Ecosystem #3

Ecosystem #3

Ecosystem #3 THE ESTUARY What is an Estuary? A semi-enclosed body of water where freshwater and saltwater

mix Other names for estuaries: Bay Sound Lagoon Inlet Estuary Classification Origin

Degree of Mixing Types of Estuaries by Origin Coastal Plain Tectonic Bar Built (or Barrier Island Estuary) Fjord

#1: Coastal Plain Estuary Most common Sometimes called a Drowned River Valley Formed at the end of the last ice age

when rising water flooded (or drowned) existing river valleys Examples: Tampa Bay Chesapeake Bay (MD), Narragansett Bay (RI) Coastal Plain Estuary

Chesapeak e Bay (MD) #2: Tectonic Estuary Caused by earthquakes where folding or faulting may create

bays with narrow inlets to the sea Examples: San Francisco Bay Tectonic Estuary #3: Bar Built Estuary

Also called Barrier Island Estuaries These are most commonly barrier islands that are separated from land by a shallow lagoon Usually

shallow with reduced tidal action Examples: Common along the Texas and Florida Gulf Coasts and the Outer Banks of NC Bar Built Estuary

#4: Fjords Valleys that have been cut deeper by moving glaciers and then invaded by the sea Usually narrow, straight, long and

with steep sides Examples: Alaska, Canada, Norway, etc. Fjords

Estuary Classification by Stratification DEGREE OF MIXING Degree of Mixing? Estuaries can be classified by how

the freshwater and saltwater mix The basic flow pattern Freshwater flows on the surface toward the ocean while seawater flows into the estuary below the surface Most Common Types of Mixing Vertically Mixed Salinity is consistent from top to bottom

Slightly Stratified/Partially Mixed Lower layers of water typically saltier than upper layers (Ex. Tampa Bay) Highly Stratified/Salt Wedge Least mixed Forms when a rapidly flowing large river enters the ocean in an area where tidal range is low

Example: Mississippi River Salt Wedge Vertically Mixed Partially Mixed

In your notes, draw a sketch of what each type of mixing would look like! USE 2 COLORS TO INDICATE FRESHWATER VS. SALTWATER AND BE SURE TO LABEL

Why are Estuaries Important? VIDEO CLIP RECORD IN YOUR NOTES Why are Estuaries Important?

Habitat for may plants and animals (including land dwellers like humans & birds) Nursery ground Protect water quality by filtering out dirt and pollution Recreation (fish, swim, kayak, bird watch, etc.)

Economy (food, fishing charters and other recreation) Importance Contd Estuaries trap and accumulate sediment that comes from rivers which makes the estuary rich in nutrients (elements & compounds)

and biologically productive (lots of plants & animals) What problems can you foresee with this process Eutrophication An overabundance of nutrients that

causes an ecological imbalance Fertilizer estuaries runoff is also trapped in White Boards: WHAT LIMITS PRODUCTIVITY IN

AN ESTUARY? IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT MAY KEEP LIVING THINGS FROM SPENDING TIME IN AN ESTUARY? What Limits Productivity in an Estuary? Organisms must be able to tolerate a

wide range of salinities Osmotic stress caused by tides Decomposition depletes the oxygen in nutrient rich sediment The

rotten egg smell is a result of sulfides released by anaerobic sulfur bacteria Everything is Connected! How do estuaries contribute to the productivity of adjacent ecosystems? By

increasing the number of individuals that survive to adulthood Safer than the open ocean By

providing nutrients while reducing eutrophication & other damage that could make its way out to the open ocean

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