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Coastal Wetlands Section 7-2 What are Coastal Wetlands? 1. Areas covered by salt water for all or part of the time. 2. Classified as a marine ecosystem Why are they important? 1. Provide habitat and nesting areas for many fish and wildlife 2. Absorb excess rain, which protects against flooding 3. Filter out pollutants and sediments 4. Provide recreational areas for boating, fishing, and hunting Types of Coastal Wetlands 1. Estuaries 2. Salt Marshes estuary 3. Mangrove Salt marsh Swamps 4. Rocky & Sandy Shores rocky & sandy shore mangrove swamp A) Estuaries 1. Many coastal wetlands form in estuaries. 2. Estuary = an area where fresh water from a river mixes with salt water from the ocean. 3. As the two bodies of water meet, the currents cause mineral rich mud and other nutrients to fall to the bottom. 4. Therefore, they form nutrient traps. 5. Very productive ecosystems 6. Nutrient rich= diversity of producers 1) Plants & Animals of Estuaries a. Sunlight can reach all the way down to the bottom because the water is so shallow. b. Huge populations of rooted plants as well as phytoplankton. c. Organisms that live in here can tolerate variations in salinity (salt content). 2) Importance of Estuaries a. Provide protected harbors, access to the ocean, and connection to a river. b. Many of the world’s major ports are built on estuaries. (Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro) 3) Threats to Estuaries a. In populated areas, they were used as areas to dump wastes (early on). b. These areas were then developed as building sites. c. Pollutants: sewage, industrial waste, agricultural runoff (pesticides and fertilizers) B) Salt Marshes 1. Marsh grass dominates the shoreline. 2. Absorb pollutants & protect inland areas. C) Mangrove Swamps 1. Located along coastal areas of tropical and subtropical zones 2. Mangrove trees dominate where they grow partly submerged in the water. 3. Help protect the coastline from erosion and reduce the damage from storms 4. Breeding and feeding ground for over 2,000 species 5. Many have been destroyed. D) Rocky & Sandy Shores 1. Rocky shores have more plants and animal species. 2. Rocks provide anchorage. 3. Sandy shores dry out when the tide goes out. 4. Thin islands run parallel to the coastal shore and help protect the mainland.
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