Biology Tutorials > Freshwater Ecology > Still Freshwater & Plants

Still Freshwater & Plants

Still freshwater and plants

Plants adapted on a still freshwater habitat

Plants in the freshwater community provide a means of food for herbivores and harness new energy into the community as a whole via photosynthesis from available sunlight. Plants are usually the pioneers of a new ecosystem, and therefore a bustling freshwater environment will have an abundance of plants.

The ecological niche alongside the still water banks is occupied by plants called hydroseres, which are partially, or totally submerged by water along the banks. Some of these hydroseres are rooted in the water, though some of their leaves penetrate the water surface, while others float on the surface, one side in contact with the water, the other side in contact with the open-air environment. In essence, hydroseres possess evolutionary adaptations and dithering respiration rates from land plants that have allowed them to adapt to live in such an environment. Such evolutionary adaptations in plants ha meant that their physical structure has changed to suit the environment, and therefore making freshwater plants distinctly unique in appearance.

An example of these adaptations is the lack of rigid structures in freshwater plants. This is due to the density of the water (much higher than that of an open-air environment), which ‘pushes’ against the plant in its daily life. This allows such plants to be more flexible against oncoming water tides and prevents damage to the plant.

As plants require a minimum concentration of gases in their diet such as carbon dioxide, they require a degree of buoyancy so that contact can be made with the open-air environment. Adaptations may include:

  • Air Spaces – Air spaces in the plant will decrease density and increase buoyancy.
  • Broad Leaves – Broader leaves will spread their weight more evenly across the water surface allowing them to float.
  • Waxy Cuticle – On the upper half to allow water to run off the surface to prevent the weight of the water dragging the leaves under the surface.

As these plants are either partially or totally submerged in water, their transpiration rate is very different from that of land plants. Such adaptations allow the freshwater community plants to cope with these conditions and thrive. However, alterations to the transpiration rate of these plants have proved essential, as without these adaptations they would not be able to maintain their water balance. This is continued on the next tutorial, though related information can be found in the Plant Water Regulation in the Adaptation tutorial.


Credit: QweQweSociety


Choose the best answer.

1. The ecological niche alongside the still water banks is occupied by hydroseres.

2. Plants in the freshwater community provide a means of food for other plants.

3. Plants harness energy from the sun through photosynthesis.

4. Air spaces in the plant decrease density and increase buoyancy.

5. Freshwater plants develop rigid structures to become more flexible and withstand water tides.

Send Your Results (Optional)

Your Name
To Email
Biology Tutorials > Freshwater Ecology > Still Freshwater & Plants

You will also like...

Geological Periods
Geological Periods

Geological periods is a study guide that cites the different geological periods on Earth's timeline. Each has a brief ov..

Lotic community of algal species
Lotic Communities & Algae

Lotic communities have conditions that are rather harsh for typical plants. Thus, the diversity of plant species in loti..

running freshwater community
Running Water Freshwater Community Factors

This tutorial noted some of the physical and chemical factors that provide the framework of a running water community in..

Running Water Freshwater Communities

This tutorial introduces flowing water communities, which bring new and dithering factors into the equation for possible..

Oligodendrocyte and Schwann cell
The Central Nervous System

Myelin sheath is essential for a faster conductivity of signals. Know more about this feature of some neurons in the Cen..

Biological Cell schematic diagram
Biological Cell Introduction

It only takes one biological cell to create an organism. A single cell is able to keep itself functional through its 'mi..