Aquatic Ecology

Aquatic Ecology Studies

Aquatic ecosystems include all environments where water is a dominant physical and chemical factor affecting plant and animal survival. Aquatic systems can be categorized by their relative position on a gradient of wetness, ranging from deep-water lake and marine habitats dominated by planktonic algae, through shallower ponds, rivers, and estuaries often dominated by floating or submerged plants, and including freshwater, brackish, and salt water wetlands that can support rooted emergent plants tolerant of intermittent to continuous flooding. Since water is the basis for all life on earth, human and environmental systems are inextricably linked with aquatic ecosystems. Therefore the assessment and maintenance of the health of aquatic ecosystems is of paramount importance to societal welfare.

Aquatic and wetland ecosystems have a broad array of structural properties and functions that are essential for the indirect and direct support of humans. Water quality is a key to both natural and societal uses of water. Healthy aquatic ecosystems can assimilate and purify low levels of pollution, resulting in drinkable and swimmable conditions. Water quality is also a key to protecting all of the aquatic resources upon which we indirectly depend, such as fish and shellfish as food resources and as support of healthy natural foodwebs that support the birds and other wildlife we appreciate for their aesthetic qualities. Water quality protection is also of great importance for protecting waters used for agricultural irrigation and for drinking water supplies. The natural exchange between surface water and groundwater supplies create a link that calls for a holistic approach to aquatic ecosystem assessment and management. Aquatic systems such as lakes, ponds, and wetlands also provide important hydrological support for human activities through their roles in water conveyance and storage.

In Florida and other areas in the southeast and around the nation artesian springs provide a source of recreation and unique ecosystems that support a vast array of plant and animal life. In Florida, these ecosystems provide some of the highest primary productivity of any natural systems because of the homeostatic conditions. Water in the artesian springs of Florida provides a window into the water quality and quantity of the Floridan Aquifer the largest, high-quality, freshwater aquifer in the southeastern United States. The evaluation of these complex ecosystems requires a thorough understanding of the structure, habitat, and biota.

Wetland Solutions, Inc. (WSI) has broad experience with assessment and protection of most types of aquatic ecosystems and their important functions. Relevant experience includes numerous water quality, hydrological, and ecological assessments of both freshwater and saltwater habitats, including springs and rivers, lakes and reservoirs, man-made canals, estuaries, and all types of wetlands. While the majority of WSI’s work is with aquatic ecosystems in Florida and the southeast, we also have relevant experience across the southern United States from South Carolina to California.