Aquatic habitats are aquatic communities in which complex interactions take place among populations and individual organisms as they compete for limited resources in an interdependent web of relationships.
A species is a group of individuals sharing some common characteristics or qualities, and whose offspring also share those characteristics or qualities. All species are specially suited for the lives they lead. An adaptation is a behavioral, structural, or physiological trait that increases a species’ chance of survival in a specific environment. Every living thing has adapted to fit with where it lives. That’s what it takes for life to survive. Aquatic organisms live in water and have adaptations to do so. This chapter talks about life in water and aquatic ecosystems by fish, aquatic invertebrates, zooplankton, phytoplankton, aquatic plants, and algae in freshwater, estuaries, and the ocean, which in Texas is called the Gulf of Mexico.
Everything that happens on the land in a watershed affects the water body into which it drains. A stream, pond or wetland can only be as healthy as its watershed. How we use the land affects the health of our aquatic resources, and in turn affects us and what we do in the watershed. In a healthy watershed, water is filtered and stored, but as water runs downhill, it can pick up whatever is on the ground beginning a process of altering water quality. When it flows through cities or across fields and pastures, water picks up dirt, pollutants, and heat. These contaminants flow into a stream, wetland or lake, affecting the water you use to drink, swim, or fish.