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Notes On Freshwater Biology Essay

1604 words - 7 pages

Freshwater such as lakes and rivers have determined the location of habitation through out history. Witness all the great cities: Rome and Cairo to name but two are built on rivers: The Tiber and the Nile.The reason was the in history freshwater was important for drinking water, food, transport and a disposal route for waste. The fish obtained from the rivers was an important source of protein for the peoples living nearby.Now in the 21st century freshwater fishing and other recreational uses of water such as sailing and narrowboat holidays are economically important.The downside of the proximity of freshwater to habitation centres is the waterborne disease or diseases with a freshwater ...view middle of the document...

So also with rivers, we constrict them with levee's and dams and then flush them with drainage, dredgings, canalisations, and the floods and silt of bad farming. Thus men to wise to tolerate hasty tinkerings with our political constitution accept without a qualm the most radical amendments to our biotic constitution.The Hydrological Cycle.Water moves around the planet. It occurs in varying forms solid (ice), liquid (seas, rivers, lakes) and gaseous (Water vapour in the atmosphere).The water vapour falls to the ground as rain or snow depending on the latitude, this rain then can either return to the atmosphere via evapo-transpiration, or run off as surface flow in to the rivers, lakes or ground water, and ultimately the seas and oceans via estuaries. A vast amount of the water on earth is present as ice in the ice caps, but by far the majority is in the oceans.The short version is that most of the water on earth is unavailable for used by humans, and therefore the very small amount of freshwater is especially valuable.The rivers and streams are not just fresh water. As they are formed by rainwater and groundwater, it has a complex assortment of ions dissolved in it. Also as it flows downstream through the marshes and fens of the uplands and through out the forests it picks up huge assortment of organic matter. This organic matter may be sheep faeces if sheep are found near the stream (e.g. Yorkshire moors) or twigs and leaves from the forests. The twigs and leaves are broken down by an assortment of invertebrates, which defecate in to the water, and small fish which feed on the invertebrates. As the river gets bigger it moves down in to the floodplains.The floodplains are the result of the river laying down its organic load when it bursts it banks in the winter and spring floods. The floodplain is immensely productive and is normally settled by humans. Problems arise when we build on the floodplains, this normally happens in third world countries now. Shanty towns are built on the only bit of spare land available, the rivers winter channel or the floodplain. When the rivers flood, houses, farms, people get swept away.Lakes are places where water sits for a long period. In fact there is no real difference between rivers and lakes. Some river flow very slowly, some lakes replace their water very quickly. Lake basins are formed in the northern hemisphere normally by glaciation, and as such the lakes are around 12,000 years old, and as such relatively young. Lake basins can also be formed other ways. For example in North America, Crater Lake, Oregon is formed from a volcano which last erupted 12,000 years ago, with the walls of the volcano forming the lake basin, the cinder cone in the centre often then forms a small island. In East Africa the Rift Valley lakes (Lake Tanganeka & Lake Malawi) are formed when tectonic plates move. As a result of their formation these lakes have the side effect of great depth.Fun Facts from Lake Tanganeka:*It is...

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