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Water Ecosystem: Definition, Characteristics, and Types

by Widiya

The Earth is one of the many planets in the solar system that has an extraordinary abundance of natural wealth. This is why the Earth is the only planet that can be inhabited by living things. The environment that exists on Earth is always diverse and distinguished from one another. Even then, the category of differentiation is based on various things. One of the categories of differentiation is based on the area and also the number of living things.

According to the aspect of biology, we will find that we are taught to recognize the mention of living things in terms of numbers. The mention is as follows:

  • Individuals, namely one living creature or living creature that is only one.
  • Population, which is a group of individuals of the same type or two or more living things that have the same type.
  • Community, which is a collection of populations that are in a certain area and a certain time and interact with each other and influence each other. The assembled population consists of various types of living things so that this community is a type of population that occupies a certain area. The area or region occupied is called habitat.
  • Ecosystem, which is the interaction between the community and its environment. If in the community we are talking about only living things, then this ecosystem has involved the environment and various abiotic components, such as air temperature, sunlight, humidity, rocks, and so on so that it can be said that this ecosystem is more complex than the community because it involves the environment.

Well, those are the number of levels of living things on Earth. Of the four levels, the ecosystem is the most complex level. This is because ecosystems, besides occupying large areas, also involve biotic and abiotic components.

On this occasion, we will discuss one of the four levels of living things and their environment. This article will present a more complete account of aquatic ecosystems which include understanding, characteristics, components, types, and also examples.

Water Ecosystems

Perhaps this water ecosystem we have often heard and come in and out in our sense of hearing. Yes, indeed the ecosystem is a discussion learned when sitting in elementary school. Before further talking about water ecosystems or aquatic ecosystems, the first thing we have to do is get to know the ecosystem. How to get to know this ecosystem can be seen from its understanding.

Not much different from the definition of the ecosystem in general, this water ecosystem is an ecosystem where the external environmental factors are dominated by water as a habitat for various kinds of aquatic organisms. In other words, this water ecosystem is an environment consisting of biotic and abiotic components and is dominated by water as a habitat for these components.

Characteristics of Water Ecosystems

Ecosystems are one natural or environmental entity in which there are biotic and abiotic components. Therefore, in nature, there is not only one type of ecosystem but there are many types of ecosystems, considering that the environment on Earth is not just waters. Broadly speaking, the ecosystems on Earth are divided into two types, namely terrestrial ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems or water ecosystems. Because there is more than one type of ecosystem, these ecosystems have their own characteristics.

Water ecosystems have several special characteristics that will distinguish them from other types of ecosystems. Besides its habitat which is dominated by waters, there are still other characteristics that are known to be possessed by this aquatic ecosystem. Regarding the characteristics possessed by a water ecosystem, here are the characteristics of the water ecosystem:

  • The environment is dominated by waters – Water ecosystems are ecosystems whose habitat is dominated by water. Nevertheless, there are still parts of this ecosystem that are not in the form of waters but with a very small number or percentage. An example is the surface of the water, although this part is still included in the water ecosystem but has mixed with air.
  • Inhabited by creatures that live in water or amphibians – This water ecosystem is inhabited by creatures that live in water, as well as in two realms (water and land). So from that, in this water ecosystem, we will meet animals and plants like that.
  • Limited sunlight – Unlike terrestrial ecosystems that are exposed to much sunlight, in this aquatic ecosystem, we will find limited or less sunlight because this sunlight can only penetrate a few meters in the water. So, this ecosystem only gets limited sunlight.
  • Temperature changes are not too extreme – In contrast to land ecosystems that have extreme temperature differences between day and night, these aquatic ecosystems do not have extreme differences between the two conditions. Terrestrial ecosystems have extreme temperatures because they get a lot of sunlight during the day and are exposed to lots of wind so that this causes a very noticeable temperature difference while this water ecosystem only gets limited sunlight and is not too much exposed to the wind. So, the temperature difference is not too extreme.
  • There are consumers and producers – Just like terrestrial ecosystems, these aquatic ecosystems also have creatures that act as consumers and also producers. If on land acting as a producer are plants, then in the water which acts as a producer is phytoplankton. While those who act as consumers are animals and also water predators.

Those are the characteristics of a water ecosystem. Water ecosystems do have some similarities and also differences with land ecosystems. This is a form of diversity in an appearance on Earth as a planet that has planetary features that can be inhabited by living things.

Water Ecosystem Components

Ecosystems are interactions between various biotic and abiotic components that occupy a large area. Therefore components are part of the ecosystem. In one ecosystem there are two types of components, namely:

  • Biotic component, which is a component consisting of living creatures that have characteristics as living things (can move, eat and drink, develop prickly, and are sensitive to stimuli). Examples of biotic components in aquatic ecosystems include fish, phytoplankton, zooplankton, plants that live in water, amphibians, and other aquatic animals.
  • An abiotic component, a component that is the opposite of the biotic component. That is a component that consists of objects that do not live but their existence has an influence on the survival of living things in the environment. Abiotic components that exist in aquatic ecosystems include sunlight, rock, air or oxygen, and temperature.

Those are the components in the water ecosystem. These components must indeed exist to form an environment called an ecosystem. Therefore, in this water ecosystem, we will find various kinds of these components.

Types of Water Ecosystems

As we all know that the Earth which is a planet in the solar system that can be inhabited by living things has a surface span consisting of land and also waters. Water is a type of abundant natural resource on Earth. In fact, not only will we find water in the sea and the oceans but on land, we can also find water sources, such as various lakes, rivers, swamps, reservoirs, and so on.

As with other types of water, the aquatic ecosystem also has several types or several kinds. This type of water ecosystem depends on the location of the waters. Regarding water ecosystems which consist of several types, here are the kinds of water ecosystems:

  1. River Ecosystem or Freshwater Ecosystem

The first type of water ecosystem is the river ecosystem. The ecosystem we are going to talk about is also often referred to as a freshwater ecosystem. This river ecosystem or bargain ecosystem is an ecosystem that is in a river environment. It is referred to as a freshwater ecosystem because the water around this ecosystem has a tasteless and not salty taste such as seawater.

This freshwater ecosystem or river ecosystem turns out to have many characteristics. The characteristics possessed by freshwater ecosystems are a differentiator from other ecosystems. Some of the characteristics possessed by river or freshwater ecosystems include:

  • Have a low salinity or salt level. The salt content in the river or freshwater ecosystem is very low, even lower than the cytoplasm.
  • Temperature is not extreme. These freshwater or river ecosystems have variations or levels of temperature changes that are not too extreme. The point is that between day and night, there is no difference in temperature that is too striking.
  • Limited sunlight can enter. In freshwater or river ecosystems, there is sunlight but in limited quantities, even less. This is because sunlight can only penetrate up to a few meters in the water. As a result, only certain areas or parts can enjoy the sunlight.
  • Influenced by climate and weather. Although the water environment only has a slight influence from conditions that exist in nature, this water environment still has influence. Influence is mainly due to the weather and also the climate. Although not too much affected by weather and climate such as terrestrial ecosystems, this water ecosystem is still influenced by both of these.

Those are the characteristics of a freshwater ecosystem or river ecosystem. This freshwater ecosystem turns out to be divided into 2 types based on the motion of the water. Both types of freshwater ecosystems are limber ecosystems and lotic ecosystems. Limber ecosystems are ecosystems where the water is calm or not flowing, and the lotic ecosystem is an ecosystem where the water moves.

  1. Marine Ecosystem

The second type of aquatic ecosystem is the marine ecosystem. As the name implies, marine ecosystems are a type of ecosystem that is in the territorial waters of the sea. As with freshwater ecosystems, the marine ecosystem also has its own characteristics. The characteristics possessed by marine ecosystems are special properties and are only possessed by the seawater ecosystem. Some of the properties possessed by seawater ecosystems include:

  • Has a high salt content. Unlike the freshwater ecosystem, this seawater ecosystem actually has a high salt content. The salt content of this seawater ecosystem is 0.3%. The amount of salt with this amount is similar to the density of protoplasm.
  • There is life in all its parts. This marine ecosystem is a type of ecosystem that has life in every part of it. All depths in the sea have life, except on the very seabed. A deep seafloor is a place that is not suitable for life.
  • Interconnected ecosystems. This seawater ecosystem is a type of ecosystem that is interconnected with each other. This is one of them due to the long and wide sea area. Therefore, this ecosystem is very possible to mix with one another because of the circulation of seawater.
  • There is a waste of energy. The marine ecosystem is a type of ecosystem that has a relatively long food chain. Therefore, there is a lot of energy waste along the food chain.

Those are the characteristics of marine ecosystems. Similar to freshwater ecosystems or river ecosystems, these marine ecosystems in each depth have their own characteristics. The surface area has more production activities compared to the inside or the base. This is because on the surface of the sun’s light, it is easier to enter.

(Also read: 10 Marine Natural Resources and Their Benefits For Us)

Examples of Water Ecosystems

Water ecosystem can be easily find around our environment. There are many examples of water ecosystems that we can find, for example, river ecosystems, lake ecosystems, swamp ecosystems, reservoir ecosystems, and also marine ecosystems or oceanic ecosystems. All of these ecosystems are easy to find and are numerous. Even though the environment or type of water that is owned is different, it still includes water or aquatic ecosystems.

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