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Marine Ecosystems Quiz

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15 Questions

What is the primary characteristic of halophytic plants found in salt marshes?

They are tolerant of salt

What is the term for the study of ecosystems between the low and high tide lines?

Intertidal ecology

What is a characteristic of salt marshes that contributes to their high biodiversity?

The tendency of algae to bloom in shallow water

What is the condition of the intertidal at high tide?


What is a common misconception about salt marshes and other wetlands?

They are considered wastelands

What is a type of ecosystem that is often found in bays, estuaries, and lagoons?

Salt marsh ecosystem

What is the primary difference between a lagoon and an estuary?

Estuaries have a mix of fresh and saline water, while lagoons have limited freshwater input

What is a characteristic of bays that distinguishes them from lagoons and estuaries?

More open and less restricted flow

What is a favorable condition found in estuaries and bays?

Wide range of salinity

What is a common feature found near estuaries and bays?

Mangroves and seagrasses

What is a common use of Lagoons, Estuaries and Bays that is non-extractives?

Recreation and tourism

Which of the following is a source of pollution in Lagoons, Estuaries and Bays?

All of the above

What is the most common extractive activity in Lagoons, Estuaries and Bays?

Fishing and aquaculture

What is NOT a direct anthropogenic threat to Lagoons, Estuaries and Bays?

Pollution from domestic and industrial waste

What is an ecosystem service provided by Lagoons, Estuaries and Bays?

All of the above

Study Notes

Marine Ecosystems

  • Marine ecosystems include oceans, salt marshes, intertidal habitats, estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, and the deep sea and sea floor.
  • They are contrasted with freshwater ecosystems, which have a smaller salt content.

Characteristics of Marine Ecosystems

  • Considered ecosystems because plant life supports animal life and vice-versa.
  • Provide fish habitat, food, shelter from predators and competitors, migration routes, and reproduction cues.
  • Critical habitats include salt marshes, intertidal ecosystems, lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, beaches, coral reefs, and seagrass beds.

Salt Marsh Ecosystem

  • Transitional area between land and salty or brackish water (e.g., sloughs, bays, estuaries).
  • Dominated by halophytic (salt-tolerant) herbaceous plants.
  • Considered one of the most biologically productive habitats on the planet, rivaling tropical rainforests.
  • Tidal surges bring in nutrients, which tend to settle in plant roots, and natural chemical activity of salty water and algae blooms allow for great biodiversity.

Intertidal Ecosystem

  • Study of intertidal ecosystems involves interactions between organisms and their environment, as well as between different species within a community.
  • Organisms live between low and high tide lines, with exposure at low tide and immersion at high tide.
  • Vertical zonation is a key characteristic of intertidal ecosystems.

Lagoons, Estuaries, and Bays

  • Shallow, semi-enclosed, and sheltered littoral bodies of water.
  • Lagoons: semi-enclosed coastal basins with limited freshwater input, high salinity, and restricted circulation.
  • Estuaries: semi-enclosed coastal basins where freshwater from rivers mixes with saline water from the ocean.
  • Bays: more open littoral basins with flow not as restricted and salinity levels approaching the open sea.
  • Favorable conditions in these ecosystems include a wide range of salinity, near total light penetration, large quantities of organic nutrients, and high rates of vertical mixing.

Uses and Threats to Lagoons, Estuaries, and Bays

  • Uses: harbors, disposal sites, recreation, science and education, aquaculture, transport, fishing, sand mining, seed fish and shrimp collection, ornamental fish collection, gleaning, and desalination.
  • Threats: pollution from domestic sewage waste, domestic solid waste, sediments from erosion and construction, mine tailings, industrial organic and toxic wastes, agricultural chemicals, oil and fuel leaks, and landfills.

Explore the different types of marine ecosystems, including oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries, and their importance for supporting plant and animal life.

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