The animals and plants that live in freshwater are called aquatic life. The water that they live in is fresh, which means that it is less salty than the ocean.The terrestrial (land) environment that surrounds the freshwater environment has a large impact on the animals and plants that live there. Some factors that influence the freshwater environment include climate, soil composition, and the terrestrial animals and plants in the area.
Just as on land, aquatic plants require carbon dioxide, nutrients (substances such as phosphate and nitrogen needed for growth) and light for photosynthesis, the process where plants make their food from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Aquatic animals need to breathe in oxygen and consume food.
The physical conditions surrounding the body of water or wetland (lands that are covered in water often enough so that it controls the development of the soil) control the availability of these resources.
For example, the concentrations of nutrients, oxygen, and carbon dioxide in the water depend on how much air gets into the water and on the chemical composition of the land nearby. The sediments (particles of sand, gravel, and silt) in the water influence how much light reaches the bottom of the lake or river.