Brackish water describes the part salty, part fresh mix found where the two meet in such places as estuaries, deltas and mangrove swamps. It's also found on the surface layer of the Baltic and Black Seas, where the salt water is diluted by the many freshwater courses that pour into them. Since conditions are optimal for neither freshwater or marine creatures, brackish waters often lack diversity.
Brackish water or briny water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water, as in estuaries, or it may occur in brackish fossil aquifers. The word comes from the Middle Dutch root "brak," meaning "salty". Certain human activities can produce brackish water, in particular certain civil engineering projects such as dikes and the flooding of coastal marshland to produce brackish water pools for freshwater prawn farming. Brackish water is also the primary waste product of the salinity gradient power process. Because brackish water is hostile to the growth of most terrestrial plant species, without appropriate management it is damaging to the environment (see article on shrimp farms).
Technically, brackish water contains between 0.5 and 30 grams of salt per litre—more often expressed as 0.5 to 30 parts per thousand (ppt or ‰). Thus, brackish covers a range of salinity regimes and is not considered a precisely defined condition. It is characteristic of many brackish surface waters that their salinity can vary considerably over space and/or time.
Useful behaviours for this habitat
Ecozones where this habitat is found
Other Freshwater habitats