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Ocean

The physical diversity of the ocean has a significant influence on the diversity of organisms that live within it. The ocean is categorized into different zones based on how far light reaches into the water. Each zone has a distinct group of species adapted to the biotic and abiotic conditions particular to that zone.

The intertidal zone    ( [link] ) is the oceanic region that is closest to land. With each tidal cycle, the intertidal zone alternates between being inundated with water and left high and dry. Generally, most people think of this portion of the ocean as a sandy beach. In some cases, the intertidal zone is indeed a sandy beach, but it can also be rocky, muddy, or dense with tangled roots in mangrove forests. The intertidal zone is an extremely variable environment because of tides. Organisms may be exposed to air at low tide and are underwater during high tide. Therefore, living things that thrive in the intertidal zone are often adapted to being dry for long periods of time. The shore of the intertidal zone is also repeatedly struck by waves and the organisms found there are adapted to withstand damage from the pounding action of the waves ( [link] ). The exoskeletons of shoreline crustaceans (such as the shore crab, Carcinus maenas ) are tough and protect them from desiccation (drying out) and wave damage. Another consequence of the pounding waves is that few algae and plants establish themselves in constantly moving sand or mud.

Photo shows sea urchins, mussel shells, and starfish in a rocky intertidal zone.
Sea stars, sea urchins, and mussel shells are often found in the intertidal zone, shown here in Kachemak Bay, Alaska. (credit: NOAA)

The neritic zone    ( [link] ) extends from the margin of the intertidal zone to depths of about 200 m (or 650 ft) at the edge of the continental shelf. When the water is relatively clear, photosynthesis can occur in the neritic zone. The water contains silt and is well-oxygenated, low in pressure, and stable in temperature. These factors all contribute to the neritic zone having the highest productivity and biodiversity of the ocean. Phytoplankton, including photosynthetic bacteria and larger species of algae, are responsible for the bulk of this primary productivity. Zooplankton, protists, small fishes, and shrimp feed on the producers and are the primary food source for most of the world’s fisheries. The majority of these fisheries exist within the neritic zone.

Beyond the neritic zone is the open ocean area known as the oceanic zone    ( [link] ). Within the oceanic zone there is thermal stratification. Abundant phytoplankton and zooplankton support populations of fish and whales. Nutrients are scarce and this is a relatively less productive part of the marine biome. When photosynthetic organisms and the organisms that feed on them die, their bodies fall to the bottom of the ocean where they remain; the open ocean lacks a process for bringing the organic nutrients back up to the surface.

Beneath the pelagic zone is the benthic realm, the deepwater region beyond the continental shelf ( [link] ). The bottom of the benthic realm is comprised of sand, silt, and dead organisms. Temperature decreases as water depth increases. This is a nutrient-rich portion of the ocean because of the dead organisms that fall from the upper layers of the ocean. Because of this high level of nutrients, a diversity of fungi, sponges, sea anemones, marine worms, sea stars, fishes, and bacteria exists.

Questions & Answers

what are the characteristics of living things
Ruth Reply
Movement Respiration Nutrition/Feeding Irritability/Sensitivity Growth Excretion Reproduction Deat/Life span
Hashim
What makes children from the same father and mother sometimes don't look alike?
Hashim
identification of problems
Nana Reply
what happens in the process of raising the human arms
Nana
what is biology
Brandi Reply
first step in scientific method
Brandi
In an investigation the pancreatic duct of a mammal was blocked.It was found that the blood sugar regulation remained normal while food digestion was impaired.Explain
Mac Reply
To begin with, obstruction of pancreatic duct will alter the blood sugar level as the juices responsible for glucose regulation will be rendered inconsequential. This will in turn affect the rate of digestion and absorbtion of digested food substances by the Villus .
Muktar
characteristics of algae
OMIME Reply
Algae are eukaryotic organisms. Algae do not have roots and stems. Algae have chlorophyll and helps in carrying out photosynthesis.
Aditi
Cell wall is the rigid layer enclosed by membranes of plants and prokayortic cell, it maintains the shape of the cell and serve as a protective barrier.
chizoba Reply
ECOLOGY: is a branch of biology that studies the interactions among organisms and their biophysical environment, which includes both biotic and abiotic components. 
chizoba
via nutrient cycles and energy flows. For instance, the energy from the sun is captured by plants through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a biological process through which plants manufacture their own food with the aid of light from the sun and frc sources (e.g. cabon dioxide and water)
chizoba
What is cell wall
Taiwo Reply
cell wall is the outemost rigid covering of the plants ,that provides protection to the plants.
Aditi
what is ecology, ecosystem?
Nkeng Reply
what is digestive system
Lucky Reply
digestive system is the human syman system that icludes esopuges stomach o braking down of food in to useful substance to our body
samrawit
definition of biology basics
Ritu Reply
the potential energy of a molecule can be inquired by their number of?
Jesus Reply
what is the full meaning of RNA
Ayo Reply
ribose nucleic acid
Nikita
Ribonucleic acid
Jesus
Ribo Nucleic Acid
Aditi
ribonucleic acid
Nana
discuss, describe at least three (3) methods that could be used to improve photosynthesis..
Marvel Reply
Improve the efficiency with which plants capture light Improve the efficiency by which plants turn light into energy The smart canopy concept develop crop planting schemes that increase the penetration of sunlight into lower-level leaves.
Jesus
what is osmosis
Aon Reply
movement of water molecule from higher to lower concentration through a semipereable membrene.
Dr
what of in the case of solute
Aon
osmosis is the movement of molecules from higher concentration region to lower concentration region through semi-permeable membrane.
Broad
in case of solute means that water moves from the region with lower solutes to the region with higher solute. so it is vice versa to water.
Broad
osmosis is the movement of water molecule from a region of lower concentration to a region of higher concentration through a semi permeable membrane
Nana
what are the hydrophilic and hydrophobic region of the plasma membrane?
Samuel Reply
hydrophilic in other word it called water loving and hydrophobic region other word is region that does not contact with water in the plasma membrane.
Broad
the phospholipids
Jesus

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Source:  OpenStax, Concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11487/1.9
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