f98u3le3 - Lesson III: Animal Adaptations and Distributions...

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Lesson III: Animal Adaptations and Distributions II Keywords : ichthyologist, vertebrate, metabolic rate, olfactory organs, crustaceans, antennae, lateral line, Eurypharyngidae, neuromast, demersal, diversity, epifauna, infauna, morphology, decomposition, polychaetes, holothurian, crinoid, rattail, brotula, halosaur, swimbladder This program is a continuation of the previous show in which we began our journey through the deep sea. If you remember in our last show we started out in the epipelagic or surface zone and went on to the mesopelagic or twilight zone where there is very little light. We even discussed how some organisms, the vertical migrators, migrated daily between the two zones. Today we will journey even deeper, beyond the point where the sun’s rays can reach to explore deep water and ocean bottom creatures. You may wonder why one would study the deep sea. But, if you remember from last week’s show, about 60% of the world is deep sea. It is the average earth environment. It is more representative of our planet than a meadow or a forest! Knowing this, where do you think the world’s most abundant fish is found? The epipelagic zone? Of course not, they are found in the meso and bathypelagic zones. Any ichthyologist (a person that studies fish), will tell you that the world’s most abundant vertebrate (animal with a backbone) is the bristlemouth. These are also known by their genus name Cyclothone. Deep Sea Adaptations The average depth of the ocean is 3800 meters or 12,500 feet. It is not all 3800 meters deep; the ocean floor has irregular topography, just like on land. In fact, several places far exceed the average depth. The deepest point of the oceans is located in the Western Pacific, north of New Guinea in the Marianas Trench. It The bristlemouth, Cyclothone acclinnidens
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is one of many deep trenches in the Western Pacific. It is known as the Challenger Deep , named after the British vessel that took the first sounding in 1951, establishing it as the deepest point in the world’s oceans. Mount Everest could be dipped in it with over a mile to spare! There are several general changes that occur in organisms as they live deeper in the ocean. As mentioned in the previous show, food becomes scarcer the deeper you go. This is because the food web begins with the phytoplankton, which can only occur in the photic or well-lit zone. One consequence of living in a food poor environment is a greater water content. There is a higher percentage of water in an organism’s tissues the deeper it lives in the water column. This happens because there is less food available to build strong muscles, so bathypelagic organisms tend to have weak, flabby muscles. Even bones become less dense as you go deeper in the water column. Every organism, whether it lives in the deep sea or on land, uses the energy it receives from the food it eats for three purposes; growth, reproduction and maintenance.
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida - Tampa.

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f98u3le3 - Lesson III: Animal Adaptations and Distributions...

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