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.
Characteristics of the Marsh
- The soil is always covered with water (water egged)
- 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
- The vegetation is mainly stiff water grasses and other herbs
- The water is usually shallow
- 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
- Nutrients and remains of organic matter always accumulate making it to be
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
- Temporary marshes are seasonal, occurring during the rainy season and drying
up in the dry season.
- Permanent marshes contain water throughout seas which serves as permanent
Types of Marshes based on composition
- Fresh water marsh: populated by algae, plants like water lettuce, sword grass
and animals like toad and fishes.
- 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
- Worms, crabs and bivalves burrow into the soft mud to avoid high temperature
and drying up.
- 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
- The grasses grow in large bunches or tussocks to avoid being washed away by
- 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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