What is an aquatic ecosystem?


Quick Answer

An aquatic ecosystem is a community of organisms and their interactions in a water environment. This type of ecosystem doesn't have to be large. A drop of water contains an entire aquatic ecosystem because the microorganisms in that drop of water are independent of outside organisms and completely supported by that small amount of water.

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What is an aquatic ecosystem?
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Full Answer

An aquatic ecosystem contains a large variety of life, from fish and reptiles to microscopic organisms such as bacteria and fungi. There are several types of aquatic ecosystems including marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

A marine ecosystem is a salt water ecosystem and the largest aquatic ecosystem in the world. A marine ecosystem, in turn, is divided into smaller ecosystems or zones. For instance, a coral reef is its own ecosystem as are lagoons and intertidal zones. These ecosystems contain algae, corals, fish and sharks.

Another major type of aquatic ecosystem is a freshwater ecosystem, which consists of lentic or slow-moving water ecosystems, lotic or fast-moving water ecosystems and wetland ecosystems. Lentic ecosystems include ponds and lakes, which break down into smaller zones or ecosystems including littoral zones, open-water zones and deep-water zones. Lotic ecosystems include rivers and streams. While lentic and lotic ecosystems are rich in fish, wetland ecosystems largely contain vascular plants and a variety of animal species.

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