4_LIFE_IN_THE_OCEAN.pdf - LIFE IN THE OCEAN Life in the ocean is variable much of how it operates is the same as it is on the land Animals that live in

4_LIFE_IN_THE_OCEAN.pdf - LIFE IN THE OCEAN Life in the...

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1 LIFE IN THE OCEAN Life in the ocean is variable; much of how it operates is the same as it is on the land. Animals that live in deserts have to adapt to an environment, which is quite different from those that live in the polar areas. Just as the land has many variations, so does the ocean. The ocean varies from shorelines where organisms need to cope with periods of being underwater and sometimes totally exposed to the air. The availability of food changes from area to area. In each part of the ocean, there are different problems to deal with. As one travels down the depths of the ocean, the most obvious change is the loss of light. This change has been reflected in labeling depths as to euphotic dysphotic and aphotic in which there is enough light for photosynthesis, enough light to see by (but not enough for photosynthesis and finally the depths where there is no light at all. Any aspect of the ocean may undergo a change. A cline is a point at which some the aspect of the ocean changes radically. The ones that are most important, are light, temperature (thermocline), salinity (halocline), density (pycnocline), nutrient concentration (nitrogenous plus silicic acid and phosphate) (nutricline) and oxygen concentration.
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2 From the graphs of the clines, one can see there is a kind of “two layered” structure above and below 50 meters. The problem here is that photosynthesis requires sunlight and nutrients. Above the 50 meter level there is enough light, but the nutrient level is low. This tend to inhibit the growth of photosynthetic organisms. This inhibits the development of animals further along the trophic chain. (primary producers=> grazers=>predators). The bottom layer of the ocean below the thermocline, has the reverse problem. There are enough nutrients and the top portion has enough oxygen but not enough light so no phytoplankton (autotrophic plankton). So the top is no better than the bottom. So of the 2 layers, neither is really set up to support life. As Denny says “It’s a lousy way to run a planet!”)
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3 The light intensity falls of based on the idea that the deeper one goes, the more the light is blocked by the water. Temperature falls off in a similar pattern. With the loss of sunlight, there is also a loss of heat, so the temperature drops off with decreasing light. There is also an important development in the far north and south. Sea water as it starts to get closer to freezing temperature (-1.89 C), begins to expel salts in a very saline brine, which begins to sink since it is heavier and denser that the surrounding sea water. The seawater that is beginning to freeze is getting closer to being fresh water and hence floats. The descending cold saline water while becoming warmer and less salty as it mixes with the surrounding water is still the saltiest and coldest water around.
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