Free Games & Activities
An estuary is an area where seawater mixes with fresh water. Each day as the tide rises salt water is brought into the estuary, freshwater continues to come down the rivers and creeks and mixes with the seawater. An estuary is defined by the salinity rather than the geography. Many coastal features designed by other names are in fact estuaries, for example the Chesapeake Bay. Many animals can live in both salt and freshwater. Because estuaries exist where salt and freshwater meet they exist in many parts of the world including tropical, temperate and even Arctic temperatures. Because estuary waters contain salt water some plants have adapted to the saline. Plants that typically grow in estuaries include mangroves, mushrooms and sea grasses. An estuary is a type of biome.
A biome is a large naturally occurring community of plants and animals occupying a large habitat, for example a forest or tundra. Biomes are typically defined by their claimant and dominant vegetation including grassland, tundra, desert, rainforest, and forests. A desert biome is great for a heat loving lizzard, but a koala bear needs the leafy greens of a forest biome. A biome is different than an ecosystem, and can be made up of many ecosystems.
Habitats are places where plants and animals live. A habitat will provide food and water and shelter to the inhabitants. There are many different types of habitats around the world from humid hot forests to vast grasslands, from icy mountain slopes to the hottest deserts. Different habitats are home to different animals. Every organism has certain habitat needs to thrive. A habitat isn't always just based on a geographical area; it can be the interior of a rotten log, a clump of loss or a single cell within a host body. Habitats can change over time because of an earthquake, a tsunami, a wildfire or because of human activities like clear-cutting forests.