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December 21, 2014

Homework Help: Environmental Science

Posted by y912f on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 5:07pm.

#54. In two or three well-developed paragraphs, define and list two characteristics of each of the following: coastal wetlands, coral reefs, and oceans.

I'm not sure what it means by defining and listing two characteristics.
here's my answer:
Coastal wetlands are coastal land areas that are covered by salt water for all or part of the time. They provide a home and nesting areas for many fish and wildlife. These areas also absorb any excess rain, which protects areas from flooding. They also filter out pollutants and sediments, and provide recreational areas for boating, fishing, and hunting. There are a lot of coastal wetlands that form in estuaries, which are areas in which fresh water from a river mixes with salt water form the ocean. As these different bodies of water meet, currents form and cause mineral-rich mud and other nutrients to fall to the bottom.
Limestone ridges built by tiny coral animals called coral polyps are known as coral reefs. These animals secrete skeletons of limestone which slowly accumulate and form coral reefs. There are thousands and thousands of species that live in the cracks and spaces of coral reefs. This makes coral reefs among the most diverse ecosystems on Earth.
Much of the oceanís life is concentrated in shallow, coastal waters. This is because water absorbs light, so sunlight that is usable by plants for photosynthesis penetrates only about 100m into the ocean before all of the sunlight is absorbed. Phytoplankton grow only in areas where there is enough light and nutrients. Therefore, the open ocean is one of the least productive of all ecosystems. The seaís smallest herbivores are the zooplankton such as jellyfish and shrimp, which live near the surface with the phytoplankton they eat.

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