Freshwater Aquatic Biomes

Freshwater Aquatic Biomes

Freshwater Aquatic Biomes

Freshwater Aquatic Biomes

Synopsis

The biome--an area of the earth that shares similar geography, climate, animals, and plants--is the concept that forms the backbone for studying the living world. Without a firm understanding of how animals and plants have adapted to a particular region of the earth, students would not have a strong grasp of the fields of ecology and environmental science. The Greenwood Guides to Biomes of the World provides students with a solid foundation for understanding biomes and how they compare and interact with one another. With the exception of the introductory volume, which provides general background information, volumes focus on:

Tropical rainforests and tropical seasonal rainforests

The major types of temperate forests: boreal forests, broadleaf deciduous, Mediterranean woodland, and scrub

The temperate grasslands and the tropical grasslands

Deserts

High altitudes and polar biomes

Wetlands, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams

Saltwater biomes along coastlines, on the continental shelf, and the open sea.

The set also provides discussions, graphs, charts, and illustrations to provide students with a more sophisticated understanding of this essential scientific concepts."

Excerpt

This volume describes the freshwater aquatic biome, which consists of lakes, rivers, and wetlands. These life zones are distinguished from terrestrial biomes, such as deserts and tropical forests, and from the marine biome. They thus occupy a unique place in the biosphere. That said, as is the case with other biomes, our conceptual categories are much neater than living nature, which is much more likely to have fluctuating gradients rather than sharp dividing lines. Thus, for example, freshwater and saltwater tidal marshes exist along a continuum of salinity; riparian wetlands may be part of the river at times. Nonetheless, our use of concepts and categories helps us to make sense of the world, and in this volume, many concepts applicable to freshwater systems are introduced.

Just as this series follows the conventional biogeographic division of Earth’s living systems into the major biomes, I have followed standard practice in categorizing the freshwater aquatic biome into the three major categories of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. One type of life environment that does not fit easily into any of these three freshwater environments is salt lakes. They are not freshwater environments; nonetheless they are included in this volume, because, one might say, a salt lake is more like a lake than like the ocean.

In each of the major freshwater aquatic environments, three examples are presented in some depth. In each case, I describe a low-, a mid-, and a high-latitude system. While this approach is a little different from that followed in the volumes on terrestrial biomes, it offers a broader range of specific manifestations of freshwater aquatic environments. For example, lakes at very different latitudes are likely . . .

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