What is a Wetland?
Wetlands are areas of land where
the soil is saturated by water. They have characteristics of
both terrestrial and aquatic systems. Generally there are two
categories of wetlands, coastal wetlands and inland
wetlands. Coastal wetlands provide the bridge that connects
fresh water and salt water, allowing for the exportation of
nutrients and organic materials to the ocean. Inland wetlands
are found along the edges of rivers and streams. Wetlands can be
classified further into four subcategories: swamps, marshes,
bogs, and fens. This classification is by the types of plants,
biotic, and abiotic characteristics. Wetlands provide habitats
for many plants (hydrophytes), and animals. Wetlands also have
the capability of slowing flood waters and absorbing excess
nutrients which would pollute rivers and oceans.
Constructed wetlands are man-made
wetlands, engineered to mimic the natural wetlands’ ability to
purify water, improve water quality, and aide in the removal of
pollution. Some ultimate goals of constructing a wetland include
being able to treat waste water and having more control over the
flow of storm water.
Why is this study important?
essential for the effective functions of life on Earth. Water is
used by all living organisms, from the germination of plants to
the hydration of any complex ecosystem. However, water that can
be of direct benefit to the human population makes up only 1% of
the global water mass. Today, many of our rivers, lakes, and
oceans have become polluted. The overexploitation and the
effects of water pollution on global freshwater supplies are
going unheeded, which is a sure sign of looming crisis.
world, in both developed and developing countries, water is
starting to become more of a luxury. Research is being conducted
to find methods capable of reducing water pollution using
natural systems. In addition, global interest must be raised to
avoid further damage which may eventually become irreversible.
What did we do?
Thus far, the
Pasadena City College Wetlands Research Team has found that a
constructed wetland was capable of purifying household graywater.
We have also shown that micro-organisms are the first response
to pollution. This site provides information regarding our
research on constructed wetlands and their ability to purify