Where the River Meets the Sea
Estuaries are aquatic habitats located at where a river meets the ocean. The mix of salt and freshwater habitat creates a unique environment.
How does this happen?
Estuaries are home to many different kinds of animals. In the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, Beluga whales use the estuary as a safe place to have their babies. Other animals like birds and otters will hunt for food in estuaries. These coastline habitats are incredibly important for the health and safety of animals. They are also often sought after as locations for human construction so that we can build houses and hotels with an oceanfront view.
One such habitat is Mangroves. Mangroves are a special type of tree that has roots that grow above the soil. Mangrove is found in warm water estuaries. They create a hiding place for baby fish so that they can grow up and become the adult fish humans can eat.
Play the PBS game Make a Mangrove, to see how complex these estuary systems can be
Reflect with yourself or a friend what you found most challenging about making a healthy ecosystem? How do you think the ecosystem would change if humans were added? What do you think we could do to help estuary habitats you think we can restore habitats that have already been damaged?
Find an estuary near you on the Where the River Meets the Sea MAP and include your thoughts in the comment.
To understand what an estuary is and why it is important
To understand the threats to estuaries and the impact humans have on estuary health
Continue to Ocean Shapes Earth »