Chapter 14 Notes.docx - Chapter 14 Notes Chapter 14 Animals of the Pelagic Environment A superbly streamlined shark glides through the ocean Sharks like

Chapter 14 Notes.docx - Chapter 14 Notes Chapter 14 Animals...

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Chapter 14 Notes Chapter 14 Animals of the Pelagic Environment A superbly streamlined shark glides through the ocean. Sharks like this silky shark ( Carcharhinus falciformis ) have unique adaptations that make them efficient ocean predators. Essential Learning Concepts AT THE END OF THIS CHAPTER, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO: 14.1 Compare the various methods by which marine organisms are able to avoid sinking through the water column. 14.2 Specify adaptations that pelagic organisms possess for seeking prey. 14.3 Specify adaptations that pelagic organisms possess to avoid becoming prey. 14.4 Differentiate between the main groups of marine mammals based on their physical characteristics. “The whale rose even closer. It had a distinct hazel eye that looked directly at me. It studied my hair, looked at my beard, passed its gaze over my nose, and then looked deeply into my eyes. It looked past all those biology classes, between the volumes of whale literature I had studied, and beyond the thousands of gray whales in my memory. It looked into my soul.” —Lindblad Expeditions Naturalist Robert “Pete” Pederson, describing a close encounter with a gray whale (1999). Pelagic organisms live suspended in seawater (not on the ocean floor) and comprise the vast majority of the ocean’s biomass , which as you may recall is the mass of living organisms. Phytoplankton and other photosynthesizing microbes live within the sunlit surface waters of the ocean and are the food source for nearly all other marine life. As a result, many marine animals live in surface waters so they can be close to their food supply. One of the most important challenges facing many marine organisms is to stay afloat and not sink below surface waters into the immense depth of the oceans. Phytoplankton and other photosynthesizing microbes depend primarily on their small size to provide a high degree of frictional resistance to sinking. Most animals, however, are more dense than ocean water and have less surface area per volume of body mass (they have a smaller surface-area-to-volume ratio). Therefore, they tend to sink more rapidly than phytoplankton. To remain in surface waters where the food supply is greatest, pelagic marine animals must increase their buoyancy or swim continually. Animals apply one or both of these strategies in amazing ways using a variety of adaptations. 14.1 How Are Marine Organisms Able to Stay above the Ocean Floor?
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Pelagic animals that comprise the majority of the ocean’s biomass remain mostly within the upper surface waters of the ocean , where their primary food source exists. Those animals that are not planktonic (floating forms such as microscopic zooplankton) depend on buoyancy or their ability to swim to help them remain in food-rich surface waters.
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