Marine Biome

The marine biome is the largest biome in the world. It takes up a whopping 70% of the Earth and accounts for 90% of the world’s water supply. This biome boasts of more than 230 distinct species. Marine biome is characterized by salty waters that have a lot of biodiversity making up numerous complex ecosystems. The marine biome is prestigious due to it’s a biotic factors. The absence of a biotic factors means oceans would be lifeless. The sun is essential to this biome as it provides the sunlight needed for algae and phytoplankton, which are the cornerstone of the ocean’s food chain. Water depth and water temperature significantly affect the life that exists in this biome.

Marine biome is a division of aquatic biome, which also consists of freshwater biome. It is a unique collection of underwater ecosystems, which supports a wide range of animals, plants, and conditions. Marine biome is, essentially, an oceanic ecosystem.

sea-ocean-underwater-turtleLocation

Marine biome is found in 5 main oceans: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic and the Southern ocean.

Climate

Marine biome experiences an average temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). The ocean biome is naturally colder at the South Pole, but as you approach the equator, it becomes warmer because the sun rays strike the water surface directly. Marine species are continually impacted by any change in climatic condition. The oceans are frequently disturbed by oceans waves and currents. This phenomenon causes typhoons and hurricanes, which may not have any impact on many marine species.

However, species like fish, polar bear, Plankton, seals, sea lions, walruses, seabirds, and penguins are often impacted by the typhoons and hurricanes. Some species have mastered to adapt to these seasonal disasters; they migrate to safer places when disaster strikes or when it’s about to strike. The high temperature is another aspect that impacts species in the marine biome. High temperatures have contributed to lots of marine death. The high temperatures cause coral bleaching, which has since resulted in 70% of marine death throughout the world.

The soil in this biome is constantly wet because of the water. Marine biome consists of water life, which makes the soil always wet.

Plants

There are two major kinds of plants here; the sea grasses and the algae and seaweeds. Seaweeds fall into the family of the most sophisticated plants. Algae and seaweeds manifest simple forms and are typically microscopic. Plants in the marine biome vary from minute single-celled organisms to large, complex forms. Marine plants naturally grow near the surface of the water to harness the sunlight for photosynthesis. They also collect nutrients from particles washed up from the seafloor by currents. Some plants thrive deep into the ocean where there is no sunlight. These plants, called phosphorescent, produce chemical lights.

Kinds of Marine Plants

Phytoplankton

The smallest plants thriving in the marine biome are phytoplankton. They are single-celled plants and are the cornerstone of the marine food chain.

Green algae (Chlorophyta)

Green algae represent the most popular marine plant. Chlorophyll content gives these plants their characteristic bright green color. When these plant species leave calcify, they contribute to the layers on the ocean floor. Statistically, 200,000 algae species exist in marine biomes despite the fact that just 36,000 have been found.

Red algae (Rhodophyta)

Red algae are the largest and most diverse plant species in the marine biome. They owe their color to the pigment phycoerythrin. Some even stick themselves to corals and create reefs eventually. Both red and green algae species favor cold and warm water. Brown algae, on the other hand, also known as Phaeophyta due to fucoxanthin pigmentation, favor cold or temperate water. A few brown algae species exist in the tropics.

Brown algae are the most popular plant species on reefs. Cyanobacteria (blue-green bacteria, previous referred to as blue-green algae, are chiefly microscopic strands. These microscopic strands convert nitrogen derived from the atmosphere into forms that are able to be used by other marine plants.

Marine biome plants typically live in various habitats throughout the world, including open seas, salt marshes or near shores. For example, the Giant Kelp (seaweed mostly found in the South Pacific) grows in colonies in the warm coastal waters. On the contrary, sea ice algae, grows on floating ice sheets.

Marine biome plants have various roles. Marine biome plants, mainly, sea grasses and macro algae, offer shelter and nourishment for many animals. Marine plants help corals to build up reefs. The reefs are then held intact by plants like coralline algae. Algae typically live inside certain marine animals. Coral tissues are home to millions of algae per square inch. Marine plants are the sources of nutrients for the corals.

Algae can also be found in panels inside gigantic clams, in flatworms and sponges. Marine plants also play a significant role in kelp bed forests; they serve as habitats and food for the wide range of animals like eels, octopi, and seals.

Animals

Marine biome is home to a wide variety of animals. The animals obtain food from plants and small animals within this biome. The same plants provide animals with shelter. Some broad categories of animals that live in the marine biome include fish, whales, crustaceans, mollusks, sea anemones, fungi, and bacteria.

Tiger Shark

Feed on fish, marine mammals, seabirds, crustaceans and mollusks. They live near coastlines in the tropical and subtropical waters. Tiger Sharks have sharp teeth to devour their prey.

Grey Whale

Their main source of food is small crustacean-like amphipods and tubeworms. They mainly live in shallow waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Grey Whales have long streamlined bodies to effortlessly glide through the water.

Starfish

Feeds on oysters, plankton, and clams. It’s mainly found in Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans. It has a calcareous skin for regeneration and protection.

Sea Horse

Sea Horse feeds on shrimps. It lives in coral reefs and seagrass beds in tropical waters. Sea Horse has mobile eyes that can see without moving. The male carries fertilized eggs, contrary to the belief that the female is supposed to carry the egg.

Other animals types in the marine biome include black tip reef shark, blue tang, manatees, dugongs, convict tang, box crab just to name a few.

Types of Marine Biomes

There are three types of marine biomes:

  1. Oceans

Oceans are the largest types of marine biomes with a huge array of organisms. They bond with the land habitat through the inter-tidal zone (where tides rise and fall). Nevertheless, the land and ocean work hand-in-hand to transport heat and water throughout the earth.

  1. Coral reefs

Coral reefs are underwater limestone structures generated by minute invertebrate animal species known as corals. Coral reefs only develop in shallow, Tropical Ocean. These animals secrete limestone (calcium carbonate) to develop an external skeleton. They usually live in groups, and the skeletal material continues to develop to form a reef. Coral reefs are home to numerous marine biome organisms, as well as over 4,000 tropical fish species.

  1. Estuaries

Estuaries are, basically, bays where rivers empty into oceans. They are typically semi-enclosed, which makes them protected areas. The surrounding waters are nutrient-packed coming from the rivers, and they are shallow enough to allow penetration of sunlight to aid photosynthesis. Due to this aspect, estuaries are brimming with marine life.

Photo by: tpsdave

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