What is aquatic ecosystem | Functions & Importance to Man
An Aquatic ecosystem is a habitat comprising of living beings residing withing a water body.
This water body can include marine and fresh water bodies.
The living beings includes animals, fishes, snails, reptiles, plants and microbial flora in the sea and oceans.
The aquatic system consists more than 70% of the earth.
All the human waste, rainfall water, rivers etc. flow towards the oceans.
So in some way these aquatic bodies act as dump yards beyond limit.
But from the time life emerged on earth, there has been a balanced aquatic ecosystem.
Due to pollution, petroleum refineries, industrial dump, the aquatic ecosystem is losing its health. Currently the aquatic system is highly polluted in some areas and also in grave danger of extinction.
If we continue this level of exploitation, then more of the ecosystem gets damaged and can get extinct.
What is aquatic ecosystem
Aquatic ecosystem: Aquatic ecosystem comprises the living organisms in the aquatic world.
There is a food chain within every aquatic ecosystem.
Plants———-> Small Fish——–> Big Fish———>Man
Importance of aquatic ecosystem:
1. Source of fish: Aquatic ecosystem is the biggest source of fish which vital food for humans. Fish food is rich in vitamins especially preformed vitamin A.
This fish meat is also a good diet as they are subjected to minimal artificial chemicals and processed foods.
Further they are free from any infections and diseases compared to other meat producing animals and fish grown in fish ponds.
Besides fish, humans also consume prawns, oysters, snails, crabs etc.
From fish diet one can even get omega fatty oils which are good for cardiac health.
Due to global warming the scientist suspect that land area for cultivation will go down as ocean levels rise. Then the only source of food for humans will be fish and other marine foods.
So they are even exploring ways how to sustain life by depending on marine food in future.
2. Source of medicine: Marine aquatic system is also a great source of medicines. We use them on regular basis for promoting life span and get rid of diseases. The examples include
♦ Calcium from oyster: Calcium is the key supplement for bone strength. It is one of the largest sold supplements in the world owing to its demand for old age and also orthopedic injuries.
Such a large demand of organic calcium is met from marine supply.
Even the normal calcium carbonate available from land is also sold but it is less preferred to oyster calcium. This is because the oyster calcium has better absorbance into the blood and is more effective in healing the bone related problems.
So when you buy a calcium strip next time notice the label. It says either organic calcium or oyster calcium. This oyster calcium is obtained from oyster shell from marine.
♦ Cod liver oil: This oil is obtained from fish for its omega-3 oils.
♦ Shark liver oil: Sharks are the deadly animals of the aquatic ecosystem. But still they are useful to man. The shark liver oil has many claims like wound healing etc.
♦ Anti-cancer drugs: Marine life is said to be a source of many anti-cancer drugs. Ex: Yondelis, kahalalide F, Bryostatin They are obtained from sponges and algae.
♦ Alginic acid: This is derived from brown algae. It is used as gelling agent in food, medicine preparation and also in cell immobilization.
♦ Agar: A jelly material obtained from red algae is used as suspension medium for tissue culture and bacterial culture.