. It is the most diverse and crowded ecosystem that supports various life forms. The open ocean is not populated with life forms but few organisms still survive there. The decomposers can be found on the ocean bed, they help to decompose all the remains of aquatic organisms into simple nutrients which can further be used by other organisms.

Freshwater aquatic system

The freshwater aquatic systems contain less than 1% dissolved salt and 41% of recognized fish species are found here. Only 1% of earth’s surface is covered with freshwater in the form of ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Rain water wash off nutrients from surroundings and deposit them in these water bodies. These nutrients are absorbed by aquatic plants which are further eaten by primary consumers like fishes. Stagnated water bodies are fed by rainfall and ground water. Flowing water bodies like rivers and streams generally have few plankton species that are eaten by fishes.

Natural and manmade causes for destruction of water ecology

Thus it can be observed that Water is a very important part of our ecology and it is directly or indirectly essential for all living organisms. There are few limitations that prohibit the growth of organisms in certain part of the aquatic system. These are sunlight, dissolved oxygen content and essential nutrients. As depth increases all these resources become scarce and hence life forms cannot grow. Apart from these natural factors human beings are also responsible for destroying certain water ecologies. Over fishing, Eutrophication, global warming has tremendous negative effect of water ecosystems and these are pushing many species to the verge of extinction.