As part of the Wild Art 2021 June Challenge, put on by Zoe Keller, I illustrated two pieces focusing on the theme, “Water”. Each month, I am going to focus on two pieces – one highlighting flora, the other highlighting fauna. These creatures rely heavily on aquatic ecosystems, yet their aquatic habitats also rely on them. This interconnection between plants, animals, and their habitats are amazing.
Everything on this planet is connected. Each habitat plays a vital role in the health of the planet, and each living thing inside of it contributes to it’s health. Aquatic habitats provide a great foundation to the rest of the ecosystem since all living things need at least some water to survive.
There are many plants that act as water purifiers, helping to sequester pollutants and excess carbon inside of their roots and stems. Water lilies are one such plant, and are particularly good at this. In fact, Water lilies can handle absorbing heavy metals and other pollutants through their roots. This cleans the water and prevents algae blooms, which can cause an oxygen imbalance in the water and kill fish or other creatures living there.
One animal that lives in the water and relies on unpolluted habitat is the Axolotl. This salamander-like amphibian lives naturally in spring-fed lakes in Mexico. Originally, their native habitat spanned more than just two lakes, however, due to drainage projects, urbanization& land development, their wetland environments diminished, pushing them into only these lakes and making them an endangered species.
While their habitats may be a bit swampy and murky, that doesn’t mean that the water isn’t “clean”, or polluted. Sediment and detritus can be kicked up in swamp habitats, but if pollutants were to enter the water source, these creatures that so heavily rely on their feathery gills to breathe may find it more and more difficult to do so.
With plants helping to filter the water, axolotls can live with one less stressor in their lives and hopefully continue to breed and keep their population numbers up.
In order to keep aquatic habitats healthy and happy, to keep creatures like the cute and charismatic Axolotl alive and thriving, support your wetland environments, plant natives, and reduce single-use plastics or harsh pesticides that can run off into streams. Click below for more information about how to support your local wetland habitats!
Stay tuned next month to learn more about how both plants and animals have intricate, geometrical patterns, and what they might mean with the “Patterns” theme!
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