A wetland is an area of land that is completely soaked with water or flooded. It can be soaked all year round, or just for a season or two. Marshes, swamps and bogs are all different kinds of wetland. But wetlands are more than just a flooded piece of land. They are their own kinds of ecosystems. Wetlands can be inland, or on coasts. They can be freshwater like a swamp or saltwater like a salt marsh. They can even be a brackish mixture of the two, like a mangrove forest.
Wetlands play important roles. They filter pollutants from the water as it flows from streams and rivers toward lakes and oceans. They protect the shoreline from washing away during coastal storms, such as hurricanes. Wetlands are also important shelters and feeding grounds for animals including baby shrimp, oysters and fish.
In a sentence
Alligators can hang out in fresh or saltwater wetlands — and have been caught dining on sharks.