16- Marine and Coastal Systems

16- Marine and Coastal Systems - MarineandCoastalSystems

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Marine and Coastal Systems Environmental Problems Biol. 1305
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Oceans cover most of the  Earth’s surface The oceans influence global climate, team  with biodiversity, facilitate transportation and  commerce, and provide resources for us They cover 71% of Earth’s surface and  contain 97% of Earth’s surface water Oceans influence the atmosphere,  lithosphere, and biosphere 
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The oceans contain more than  water Ocean water is 96.5%  water  Plus, ions of dissolved  salts Evaporation removes  pure water and leaves a  higher concentration of  salt Nutrients (nitrogen and  phosphorus) 
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Ocean water is vertically  structured Temperature declines with depth Heavier (colder saltier) water sinks Light (warmer and less salty) water remains  near the surface Temperatures are more stable than land  temperatures Water’s high heat capacity  It takes much more heat to warm water than air Oceans regulate the earth’s climate  They absorb and release heat
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Ocean water flows horizontally  in currents   Currents  = the ocean is composed of vast  riverlike flows  Driven by density differences, heating and cooling,  gravity, and wind  Influence global climate and El Niño and La Niña Transport heat, nutrients, pollution, and the larvae of  many marine species Some currents such as the Gulf Stream are  rapid and powerful The warm water moderates Europe’s climate
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The upper waters of the oceans  flow in currents
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Surface winds and heating create  vertical currents   Upwelling =  the vertical flow of cold, deep water towards  the surface  High primary productivity and lucrative fisheries Also occurs where strong winds blow away from, or  parallel to, coastlines  Downwellings  = oxygen-rich water sinks where surface  currents come together 
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Regions of ocean differ greatly Some zones support more life than others Photic zone  = well-lighted top layer that  supports high primary productivity Pelagic  = habitats and ecosystems occurring  between the ocean’s surface and floor Benthic  = habitats and ecosystems occurring  on the ocean floor
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biodiversity Microscopic phytoplankton  constitute the base of the  marine food chain in the  pelagic zone  Algae, protists, and  cyanobacteria These organisms feed  zooplankton Which then feeds fish,  jellyfish, whales, etc. Predators at higher trophic 
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16- Marine and Coastal Systems - MarineandCoastalSystems

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