Note: this website contains information for elementary through college-level studies.
What is a stream? A thin strip of water, cutting its way through snow packs and cold mountain forests, finding its way downhill until at last it meanders slowly toward the sea? A stream is that, and so much more. Its bottom extends down beneath the ground, and its sides stretch out into its floodplains. In some ways, it is the visible part of an aquifer. It is dynamic, constantly changing its course, water levels, and temperatures. It is a multitude of different habitats for plants and animals, and it is a source of food for bears, raccoons, otters, herons, kingfishers, bald eagles, and many other animals--as well as people. Salmon and many insects begin their lives there. It is one half of an estuary (where the saltwater of the sea and freshwater mix at the mouth of a river). It carries glacial silt and sediment down from the mountains, creating rich agricultural lands by depositing them on its floodplain and fertilizing the ocean. The rich environment created at its delta--its mouth--provides a nursery for marine organisms and abundant feeding grounds for migratory birds.
Streams--from creeks to rivers--are complex ecosystems that take part in the physical and chemical cycles that shape our planet and allow life to exist. Stream Biology & Ecology is the study of these ecosystems.
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This site was developed by Cristi Cave,
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I thank the many professors, TA's, and RA's at the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. It was through their sharing of knowledge and experience that I learned enough about fisheries to be able to offer this website to you.