Shown here, is a diagram of a food web of a red mangrove-forested estuary. Beginning at the bottom of the diagram, a mangrove leaf falls to the bottom of the estuary. Follow the arrows up from the leaf. Different types of fungus, protozoa, amphipods, and bacteria decompose the leaf and create detritus. The detritus is used for food by sea squirts, oysters, sea cucumbers, barnacles, clams, worms, and shrimp. These organisms are food for other creatures listed where the arrows point. Humans are in the top right corner of the diagram above the red arrow tips.
Some organisms live their entire existence within the estuary, while others use it as a nursery. Humans depend on these creatures directly and indirectly for food. In 2006, NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) stated, estuaries provide habitat for over 75% of the United States commercial sea catch.