Estuary Biome • Nathalie Ferrer • Heather Nastasi • Carolyn Grimes
Estuary Definition • An estuary is a coastal body of water, partially surrounded by land, in which freshwater and salt water mix.
Where are estuaries? • You can find an estuary anywhere a river goes into an ocean or sea. • For example: The Hudson River, The Mobile Bay and The Great Bay.
Average Rainfall of an Estuary • The average rainfall in the estuary in the Hudson River is 42 inches per year or about 3.5 inches a month.
The average temperature within the estuary of the Hudson River generally follow mean air temperature. Temperatures range from 32 degrees F in January, to 80.6 degrees F in July. Average Temperature of an Estuary
Growing Season • The growing seasons are mainly during Springs and Summers. • So basically the main growing season last for about 6 months. • Some reasons are because the water is warmer and there is more sunlight.
Unique Characteristics of the Estuary
Estuaries and coastal waters provide essential habitat for over 75% • of the commercial fish catch and 80-90% of the recreational catch of fish.
Fish living in estuarine areas are especially interesting because they have to adapt to the different changes. Such as the daily rise and fall of tides that creates water flow which distributes different amounts of food at different times of day.
Fishing, tourism, and recreational boating which depend on healthy and productive estuaries, provide more than 28 million jobs for our nation.
Rainy weather or hurricanes can cause bay and delta waters to become fresher due to heavy flows of water from rivers and streams within the watershed, allowing fish such as largemouth bass, bream, crappie, and catfish to move downstream.
Estuaries are among the most productive natural systems on Earth due to the mixing of nutrients from land and sea.
Estuaries do a lot of cleansing. Mangrove leaves start to decay before they fall off the tree.
There are 102 estuaries in the U.S. Of these 28 have been designated by their state and government to be of national importance.
In 1993 over 180 million Americans visited estuaries to do various sports such as fishing, swimming, and boating.
Estuaries are becoming more and more polluted. Now there is a project going on trying to save our estuaries to keep them cleaner and healthier.
Plants of the Great Bay Estuary
The tall, thick blades of grass growing in four to five foot stands at the water’s edge of a tidal marsh are Salt Marsh Cord Grass. They are able to handle saltwater and submersion at high tide twice daily. Salt Marsh Cord Grass
In the early summer Sea Lavender looks like a bouquet of branches rising up a foot or more above a clump of leathery, spoon shaped basal leaves. It grows in lower and middle intertidal zones alone or in groups. Sea Lavender
The thick, jointed branches of the Common Glasswort maintains a supply of freshwater within storage cells. Common Glasswort
Eelgrass is a flowering perennial that grows in sunlit sub tidal or intertidal beds. Eelgrass
The Sea Blite salt marsh prefers flooded grounds. It has highly branched stems with alternating green leaves that grow smaller toward the end of the stems. Sea Blite
The Salt marsh Hay is unable to cope with prolonged submersion in the tides. It dominates low to mid high marsh areas that rarely flood. Salt Marsh Hay
Spike Grass is a smaller, narrow stemmed grass with alternating green leaves found interspersed with salt hay. Spike Grass
During the summertime, the Black Grass is a high marsh grass that is often speckled with dark brown. They are food to the waterfowl, marsh birds and song birds. Black Grass
From August to October, the Perennial Salt marsh Aster adds a splash of color to the greens and browns of the high marsh with its light purple, blue, or white, daisy like flowers. Perennial Salt Marsh Aster
Animals of the Estuary
American Coot is all black with a white bill. They are omnivores and mainly eat fish and other aquatic animals. American Coot
The Harbor Seal has a diet that consists of mainly types of fish like Flounder or Perch. Harbor Seal
The Lesser Yellowlegs is a medium sized shore bird with long bright yellow legs, white rump and tail. It eats mainly fish. Lesser Yellowlegs
The Western Gull mainly eats invertebrates and fish. It has white legs a black bill and grey and white feathers. Western Gull
The Black Brant eats plants and eelgrass. It is black with a long snout. Black Brant
The River Otter is a semi aquatic mammal found in the North American Continent. They hunt at night, and eat fish, amphibians, and turtles. They have webbed feet, water repellent fur, and their ears close when they go into the water. River Otter
The Lugworm has a small head with no eyes. It digs u shaped borrows ranging from 7.8-15.7 inches. These worms will eat sand particles. Lugworm
Adult sun stars have 10-24 arms, while the baby sun stars have only 5. Sun Stars are one of the largest and heaviest sea stars. Sun star
The American Wigeon lives across North America from Alaska southward to Costa Rico. It feeds on aquatic plants, such as wild celery. American Wigeon
The Shiner Perch is one of the most common fishes in an estuary. They feed on Zoo Plankton. Shiner Perch are deep bodied with a dusky greenish back. Shiner Perch