Long Island Sound is an estuary; it is a combination of fresh and salt water. Estuaries are continuously changing in terms of the conditions and composition of the water within them. The marine and plant life must be able to tolerate shifts in the salt content of the water. The Sound serves a variety of purposes, such as commercial fishing, recreational activities and disposal of waste. According to Lisa Wahle, the Sound is a major spawning ground for many species of finfish and shellfish and an essential food and rest stop for hundreds of species of migratory birds. The Sound is comprised of a variety of habitats including; salt marshes, tidal flats, rocky intertidal zones, sandy beaches, and subtital zones. These habitats support many organisms and plants.