Wetlands also provide a home or habitat for many
species of microorganisms, plants and animals. Wetlands serve as a resting place for migratory birds and a nursery for many young animals. The microorganisms, plants, and animals that find shelter in the wetlands serve as food for other microorganisms, plants, and animals.
Photo: Birds feeding in Savannas in St. Lucie County, Florida. Photo courtesy of South Florida Water Management District.
Lastly, wetlands provide a sink in which
energy is stored. Energy is the ability to do
work. Having energy is very important because it is required by all organisms for life. Energy from the sun is acquired directly by plants. Through the process of
photosynthesis, plants convert the sun's energy into carbon-containing compounds. The sun's energy is released from these carbon-containing compounds when they are broken down during
combustion (burning) or during respiration by animals that have consumed the plants. Plants that are not burned or eaten eventually die and slowly decompose. The decomposing plant matter builds up to form carbon-rich deposits called peat. Over the course of millions of years, great temperatures and pressures transform the peat into
coal and oil. These fuels are then burned by people in order to release the energy trapped inside the carbon-rich material. This energy does work such as moving an automobile.
For more information on wetlands functions, visit:
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