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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
The River Basin
Climate and Weather
Water Quality
Ecology & Biodiversity
Aquatic Ecology
 Building Blocks
 Aquatic Habitats
 In the Basin
 Life in Aquatic Ecosystems
 Food Chains & Webs
 Biomass & Production
 Classification of Organisms
 Factors Affecting Aquatic Ecosystems
 Environmental Flows



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Aquatic Ecology  

Aquatic ecosystems include all forms of life within a water body including fish and aquatic invertebrates, and related communities such as riparian vegetation. The two main different aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystem and freshwater ecosystem. The classification of freshwater habitats includes aspects such as temperature, light infiltration and vegetation.

This section covers the following concepts and material:

The Lower Kunene River - an aquatic ecosystem in a desert environment.
Source: © Ostby 2007
( click to enlarge )

The functions of an aquatic ecosystem include:

  • Recycling nutrients;
  • Purifying water;
  • Attenuating floods;
  • Recharging groundwater; and
  • Providing habitats.

To maintain a healthy aquatic environment, the overall health of the system should outweigh the demands of any one user. Environmental changes can put pressure on an aquatic ecology, for example changes in water temperature and flow, toxins or the introduction of alien species. Human populations can impose excessive stresses on aquatic ecosystems.




Explore the sub-basins of the Kunene River

Video Interviews about the integrated and transboundary management of the Kunene River basin

Explore the interactions of living organisms in aquatic environments

Examine how the hydrologic cycle moves water through and around the earth