How Do Fish Help the Environment?

Like all living creatures, fish have interdependent relationships with other living and non-living organisms in their environment. Such interdependence is the result of their position as an integral part of the marine ecosystem. Their extinction will have adverse effects on Earth.

How do fish help the environment? As such, fish make numerous contributions to the protection of the environment. These include providing essential nutrients, regulating carbon flux, and serving as active links between ecosystems.

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For those who are curious about how fish help the environment, this short read can give you an answer. Here are some of their contributions:

Providing Vital Nutrients

Nitrogen and phosphorus are among the nutrients that are vital in the productivity of microorganisms as well as plants at the base of the marine food webs. Krill, algae, and phytoplankton are the best examples of these microorganisms that marine creatures consume for survival.

Fish can efficiently recycle the nutrients that these microorganisms need to survive. These nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorus.

They also store these ecosystem nutrients in their bodies that, in turn, are necessary for the survival of other organisms, preying on them. The duality of their existence, both as prey and predator, completes the cycle of life that supports ecosystems. 

They are also vital in transporting these life-giving nutrients farther than other marine plants and animals through their migrations. They also excrete these nutrients in dissolved forms.

And because of this, they are readily available to other plants and animals, particularly the primary producers. 

Regulating The Carbon Flux

Schools of fish are known to aid in the regulation of carbon flux between the atmosphere and the bodies of water. Carbon flux refers to the amount of carbon exchanged between the carbon pools on Earth, such as the atmosphere, bodies of water, land, as well as living organisms.

Fish have an indirect role in the mediation of carbon flux, but it is an unwelcome role. In a nutrient-rich lake, for example, it becomes a carbon sink that removes and stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Fish are then important in decreasing the greenhouse effect. They are keeping the environment in a healthy state.

Serving As Active Links Between Ecosystems

Due to their migrations and movements, fish serve as a vital link in the dynamics of ecosystems across bodies of water.

Fish not only transport nutrients in their bodies, as described above, but they are also important food sources for a wide variety of animals on land and air. These animals include bears, birds, seals, as well as humans.

Indeed, fish is one of man’s primary food sources. For this reason, their extinction will mean radical changes in our way of life, even in our civilization.

Beyond our own diet-related needs for fish, these aquatic organisms also have indirect effects on food webs in and out of the water.

For example, the introduction of the opossum shrimp in Glacier National Park led to the collapse of the sockeye salmon. In turn, the population of the bald eagles decreased by 96% in the Flathead River-Lake area.

It was because the bald eagles depended on the sockeye salmon for their diet.

Conclusion

To summarize, fish have an interdependent relationship with their environment. They need the right conditions in their environment for their growth, reproduction, and survival. They are also crucial in these aspects for other animals in the water, on land and in the air.