Freshwater Biome

A freshwater biome is a biome that has water that does not have a lot of salt in the water.

There are three different types of freshwater biomes,

  • Wetlands
  • Ponds and Lakes
  • Streams and Rivers

Freshwater Biome


When you look at a wetland biome, it is both water and land and that is why it has its name.

Some of the lands are under the water because of floods or because there is a lot of rain at that time.

The water that falls helps to protect and feed the plants that grow in this area.  These plants are called aquatic plants.

Some wetlands are found near larger bodies of waters such as rivers or lakes and they can include swamps and marshes and they are very important for the environment.

The wetlands help to keep the area from flooding and it also helps to keep the water filtered.

Wetland Plants and Animals

Flying birds on the wetlands

There are many different plants and animals that live near these bodies of water.

Many of these animals include

  • Frogs
  • Lizards
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Alligators
  • Crocodiles
  • Deer
  • Beavers
  • Raccoons

Most of the plants that are found in the wetland either grow under the water or float on top of the water.

Some of the other plants can be trees and other plants that grow large out of the water.

Ponds and Lakes

Ponds and lakes have water that stands still and does not move or rotate.  This is called a lentic ecosystem because of the water that stands still.

Lakes are usually found in four zones:  benthic zone, euphotic zone, littoral zone, and limnetic zone.

The benthic zone is at the bottom of the lake, the euphotic zone is below the surface where some sunlight reaches, the littoral zone is close to the shore and where most of the plants grow, and the limnetic zone is far away from the shore and on the surface of the lake.

Plants blue pond

Freshwater Ecosystem

Freshwater ecosystems come in many sizes (large and small) and include rivers, ponds, lakes, springs, streams, and wetlands.  The body of water can move like a river or stream or can be still (standing water) just like a pond.

Temperature of Lakes

The temperature of the lakes changes due to the seasons.

In the spring, most of the water stays at the same temperature, and then in the summer, the temperature on the surface is much warmer than at the bottom of the lake.

During the winter months, the temperature on the surface is much cooler than at the bottom, and in the fall, the temperature is usually the same all through the lake.

Lakes Around the World

Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline

There are many different lakes that are located around the world.  In the United States, there are the Great Lakes.  These include Lake Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Lake Superior.

Other lakes include Lake Titicaca, Lake Baikal, the Caspian Sea, the Dead Sea, and Lake Victoria.

Streams and Rivers

Like the ponds and lakes, the streams and rivers also have an ecosystem and it is called the logic.

This means that the water continuously flows and moves and rotates.

A stream and a river can come in different sizes, from a super small stream that just barely trickles down, to a river that can be miles and miles long.

There are a few things that decide if a freshwater biome is a stream and a river and this includes:  chemistry, flow, light, and temperature.

The chemistry decides what kind of nutrients and soil are found in the river or stream.

The flow is important because it tells how strong the water will move and this can affect the way that animals and plants live.

The light helps plants that are closer to the sunlight to be able to grow because of photosynthesis.

The temperature impacts how plants and animals live in that area.

Animals of the River

Active beaver busy building a new dam

There are many species of animals and insects that live in the water and beside a freshwater biome. With the presence of freshwater, you’ll find a lot of various types of mammals in the area. Many of them rely on this water for drinking. Most lakes contain diverse species of plant and animal life.

Animals and insects that live around the river are usually:

  • Fish
  • Snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Beavers
  • Frogs
  • Raccoon
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Turtles
  • Tadpoles
  • Mosquitoes

The plants that are usually found in areas where the water flows slower and they include. Most plants would not survive in areas with salt concentration (for example the Ocean)

Water Lily
  • Birch
  • Willow trees
  • Spike rush
  • Bullrush
  • Pickerelweed
  • Cattail
  • Water lilies
  • Mangrove leaves
  • Cypress trees

What is the largest freshwater biome in the world?

Florida Everglades

The Florida Everglades is the largest freshwater biome in the world. It’s made up of sawgrass marshes, coastal mangroves, and pine Flatwoods.

It’s the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and is home to hundreds of different types of animals, including the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and numerous endangered species.

Are all freshwater biomes the same?

Every freshwater biome is unique and different simply because they have a varied range of plant species and animals that rely on them.

Many are in different climates and have a distinct variance in the amount of water they have.

Facts About the Freshwater Biome

  • When a scientist’s studies freshwater biomes, they are called limnologists.
  • A marsh is a wetland, but it has no trees that grow on it.
  • Swamps are a wetland and trees grow in these areas.
  • The Nile River is the longest river.
  • Trout is one of the most important animals that live in the freshwater biome.
  • When saltwater and freshwater meet, it is called an estuary.
  • An estuary is a place where many plants and animals live.
  • The plants and animals give oxygen through photosynthesis to the freshwater biome.
  • Most rivers and streams happen because of water from the mountains or when the ice melts on the ground.
  • Cranberries come from wetlands.
  • The freshwater biome has low salt content compared to a marine biome, which is saltwater.
  • A freshwater biome contains less than 1% of salt water

What Did You Learn?

  • What is a freshwater biome?  A freshwater biome is a biome that does not have a lot of salt in the water.
  • What are some freshwater biomes?  Some freshwater biomes include wetlands, rivers, lakes, streams, and ponds.
  • What is an estuary?  An estuary is where freshwater and saltwater mix together.
  • Do plants or animals live in freshwater biomes?  There are many different species of plants and animals that live in all the different freshwater biomes such as crocodiles, beavers, reptiles, amphibians, trees, grasses, and plants.
  • Why are wetlands important?  Wetlands are important because they help to stop flooding in certain areas and they help to filter the water.