My Favorite Nature Words: Estuary

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Okay, I gotta say I really love how this one turned out. I’ve always been intimidated by landscapes, and this one actually has some depth to it! I’m fortunate to live near a couple of really nice estuaries, where I can directly observe the biodiversity that exists there. What makes these ecosystems so productive is the mixing of two different sets of nutrients, one set from the ocean and one from the river or other freshwater source. The water itself is what’s known as brackish, which means it’s got some salt in it, but not as much as in the ocean. As I tell people when I do environmental education on this subject, it’s like taking two buffets–maybe an Indian buffet and a Chinese buffet–and smashing them together into one really big buffet! And then maybe the chefs will get together and even create some cool fusion dishes, too. So that means there’s more variety in the food available, and therefore opportunities for more species than only in the ocean or only in the river. 

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