Lakes are home to a diverse range of creatures including bacteria, insects, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that are part of a complex ecosystem surrounding and encompassing the water. This post highlights the various animals you may find in your neighborhood lake or any lake around the world.
Lakes play a vital role in providing for residents and visitors, offering food, water, shelter, comfort, and community. Understanding the different animals that live in a lake emphasizes how important these bodies of water are.
Different Classes of Lake Creatures
Lakes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so do the creatures that inhabit their waters. In the biotic group, there are two primary types of residents: non-living abiotic matter and living organisms that can be classified into different groups depending on their habitat and function in the lake ecosystem.
A lake ecosystem offers a diversity of zones that can support various types of non-living animal life. It includes the littoral, limnetic, and benthic zones, all with unique characteristics.
Stages in a Lake’s Life
Lake ecology goes through three stages that define their species and types of creatures that reside in them. The common stages include oligotrophic, mesotrophic, and eutrophic.
The young oligotrophic lakes have low biological activity and feature clear water, often leading to a lack of organic life. The mature mesotrophic lake is the most varied, featuring diverse assortments of organisms. The late-life eutrophic lake characterizes a shift towards a different type of ecosystem, and over time, it will become a marsh or a bog.
Overview of Lake Inhabitants
A typical lake ecosystem supports a variety of plants and animals, including bacteria, primary producers, invertebrates, and vertebrates.
The primary producers’ living organisms in the lake upper limnetic and benthic zones include phytoplankton and periphyton. Bacterial types in a lake include proteobacteria, alphaproteobacteria, gammaproteobacterial, cyanobacteria, actinobacteria, and bacteroidetes, responsible for maintaining active photosynthesis throughout the lake ecosystem.
Invertebrates like zooplankton, sponges, worms, mollusks, and arthropods, withstand the food chain and maintain a healthy lake ecosystem. As for vertebrates, fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals call lakes their homes.
Although overlooked, bacteria in a lake are vital to the ecosystem’s health. Generally, a lake without bacteria is unfit for other fauna to survive.
Bacteria is a single-celled organism that typically forms a rod, cone, sphere, or spiral shape. Cyanobacteria, actinobacteria, bacteroidetes, alphaproteobacteria, gammaproteobacterial, and proteobacteria are the most prevalent types of bacteria in a lake.
Primary Producers in Lakes
Primary producers living in the upper limnetic and benthic zones of lakes are essential to sustain the lake ecosystem and its food chain.
The primary producers include phytoplankton and periphyton that constitutes aquatic plant species and the plant-based microorganisms that like to live near them. Examples include periphyton, algae, and aquatic plants such as waterlilies, cattails, bulrushes, water lettuce, hyacinth, moss, and lichens.
Invertebrates in Lakes
Invertebrates without a backbone make up an essential part of the lake food chain and ecosystem.
Lake invertebrates include zooplankton, worms, sponges, mollusks, and arthropods that inhibit different areas depending on temperature and food resources. These invertebrates provide crucial roles in biomonitoring, biogeochemical cycles, and trophic cascades.
Vertebrates in Lakes
Vertebrates in a lake have some kind of backbone or spinal column in their bodies.
Lake vertebrate animals such as fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals are often observed transitionally dividing their time between the water and land. Bass, perch, catfish, sturgeon, minnow
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