How Do Wetlands Provide Food and Shelter?


Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum
Wetland Ecosystems

Wetlands are one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. Biological production refers to the amount of plant material that grows in an area. Because wetlands are so productive, many types of animals and insects are able to use wetlands. Wetlands are home to so many plants, animals, and insects, that they can be thought of as "biological supermarkets."

  • Wetland plants provide food for many types of insects.
  • Many fish are born in a wetland, partially because the thick cover from plants offers a great place to hide from animals that may try to eat them. Wetlands are also home to many insects eaten by fish.
  • Wetlands are used by nearly all of Michigan's amphibians and reptiles. They use wetlands to lay eggs, feed on insects, and to hide from animals that may try to eat them.
  • Migratory birds (birds that fly south for the winter) use wetlands to nest, raise their young, and to feed on the insects, fish, and amphibians that also depend on wetlands.

DID YOU KNOW? Because Michigan gets cold during the winter, most of the animals and insects found in a wetland do not live there year-round.

DID YOU KNOW? 43% of U.S. threatened and endangered species rely on wetlands for their survival.

Learn more about threatened and endangered species.

muskrat in a marsh

swan swimming near a wetland

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