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Aquatic vs. Marine: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 27, 2023
Aquatic pertains to water in general, including freshwater and saltwater environments, while marine specifically refers to saltwater environments like seas and oceans.

Key Differences

Aquatic encompasses all water-based environments, including both freshwater bodies like rivers, lakes, and ponds, and saltwater bodies like seas and oceans. Marine, on the other hand, is specifically related to saltwater environments, typically referring to seas and oceans.
When discussing flora and fauna, aquatic species can thrive in any water environment, whether it's a mountain stream or a coastal estuary. While, marine species are specialized for life in saline environments, such as coral reefs or the open ocean.
In terms of ecosystems, aquatic covers a broader spectrum, including wetlands, freshwater ecosystems, and saltwater ecosystems. However, marine ecosystems are a subset of aquatic ecosystems, specifically dealing with the oceanic and sea environments.
The study of aquatic biology includes freshwater biology and marine biology, but marine biology focuses solely on life forms and ecosystems in saltwater environments. Whereas, aquatic biology covers a wider range, including the study of organisms in all types of water bodies.
Human activities related to these terms also differ; aquatic activities can include freshwater fishing, kayaking in a river, or swimming in a lake. While, marine activities are more oriented towards the ocean, like deep-sea fishing, scuba diving in the sea, or maritime navigation.

Comparison Chart


Includes both freshwater and saltwater environments.
Strictly refers to saltwater environments.


Encompasses rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans.
Primarily involves seas and oceans.


Includes species living in all types of water bodies.
Includes species adapted to saltwater.

Ecosystem Diversity

Covers a broader range of ecosystems.
Focused on oceanic and sea ecosystems.

Human Activities

Activities in any water body, like freshwater fishing.
Ocean-oriented activities, like maritime navigation.

Aquatic and Marine Definitions


Relating to water.
The aquatic plant thrived in the pond.


Related to the sea.
The marine environment is crucial for biodiversity.


Living or growing in water.
Aquatic animals like fish are fascinating to study.


Organisms living in the ocean.
Marine creatures like dolphins are adept swimmers.


Taking place in or on water.
They enjoyed aquatic sports during their vacation.


Naval or military operations at sea.
The marine corps played a vital role in the operation.


Pertaining to water sports or activities.
She excels in aquatic activities like swimming.


Connected with seafaring or navigation.
He pursued a career in marine engineering.


Consisting of, relating to, or being in water
An aquatic environment.


Sea-based natural resources.
The country's marine resources are abundant and diverse.


Living solely or chiefly in or on the water
Aquatic animals and plants.


Of or relating to the sea
Marine exploration.


Taking place in or on the water
An aquatic sport.


Native to, inhabiting, or formed by the sea
Marine animals.


An organism that lives solely or chiefly in or on the water.


Relating to a system of oceanic habitats coextensive with the continental shelf, ranging from deep water to unprotected coastlines and characterized along its landward edge by exposure to wave action and tidal currents and by the absence of trees, shrubs, or emergent vegetation.


Aquatics(Sports) Athletic activities performed in or on the water.


Relating to water; living in or near water, taking place in water.


Any aquatic plant.


Pertaining to water; growing in water; living in, swimming in, or frequenting the margins of waters; as, aquatic plants and fowls.


An aquatic animal or plant.


Sports or exercises practiced in or on the water.


A plant that lives in or on water


Relating to or consisting of or being in water;
An aquatic environment


Operating or living or growing in water;
Boats are aquatic vehicles
Water lilies are aquatic plants
Fish are aquatic animals


Water-based ecosystems.
The study focused on the aquatic ecosystem of the lake.


What does aquatic mean?

Relating to water, both freshwater and saltwater.

What is aquatic sports?

Sports that take place in or on water, like swimming.

What are aquatic plants?

Plants that grow in or near water.

Can aquatic life survive in both freshwater and saltwater?

Some aquatic species can adapt to both, but most are specialized for one type.

What's the importance of aquatic conservation?

It maintains biodiversity and water quality.

Are aquatic ecosystems diverse?

Yes, they range from ponds to oceans.

What is aquatic biology?

The study of life in water environments.

How do aquatic plants differ from terrestrial?

They have adaptations to thrive in water.

What defines a marine environment?

An environment in the saltwater of seas or oceans.

What is marine biology?

The study of sea life and ocean ecosystems.

What are marine resources?

Natural resources obtained from the ocean.

What is marine navigation?

The process of planning and directing the course of a ship at sea.

What's the role of marine conservation?

To protect oceanic biodiversity and habitats.

Are there aquatic mammals?

Yes, like otters and beavers.

Are marine animals only found in oceans?

Primarily, but some can inhabit estuarine areas.

Is marine pollution a global issue?

Yes, it affects oceans worldwide.

How do marine climates affect weather?

They significantly influence global weather patterns.

Can aquatic environments be artificial?

Yes, like aquariums and man-made lakes.

Can marine species live in freshwater?

Most cannot due to different salinity levels.

Are coral reefs marine ecosystems?

Yes, they are a critical part of marine biodiversity.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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