Terrestrial Habitat Marshes

Terrestrial habitats are described mainly by the types of vegetation they have and that

vegetation depends on the rainfall and temperature. The first terrestrial habitat is a marsh.

A marsh is a low, flat land completely or partly covered by shallow water with silt frequently

deposited. Marsh is thickly covered by stiff water grasses, tree are absent but birds and

insects are common.

Swamp Marsh Flora - Free photo on Pixabay

Swamp marsh

Characteristics of the Marsh

  1. The soil is always covered with water (water egged)
  2. The water and soil are poorly aerated as dissolved oxygen is constantly being

used by micro-organism (bacteria and fungi) for decay.

iii. The land is low lying and flat

  1. The vegetation is mainly stiff water grasses and other herbs
  2. The water is usually shallow
  3. Light penetration is low because of decaying organic matter in suspension

vii. The fauna is dominated by water birds, insects and water snakes.

viii. It has high relative humidity

  1. Nutrients and remains of organic matter always accumulate making it to be

highly productive.

Formation of Marshes

Marshes are formed by water flowing into a flat lowland from a flooded river. The clay soil

holds the water while the vegetation cover of grasses and lilies help to reduce evaporation.

Marshes may also be formed by gradual accumulation of debris or sediment of plant,

animal remains and deposit from streams and rivers entering a lake or pond. Subsequently,

plant such as grasses and lilies are introduced with water bird, aquatic insects and water


Types of Marshes based on life span

  1. Temporary marshes are seasonal, occurring during the rainy season and drying

up in the dry season.

  1. Permanent marshes contain water throughout seas which serves as permanent

water source.

Types of Marshes based on composition

  1. Fresh water marsh: populated by algae, plants like water lettuce, sword grass

and animals like toad and fishes.

  1. Salt water marsh: populated by algae, plants like grasses and sedge, and animals

like crabs, oyster, barnacles and mud skipper

Adaptive features of animal in Marshes

  1. Worms, crabs and bivalves burrow into the soft mud to avoid high temperature

and drying up.

  1. Insect larvae, beetles and frogs come near the surface from time to time to gulp

atmospheric air to survive the low oxygen content in the water.

Adaptive features of plants in Marshes

  1. The grasses grow in large bunches or tussocks to avoid being washed away by

water movement.

  1. The leaves are long, narrow and held high above water for atmospheric gaseous

exchange to compensate for floor aeration of the water-logged soil.

iii. The algae salvina, azolla and duckweed are on the surface to receive both

atmospheric and dissolved oxygen to meet their oxygen requirement

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