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Scientific American January 1994 Wetlands






Define protean.
a. Tending or able to change frequently or easily
List several ecosystem services provided by wetlands.
a. Provide a habitat and spawning ground for organisms. Help moderate climate change.
Provide humans with a variety of food. Limit damage of waves and trap pollution.
Describe the loss of wetlands in the US since the 1950s.
a. more than 9 million acres were wiped out between the 50s and the 70s
What are the causes of wetland destruction?
a. They have been disappearing because they are hard to protect as they are ever
changing. Their special characteristics are hard to protect.
What areas make up saltwater wetlands? Describe.
a. Areas found near bodies of water containing salt.
Distinguish between freshwater marshes and swamps.
a. Freshwater marshes include wetlands found near rivers, lakes, streams, and their flood
What characteristic is central or key to the creation of all wetlands?
a. Fluctuating water levels
Describe natural events that are critical to wetland health but often considered economically
devastating to people.
a. Hurricanes- removing harmful material from wetlands, floods- created wetlands, and
droughts- kill hydrophytic plants and allow oxidation of soil
What characteristics explain the high biodiversity in wetlands?
a. The frequent changing of the environment
Describe how human activity is causing habitat fragmentation in wetland areas.
a. Development in watershed areas and pumping of groundwater, also barriers such as
Describe the role of sediments, both too much and too little, in wetland ecology.
a. Sedimentation brings nutrients and productivity
Briefly describe the challenges of legislating wetland conservation.
a. Because the wetland ecosystem is unpredictable and always changing its hard to place
regulations which cover everything and protects them

Geocases: Coral Reefs in Crisis
1. Where are coral reefs generally formed?
a. Warm and shallow water of tropical oceans
2. What are some reasons coral reefs are under stress?






a. Physical damage, pollution, and sedimentation. Also coral bleaching, predators, and
storm surges can cause stress.
What percent of coral reefs are at medium to high risks of degradation?
a. 58 percent
Describe coral bleaching and some anthropogenic causes of bleaching.
a. The reduction of light reaching coral reefs and thus allowing them to grow that can
be affected by runoff of substances in developing coasts with coral reefs
What are the main sources of pollutants affecting coral reefs?
a. Flows from water treatment and power plants. Also leakage of fuel and spills.
How does overfishing impact coral reef ecosystems?
a. Disturbs the whole ecosystem and can change interactions and even destroy parts
of reefs
What 3 ways do coral reefs compare to tropical rainforest?
a. Each have high species diversity, support rich communities through super effective
recycling processes, and thrive under nutrient poor conditions
List 5 ecosystem services provided by coral reefs.
a. Seafood, new medicines, other products, recreational value, and coastal protection
Explain the natural destruction of coral reefs around Montserrat.
a. The mountainous nature of the island has contributed to sedimentation and runoff
into the surrounding coral reefs. This has affected the growth and ability of coral
reefs to prosper.
What are the key components to the zoning system used to preserve the reefs near
a. The main components are the fishing zone, the marine reserve zones, and the
marine preserve which is designated as an environmental safety zone.