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This UNC-TV eco-resource provides in-depth information about North Carolina's coastal, wetlands, and freshwater ecosystems as well as specifics about the benefits of watersheds and related programming meant to educate, enrich and inform.
Ecosystems: What They Are and Why They're Important
As the sun sets over the ocean, it paints the clouds with an array of brilliant colors, reflected in the ocean spray as waves form. In fact, sunsets over the ocean attract hundreds of people to the coast every year. A splashing stream or a still lake brings quiet for a noisy day to other people. In short, we can see much of the earth's beauty in our waterways.
To the human eye, a sandy beach and an ocean or a lake seem isolated from the industry of our everyday world. However, both water and its contiguous land are part of a vast ecosystem--a relationship between living organisms and their non-living surroundings, where both living and non-living mutually depend on each other. In other words, a lake is not only attached to the shore, but it is part of a "community" of streams, rivers, riverbeds, marshes and air.
Because the land, stream and body of water are interconnected, anything that affects one part of the ecosystem affects everything else in the system. While we appreciate the water for its beauty, we also contribute daily to its health. Everything we do, from flushing your toilet to driving on a bridge over a river has consequences not only for the soil around us, but for an ocean or lake that may be hundreds of miles away.
The information in this Web site will define the different types of aquatic ecosystems, their contribution to our lives, and what dangers they face.