Definition of Stream Ecosystem


Streams are channels of flowing water that are smaller in size than rivers. These ecosystems include various communities of plant and animal species.


  • A stream is an example of a freshwater aquatic ecosystem.


  • Streams can be formed from rainfall, snowmelt or natural springs. Some streams originate from wetlands.


  • The three major types of streams are perennial (water flows throughout the majority of the year), intermittent (water flows during the wet season and/or through half of the year) and ephemeral (water flows for a short time after strong storms or as snow melts).


  • Animals found in stream ecosystems include various species of fish, insects such as mosquitoes or water striders, and amphibians such as frogs.


  • Plants found in stream ecosystems include duckweed, hyacinth and types of water grasses.

Energy Pyramid

  • The base of an energy pyramid in a stream includes primary producers such as plants and algae. Primary consumers include insects; secondary consumers include fish and amphibians; and tertiary consumers include turtles.

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