INSHORE MARINE HABITATS
SUBSTRATE: Mixtures of sand, silt, clay, and shell
TOPOGRAPHY: Low-lying, coastal areas covered by shallow
VEGETATION / ALGAE: Submerged sea grass beds are one
of the most productive and important habitats of inshore marine
systems; these beds are also substrates for epiphytic (attached)
algae, an important component of the sea grass food web.
FAUNA: Benthic (bottom) organisms determine to a considerable
degree the community that lives in overlying water column; many
fish and invertebrate species spend all or part of their life cycle
in these habitats; shrimp, blue crabs, and spotted seatrout are
examples of especially important recreational and commercial species;
oysters are concentrated in inshore areas along the Gulf coast,
particularly the Apalachicola estuary.
PROCESSES / DYNAMICS / ABIOTIC FACTORS: Habitats contain
sea water diluted by land runoff; water temperature, salinity, and
dissolved oxygen are important determiners of species' diversity
and overall ecosystem productivity.
HUMAN IMPACTS: Upland restrictions of freshwater flow;
removal of wetlands and grass beds; pollution from industrialization,
urbanization, recreation, and agriculture.
ANIMALS AND PLANTS NATIVE TO ECOSYSTEM: List of selectable
and plants native to the Inshore Marine Habitats ecosystem,
with detailed descriptions and pictures on each.