Home | Field Sites | Teacher Resources | Student Activities | Ecosystems | Program Info
INSHORE MARINE HABITATS

SUBSTRATE:  Mixtures of sand, silt, clay, and shell fragments.

TOPOGRAPHY:   Low-lying, coastal areas covered by shallow water.

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 animals and plants native to the Inshore Marine Habitats ecosystem, with detailed descriptions and pictures on each.