Vocabulary - Definitions and Context

Cover-Wondrous Wetlands

Aerate:
add oxygen
Context: When fiddler crabs make tunnels under the sand they aerate the roots of marsh grasses and help them grow better!
Benefits:
the good things you get from something
Context: Great fishing is one of the benefits we get from the coastal wetlands of Texas.
Coastal wetlands:
places where soil, plants, fresh water, and salt water are all together
Context: Baby shrimp live in our coastal wetlands until they reach about 3 inches long. Then they head for the big, blue sea!
Decomposers:
creatures that convert dead things into smaller, simpler parts
Context: Because wetlands have so many decomposers, other animals end up having plenty to eat.
Detritus:
tiny pieces of plants that fall to the bottom of the water and get eaten by decomposers
Context: Decomposers chow down on the detritus in Brazos Bend’s wetlands.
Diversity:
lots of different kinds of something
Context: The playa lakes of the Texas Panhandle have about 115 different species of birds. That’s a lot of diversity!
Food chain:
the connection all living things have to one another based on what eats what (this is the transfer of food energy from one organism to another as one organism eats or is eaten)
Context: Decomposers, which are at the bottom of the food chain, eat detritus.
Food web:
an interlocking pattern of food chains
Context:  The food web in a wetland includes food chains of living things in the water and on land.
Freshwater wetlands:
places where you find soggy soil, shallow water, and plants with roots underwater
Context: Because freshwater wetlands have so much diversity, we say they are nature’s best supermarkets!
Marsh:
a wetland that does not have trees, but often has grasses growing throughout it
Context: Sometimes a coastal wetland is called a salt marsh.
Swamp:
a wetland that has trees
Context: Part of Caddo Lake State Park is a swamp.
Vernal pools:

a wet place or puddle that lasts for more than two weeks and has living things that depend on it for survival
Context
: The vernal pools at Enchanted Rock give homes to tiny critters called fairy shrimp.


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