Biomes, Ecological Cycles, and Environmental Milestones

What is an estuary?

Estuaries are places where freshwater streams and rivers meet the sea. The salinity of such areas is less than that of the open ocean but greater than that of a typical river, so organisms living in or near estuaries have special adaptations. Estuaries are rich sources of invertebrates, such as clams, shrimps, and crabs, as well as fishes such as striped bass, mullet, and menhaden. Unfortunately, estuaries are also popular locations for human habitation and businesses. Contamination from shipping, household pollutants, and power plants are carried to the sea by rivers and streams and threaten the ecological health of many estuaries.


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