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Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems


Ecosystem is fundamental basis of existence and survival of any organism on the earth. However, due to the different classifications of organisms according to their wide variation in characteristics, ecosystems are equally different. Some of the examples of ecosystems that support various organisms on the earth include aquatic, terrestrial and desert. In this research work much attention is to be focused on the relationship between aquatic ecosystem and terrestrial one with their respective inhabitants. It will be equally important to note that each organism in its ecosystem possesses some intrinsic values and other unique attributes.


Aquatic ecosystem exists in the water where all the organisms (plants, animals and other species) freely interact and depend on each other to survive (Hollar, 2012). On the other hand, terrestrial ecosystem is considered as the environment on dry land. This is the ecosystem that is found everywhere on the surface of the earth, apart from the area covered by water. It is divided into other subclassifications depending on the type of organisms living in them. These include taiga, temperate deciduous forest, grasslands and tundra. The climatic characteristics of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems define biological and behavioral features of various organisms that live in them. The mode of interaction and level of interdependence of organisms in these two ecosystems also explores various adaptations of organisms in such ecological niches (Hollar, 2012). In exploring this topic, some organisms are taken as the control experiment to discuss mechanisms of survival among various organisms in the given ecological ecosystems.


It is worth noting that some organisms can live in aquatic ecosystem and transfer to terrestrial environment at a given stage. In this case a frog, which is an amphibian, will be taken into consideration. Egg laying and their subsequent fertilization are undertaken in aquatic environment by frogs. The basic properties of these eggs are that they are jellylike and covered with some chemicals that act as their protection mechanism against predators. They are equally numerous to enhance their chances of survival in such a harsh environment coupled with unfavorable temperature and varying PH (Findlay & Sinsabaugh, 2003). They hatch into tadpoles that feed on the aquatic vegetation, and when they developed into frogs they change their habitat to dry land where they feed on various small insects, plants and regulate their body temperature through behavioral modes which include hibernation during dry spell.

Some reptiles are also able to strike a balance between terrestrial environment and dry land. A typical example in this case is crocodile which at day time literally adventures into dry lands seeking body temperature regulation and food. Crocodile is a reptile that lives part of its life in fresh water where it keeps it food and suffocates its prey. However, it lays its eggs offshore and goes to dry land to seek favorable body temperature and hunt for food. This is the unique reptile with the ability to camouflage at the shore of the water body as a rock and sweep its prey into the water with a swift and accurate pursuit. In the aquatic ecosystem, the life of animals is basically supported by vegetation which constitutes plankton and other vegetation. But the growth of this vegetation is reliant on the bacteria that decompose the chemicals important for balancing the respiratory gases which are significant in determining the level of aquatic vegetation growth (Findlay & Sinsabaugh, 2003). One of the important features of Phytoplankton is that it has the ability to utilize oxygen dissolved in the water for its metabolic processes. There exists a mutual relationship within this ecosystem in respect to the aforementioned organisms, since each plays a role that is beneficial to the other within the niche.

In consideration to the terrestrial ecosystem, adaptation of various organisms will be explored. Consider an arid or desert ecosystem where the only source of water is deep under the ground or some sparsely located oases (Chapin, Matson, Vitousek, Chapin & SpringerLink, 2011). In such environments organisms possess unique attributes that help in their survival even in extreme conditions. Take the case of the desert lizard which is one of the reptiles that live the whole life in deserts. The desert lizards feed on crawling insects and partly soil to survive. The main bone of contention is water. This organism is able to retain the little water in its body through various adaptive mechanisms. One of them is that this lizard excretes uric acid as the nitrogenous waste which is less toxic and requires less water to dispose from the body. This explains why they save the little water in their systems. Harsh temperatures in this ecological system demand that lizards being poikilotherm seek shelters underneath the desert rocks and bask in the morning sun early in the morning when temperatures are extremely low. They also depend on metabolic water as opposed to their aquatic counterparts.

Another species that survives in terrestrial ecosystem under harsh weather conditions is the cactus which has totally opposite by its physiological features to the aquatic plants. This plant is able to retain water in its thick succulent leaves and stems owing to the difficulty of acquiring moisture in its habitat (Chapin, Matson, Vitousek , Chapin & SpringerLink (Online service), 2011). It has bitter taste and spikes that enhances its security against other organisms that can feed on it. If one takes the case of the temperate deciduous forests ecosystem, squirrel is one of the outstanding species that survives within the busy niche where competition for food and other ecological requirements are rife. Squirrels feed on insects and other small crawling organisms. They evade attacks by living in small holes in trees and underground. In summary, various ecological systems are able to support only those species of organisms that have behavioral and internal mechanisms of survival.

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