Physical characteristics of temporary vernal pools
Vernal pools are temporary water bodies that specifically carry standing water. Such water bodies do not have fish living in them. This creates a very conducive environment for the habitation of other aquatic animals like frogs and turtles (Ghabo, A, 2007). The temporary water bodies have the following general characteristics:
1. The pools have no fish for a long period of the year. This is mainly brought about by the seasonal variation of water volume in the pools.
2. Water level and volume always varies. The water level is never stable. This comes as a result of fluctuations in the water volume across the year.
3. Most pools are heterotrophic. This is a term to mean that most of the energy passing through them comes from detritus but not direct photosynthetic production (Graham, 1996).
4. The pools display cool temperatures especially in Mediterranean climate. However, they are fairly warm. This greatly favors the habitation of the amphibians like frogs and turtles
Physical characteristics of permanent freshwater wetlands
The physical features affiliated with wetland are always unique in it. This is because such an environment represents a transition between the dry and the wet lands. The characteristics are as follows:
1. These areas have a type of set of plants called hydrophytes. These plants can thrive well under such water conditions with the minimum supply of oxygen. Such plants include mangroves, sweet gale and cypress.
2. Most wetland vegetation is mainly found in low lying altitudes and flat topography. This is the kind of land that has a capacity to hold water for long time (Ghabo, A, 2007).
3. Soils in this wetland condition contains very little amount of oxygen. The wetness of this soil oscillates between dry and wet conditions.
4. Wetlands are characterized by presence of water lilies and water plants.
5. Water type present in the wetland varies from being a lot fresh to salinity.
Factors influencing the characteristics of wetlands and temporary vernal vegetations
Seasons come with rains and dry spells. The pools gather a lot of water during rainy seasons. This therefore implies that the vernal pools stay for long with the gathered water, and the level of freshness is boosted.
Dry seasons in the contrary reduce the water contents in the pools. This boosts up the level pf salinity in the pools. Few animals can then live, and the wetlands develop semisolid texture.
Geographical conditions are another variation that affects the state of wetlands. The geography of North Pole makes it conducive for water animals like turtles and salamanders geography also dictate the type of vegetation that grows in the water bodies.
The wet lands change on daily basis depending on the weather and climatic changes. Too much sunshine result into an increase in salinity. This is because insolation brings about chemical reactions which speed up salt formation.
The spreading layer of small green rosettes cover the water surface in the vernal body. This creates a hideout for the tadpoles. The frogs and the crabs depend on ephemeral nature of the vernal pools so as to cover there life cycles (Layne, V 2008). The organisms feed on small water animals for there sustenance.
Wetlands have more fresh water. This provides a good environment for survival of fish and other water animals. The smaller organisms are food to the bigger fish in the ecology.
The ecosystem is self sustaining. The water plants like lilies absorb sunlight and perform the process of photosynthesis. This aid in creation of more food and energy in the ecosystem. Nitrogen cycle adds in more energy for survival.
Nutrients are recycled through the nitrogen cycle (Fryer, G. 1996). The nitrogen fixing bacteria are the main organisms that aid in recycling the ecosystem. Denitrification is the process by which available nitrates are converted back to nitrogen gas. This is the only means of eliminating nitrogen from the system (Graham .T 1996).
Dominant means the most common type of phenomenon in the ecosystem. The main characteristics of plants in the wetlands include adaptability to low oxygen conditions, and ability to thrive well in the water pool environment. Floating vegetation is another common feature of such ecosystem. Other vegetations are nitrogenous (Graham .T 1996).
This adapts them well for fixing of this very important nutrient. Examples of these plants are: Duckweed, arrowhead, blue flag mangroves and pondweeds among the rest.
Vernal pools on the contrary have flowers that thrive well in salty environments. This condition makes them resistant to the saline condition. These plants also have spectacular color patterns depending on the season. Examples of such fauna include yellow pansies, goldfields, lupines and Solano grass.
Wetland animals are mainly fresh water types. These thrive well in fresh water environment. They include: fish, insects, birds, and ducks. Most wetlands are shallow in nature. Ducks live very well under such conditions. Symbiotic relationship between the organisms is key to there survival. The ducks benefit from this by feeding on insects and weeds (Eriksen C.H. 1990).
Vernal environment is characterized by existence of frogs and other amphibians like salamanders and fairy shrimps. These mainly use the water as breeding ground to lay there eggs. This habitat also has some particles which are food to the amphibians.
Each ecosystem has its ways of maintaining checks and balances in the available plants and animals. The ecosystem is destabilized by weather, behavior of plants and animals among the rest. Too mush rain and storms in fresh wetlands increase the water level and in turn more fish and water organisms thrive well. More plants like mangrove also thrive well. (Walossek, D. 1993). Drought on the other hand reduces the water level (Layne, V 2008). This is a limiting factor to the life in fresh wetland environment.
Temporary vernal ecology is also affected by the same conditions as the fresh wetland. It’s obvious that great storms will feed more water into the saline environment. This in turn neutralizes the salty conditions. A drought on the other hand extracts even the little water in the ecosystem, resulting in a more saline environment.
Saline water bodies have various amphibian varieties of animals. Examples include frogs, salamanders, and fairy shrimps. These animals are adapted in that they can breathe using skins, gills and lungs. For this reason, most of them only go to the water during the time of laying eggs. The other times, they stay in the dry land.
These animals have almost the same life cycle and history. They lay eggs in the waters. The animals only go to the water bodies when it is time to reproduce (Layne, V 2008) . This general behavior is only observed in the saline animals. The fresh water fish on the other hand spend there entire life in the water. They too lay eggs and leave them to hatch for some time before they can develop in to mature young one.