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Marine Ecosystem

Marine Ecosystem 

The interaction of organisms and the marine environment is called a marine ecosystem. Marine refers to something from or made by the sea or ocean.

It is also known as a saltwater ecosystem and refers to the planet's salty waters. Marine ecosystems are the largest ecosystems on the planet because they comprise over 70% of its surface and 97% of its salt water.

The marine ecosystem broadly refers to the oceans, seas, and other saltwater environments; however, it can be divided into smaller, distinct ecosystems upon closer examination. Salt marshes, estuaries, the ocean floor, the open ocean, intertidal zones, coral reefs, lagoons, and mangroves are just a few examples of the various types of marine ecosystems.

Basic Marine Ecosystem Facts

Animals of the Marine Ecosystem

Marine ecosystems support a wide variety of different habitats and a great diversity of life. Their habitats (benthic, oceanic, neritic, and intertidal) and shared characteristics (vertebrates, invertebrates, and plankton) can be used to classify them. Sea urchins, clams, jellyfish, corals, anemones, segmented and unsegmented worms, fish, pelicans, dolphins, phytoplankton, and zooplankton are some specific examples of marine organisms.

Marine ecosystem vegetation

The ocean is home to a wide variety of plants, including seaweed, red, green, and brown algae, sea grasses (the only flowering plants in the marine ecosystem), and mangroves.

Climates of Marine Ecosystems

Since marine ecosystems can be found all over the planet, it should not surprise that marine climates can range from tropical to polar. Marine ecosystems also have monsoon, subtropical, temperate, and subpolar climates.

Ecosystem diversity in the ocean

In comparison to other ecosystems on the planet, the marine ecosystem supports a large diversity of life. Marine ecosystem species have modified aquatic culture to ensure their survival. For instance, fish have gills to aid in their ability to breathe underwater. 

The marine ecosystem supports a wide variety of plant and animal species. Several typical aquatic species include:

  • Seaweed, seagrass, mangroves, phytoplankton, and other types of plants.
  • Sharks, tuna, grouper, eels, seahorses, gars, swordfish, clownfish, stingrays, flatfish, rockfish, sunfish mola, and other fish.
  • Seals, dolphins, blue whales, walruses, manatees, otters, and other mammals.
  • Various mollusc species include cuttlefish, conch, oysters, snails, octopi, clams, squids, etc.

Marine Ecosystem Types

Open deep sea, saltwater wetlands, coral reefs, estuaries, mangroves, sandy beaches, kelp forests, polar marine, and rocky marine ecosystems are among the different types of marine ecosystems.

Open Marine Ecosystem

The marine ecosystem is found on the open ocean's surface, which is the ocean's upper layer where sunlight can easily penetrate.

Up to 150 meters below the surface of the ocean, there is an open marine ecosystem. Numerous marine organisms, including plankton, algae, whales, jellyfish, and others, can find a home in the open marine ecosystem.

Deep-Sea Marine Ecosystem

The deep sea marine ecosystem refers to the ecosystem at great depths on the ocean floor. Various animal species live in a deep-sea marine ecosystem that extends up to 1,000 meters below the surface of the ocean.

Although it can be difficult for sunlight to reach the seafloor, the species has adapted to the local marine environment. Squids, fish, elephant seals, sperm whales, crabs, worms, some sharks, and a wide variety of other animal species can be found in deep-sea marine ecosystems. 

Coral Reef Marine Ecosystem

The unique marine ecosystem found on the seafloor is called coral reefs. This ecosystem is quite productive and can be found primarily in tropical waters. Limestone, or calcium carbonate, makes up the skeleton of coral reefs.  

Nearly a quarter of marine water species have access to food and shelter through the coral reef. Coral reefs draw unusually coloured fish, such as sponges, snails, seahorses, and occasionally large animals like sharks and dolphins.

Marine Wetland Ecosystem in Saltwater 

Seashores are a component of the saltwater wetland ecosystem that makes up the coastline of an ocean or other body of water. The saltwater wetland marine ecosystem is again classified into saltwater swamps and salt marshes.

In contrast to salt marshes, where grasses predominate, saltwater swamps are dominated by trees. Amphibians, reptiles, a few migratory birds, shellfish, fish, and other water species are frequently found in saltwater wetland ecosystems.

Estuary Marine Ecosystem

An estuary marine ecosystem refers to the region near the river mouth where it merges with ocean water. With the tides, this ecosystem's salinity changes. Few different species can be found in the estuary ecosystem.  

Ecosystem of Mangroves in the Sea

Mangroves are a unique variety of saltwater swamp in some tropical and subtropical coastal areas. Specialized tree species that can endure in the saline ecosystem live in mangrove swamps.

A unique type of root system allows these mangroves to survive by absorbing oxygen. Above the water's surface, the roots are spread out. Many species can find refuge in the mangrove ecosystem, including shrimp, jellyfish, birds, sponges, crabs, fish, crocodiles, etc.

Coastal Ecosystem of Sandy

In comparison to other marine ecosystems, Sandy's ecosystem has a very low level of biodiversity. The ecosystem of the sandy beach has a very diverse environment. However, the species found in a sandy beach's ecosystem have evolved to thrive in a constantly shifting environment. 

Marine Ecosystem with Kelp Forest

The kelp forest ecosystem can be found in noticeably cooler water. This ecosystem's typical temperature ranges from 42 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit at depths of 60 to 90 feet.

The kelp forest ecosystem is home to a variety of animal species, including shorebirds, seabirds, invertebrates (fish, crabs, sea stars, snails, etc.), sea lions, seals, whales, and other mammals.

Ecosystem of the Polar Marine

The temperature of this type of marine ecosystem is too cold because of the extremely cold climate of the polar regions. Because of the harsh climatic conditions in this area, the species found in the polar marine ecosystem have evolved.

Planktons, algae, and birds like penguins, polar bears, seals, and walruses, among other species, are the most prevalent species in the polar marine ecosystem.

Rockfish Marine Ecosystem

Rocky marine ecosystems are formed by combining rocky shorelines, cliffs, boulders, tide pools, etc. Species like lichens, birds, and invertebrates (such as lobsters, urchins, barnacles, sea stars, squirts, and seals) are typically found in rocky marine ecosystems.

The marine ecosystem is a distinctive ecosystem that supports a wide range of plant and animal life. Compared to other ecosystems, these species serve as excellent examples of a strong food chain.  

Dead Zones

Some parts of the ocean are known as "dead zones", where the oxygen content is too low to support most marine life. Eutrophication, a process that occurs when water bodies receive an excessive amount of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus and cause excessive growth of algae, is the cause of these zones. A dead zone is produced when the algae eventually die and sink to the bottom of the water, where bacteria consume them and deplete all of the oxygen.

There are a number of effects that the expansion of dead zones in the marine ecosystem may have, including:

  • Diminished marine organisms: In water bodies, dead zones grow as a result of a drastic reduction in the oxygen required for marine life to survive.
  • Fish injury: Because of the drastic changes in oxygen levels, fish experience severe suffering in dead zones, which alters their entire biology.
  • Water pollution: Communities near and upstream from dead zones may experience issues with their drinking water due to elevated nutrient levels and algal blooms.
  • Dead zones in continental seas, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Baltic Sea, and East China Sea, are important fishery areas, and their expansion can have a negative effect on the fishing industry.
  • Modified ecosystem functioning: The development of dead zones has negative effects on ecosystem health, including the expansion of some species and a decline in biodiversity.

In conclusion, the expansion of dead zones in marine ecosystems can have a wide range of negative effects, including modifications to marine life, water pollution, and economic impact.