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vAn estuary is a coastal body of

water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, leading to the open sea. Mudflats, also known as tidal flats, are coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers. A salt marsh is an environment on the coast, between land and salt water; it is dominated by dense stands of salt-tolerant plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. Saltmarshes form when salt tolerant plants in mudflats first trap mud and silt. As the sediment builds up, the mud surface rises and the saltmarsh develops outwards from the land. Mudflats are formed where there is sheltered water in river estuaries or behind spits. Silt and mud is deposited either by gently rising and falling tides or by the river, this forms a zone of mudflats. Estuaries are formed by glacial processes, in warmer climates, glaciers recede and coastal waters fill up the valleys, forming estuaries. Also they can be formed by the movement of sand and the formation of sandbars, which enclose bodies of water, forming estuaries. Examples: The Mississippi Estuary is about 30 miles long and lies where the river flows through its own delta. The estuary consists of a main channel and several sub-channels. Together, these discharge an average of some 4.75 million gallons of water per second into the Gulf of Mexico. From Apalachicola Bay south to Tampa Bay, salt marshes are the main forms of coastal vegetation. The coastal area known as "Big Bend" has the greatest salt marsh in Florida, extending from Apalachicola Bay to Cedar Key. Arcachon is a bay of the Atlantic Ocean on the southwest coast of France, in the region of Aquitaine. The bay covers an area of 150 km at high tide and 40 km at low tide. And features many mudflats.

Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics. A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. Coral reefs are underwater structures made of calcium carbonate secreted by corals. They are colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters. Often called rainforests of the sea coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems on earth. And occupy less than 0.1% of the worlds ocean surface, but provide home to 25% of all marina species. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600km. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia. The Pantanal is a tropical swamp and one of the world's largest wetland of any kind. Most of it lies within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area estimated at between 140,000 km. Australia has approximately 11,500 km2 of mangroves, primarily on the northern and eastern coasts of the continent, with occurrences as far south as Millers Landing in Wilsons Promontory, Victoria and Barker Inlet in Adelaide South Australia.

Stabilization of mud-flats is a preliminary process in the establishment of mangroves. Pioneer plant species initiate this process. Mangroves grow in certain conditions of salt water and saltmarshes or mudflats. Swamps are formed in soft, low lying ground near to a source of water. Swamps form because the water table is close to the surface; preventing the water penetrating the ground and escaping. Coral reefs are made up of any tiny animals known as coral polyps. A stony coral colony begins as a single free-swimming coral polyp that attaches itself to a hard surface such as submerged rocks. The founder polyp replicates itself repeatedly through asexual reproduction, producing a colony.