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GACS lclab - Harsh - Honors Biology - Chapter 3 - Section 3.3 - Aquatic Ecosystems

aquatic ecosystems

grouped based on abiotic factors such as water flow, distance from shore, salinity and latitude

major freshwater ecosystems

include ponds, lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands

2.5 percent of Earth's water



water in rivers and streams flows in one direction, beginning at a source called


where flowing water empties into a larger body of water


material that is deposited by water, wind or glaciers

lake or pond

an inland body of standing water


nutrient poor lakes, often found in mountains


nutrient rich lakes, found at lower altitudes

lakes and ponds

divided into 3 zones based on the amount of sunlight that penetrates that water

littoral zone

area of lakes/ponds closest to the shore

limnetic zone

open water area that is well lit and is dominated by plankton


free-floating photosynthetic autotrophs that live in freshwater or marine ecosystems

profundal zone

deepest areas of a large lake

transitional aquatic ecosystems

aquatic environments that are a combination of two or more different environments;


areas of land such as marshes, swamps and bogs that are saturated with water and that suport aquatic plants


an ecosystem that is formed where freshwater form a river or a stream merges with salt water from the ocean


places of transition - from fresh to salt water and from land to sea

salt marshes

transitional ecosystems similar to estuaries

intertidal zone

narrow band whre the ocean meets land

intertidal zone

divided into vertical zones: low-tide zone, mid-tide zone, high-tide zone, spray zone

spray zone

area of intertidal zone that is dry most of the time

spray zone

only during high tides that this part of shoreline is sprayed with salt water and few plants & animals are able to live in this environment

high-tide zone

under water only during high tides

high-tide zone

receives more water than the spray zone, so more plants & animals are able to live there

mid-tide zone

undergoes severe disruption twice a day as tides cover & uncover the shoreline with water

mid-tide zone

organisms in this area must adapt to long periods of air and water

low-tide zone

covered wth water unless the tide is unusually ow

low-tide zone

most populated area of the intertidal zone

photic zone

also called the euphotic zone

photic zone

area to a depth of about 200M of the pelagic zone

photic zone

shallow enough that light can penetrate

aphotic zone

below the photic zone; where sun is unable to penetrate

zones in the open ocean

pelagic zone, abyssal zone and benthic zone

photic zone

part of pelagic zone

aphotic zone

part of pelagic zone

photic zone

animals living here include may species of fish, sea turtles, jellyfish, whales and dolphins

aphotic zone

remains on constant darkness and generall y is cold, but has thermal layering with a mixing of warm and cold ocean currents

aphotic zone

organisms that depend on light cannot live in this zone

benthic zone

area along the ocean floor that consists of sand, silt, and dead organisms

benthic zone

many species of fishes, octopuses and squids live in this zone

abyssal zone

deepest region of the ocean; water is very cold

abyssal zone

organisms in this zone rely on food materials that drift down from the zones above

abyssal zone

On the seafloor along the boundaries of the Earth's plates, hydrothermal vents spew large amounts of hot water, hydrogen sulfide and other minerals in this zone

coral reefs

widely distributed in warm shallow marine waters

coral reefs

form natural barriers along continents that protect shorelines from erosion


dominant organism in coral reefs


soft-bodied invertebrates that live in the stonelike structures


symbiotic relationship coral polyps have with algae; algae provide corals with food & in turn, coral provides protection and access to light for he algae


feed by extending tentacles to obtain plankton from the water

coral reef animals

microoorganisms, sea slugs, octopuses, sea urchins, sea stars, and fishes

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