Thousands of plants species call water-filled areas home. These plants flourish in lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, flooded areas and even on the surface of bodies of water. Aquatic plants fit into three classifications--plants with submerged leaves, floating leaves and immersed leaves. Aquatic plants grow by floating on the surface or rooting in the wet, soggy soil.
Oxygen Production and Toxin Removal
An aquatic plant spends its entire life either submerged or partly submerged in water. The plants help convert organic and inorganic compounds. Aquatic plants release oxygen into the water. The plants help clean the water of microorganism that are recycled by the plant's system, helping reduce toxins in the water. This aids not only the plants and the water, but also the aquatic animals that use the water to sustain life.
Many aquatic plants are an excellent source of food for fish and other organisms. Numerous migratory and shorebirds rely on aquatic plants as part of their diet.
An abundance of aquatic plants can provide protection for prey fish from predator fish. With nothing for prey fish to hide within, they are easily targeted by more aggressive and larger fish. Loss of prey fish can have a serious affect on the balance of nature. Aquatic plants also work as a safe refuge nursery for baby fish. Plants are also the spawning area for most fish.
The growth of aquatic plants helps control sediment and also aids in reducing wave activity. The plants aid in reducing erosion within the water and on the shoreline.
Some aquatic plants form flowers on the surface. Many of these are colorful and large.