Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a beautiful landscape of boreal forest, tundra, freshwater lakes and rivers, snow and glacier covered mountains, and coastal beaches and salt marshes along the ocean. Each of these ecosystems have plants and animals that live specifically within them. An ecosystem is a community of organisms, such as plants and animals, that live and interact with each other in their environment. Some plants and animals, like bears and blueberries, can live in several ecosystems. Others like sedges (a grass-like plant that grows in wet ground or near water) live rooted in salt marshes and need a specific environment in which to live.
Ecology of Lake Clark
Coastal Salt Marshes:Salt marshes are located along the park’s coastline. The land meets the sea here as tides carry nutrients and saltwater to the land. Salt-tolerant plants, such as hardy sedges and grasses, grow in this mix of fresh and salt water. Fish, migratory birds, and mammals call this rare habitat home. We can think of a salt marsh as a biological supermarket. It absorbs nutrients from the ocean water and provides food for other animals. Dead plants break down in the water feeding insects and small fish. These smaller fish are then food for larger fish, birds, and mammals.
Last updated: September 15, 2021