The largest and most significant biomes are the Marine Biome and the Wetland Biome. An overview of the marine environment and the various ecosystems it contains may be found on this page.
What is the marine biome?
The world’s biggest biome, the marine biome, covers three-quarters of the Earth’s surface. Oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries are all saltwater ecosystems that may be found in this biome. The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern oceans are the five primary oceans in the marine biome. Many gulfs and bays are part of the marine biome.
Healthy oceans are also necessary for life on land, and the marine environment supports a wide range of species. Algae are a major source of oxygen and take up a significant quantity of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The sea’s normal water temperature is about 39 degrees Fahrenheit (four degrees Celsius), however it may vary depending on a variety of factors, such as location and depth. The Arctic Ocean, with an average temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2.22 degrees Celsius), is the coldest ocean on Earth.
The Mariana Trench is a photograph taken near the ocean’s deepest point. NOAA Vents Program, Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration
The euphytic, disphotic, and aphotic zones of the ocean are based on depth and are separated into three vertical zones.
The region where light can enter and where the majority of photosynthesis occurs is known as the euphotic zone. The depth of this zone is roughly 656 feet (200 meters).
The “twilight zone” of the ocean, or the disphotic zone, is found in the middle layer. Since less light can get to this zone, it appears dark blue to black.
The aphotic zone is the third layer’s name, and it is totally dark. It is also very cold, and little life can survive there. Around 80% of the ocean is covered by this zone.
The Mariana Trench, which is 36,200 feet (10,000 meters) deep and deeper than Mount Everest is tall, is the deepest point in the ocean.
Marine Ecosystems and Habitats
The ocean, coral reefs, and estuaries are three of the most important ecosystems in the marine biome. Each of them has several habitats with distinct characteristics, which support a wide range of marine creatures.
Coral Reef Ecosystem
From tropical areas to those that are quite frigid, coral reefs are incredibly diversified and may be found all around the globe.
The reefs are primarily built by coral polyps, which are animals. There are thousands of different coral species, each with its own personality and appearance. Some create huge and colorful colonies, while others prefer to be more alone and tiny.
Corals grow near to the shore, and reefs develop. Because they border the coast of a continent or an island, the majority of coral reefs are called fringe reefs.
Because corals take a long time to develop, reefs develop slowly. The fastest-growing coral species grows at a pace of six inches (15 cm) per year, although most will only attain an inch in length over the next 12 months.
The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches off the coast of Australia’s east coast, is the world’s biggest coral reef. It has expanded over 1,600 miles (2,600 km) since it first sprouted 20,000 years ago. It is so huge that from space, it may be seen.!
Although coral reefs cover just 2% of the ocean’s bottom, they are believed to support over 25% of all marine species. For food and protection, coral reefs are important.
Several species utilize coral reefs as mothering grounds, as well.
The ocean ecosystem of the marine environment is the most complicated. The four horizontal zones that make up this division are intertidal, pelagic, benthic, and abyssal.
The intertidal zone looks different depending on its geographical location and time of day. The ocean meets the land here. This zone is occasionally submerged and exposed when waves and tides enter and leave it.
The intertidal zone is rocky in some areas. Only a few algae and mollusks live on the rocks on the edge of this zone, which are exposed. On rocks that are typically submerged, the lifeforms become more diverse and plentiful. Algae and tiny creatures like snails, crabs, sea stars, and tiny fish live in this rocky region.
Large fish, seaweeds, and invertebrates live at the bottom of the intertidal zone, which is only exposed during low tides. Sandier coasts are less diversified, as opposed to the rocky coast. Because of the constant shifting of the waves, plants and algae find it difficult to establish themselves. Worms, clams, crustaceans, crabs, and shorebirds make up the majority of this region.
Several fish species and some marine creatures, such as whales and dolphins, live in the pelagic zone, which is farther from the shore.
The temperature varies at different depths due to thermal stratification and mixing of warm and cold currents, making this region colder than the intertidal zone. Surface seaweeds are the most common flora in this zone.
The benthic zone, which includes the sea bottom, is located beneath the pelagic zone. Sand, silt, and dead organisms make up the bottom of this zone. As one moves deeper into the ocean’s abyssal zone, the temperature gets colder and colder.
Bacteria, fungus, sea stars, marine worms, sea anemones, and fish are all found in the benthic zone because it is nutrient-rich. Seaweed is the dominant plant in this zone.
The abyssal zone is home to hydrothermal vents. Several types of chemosynthetic bacteria are supported by these vents, which release large amounts of hydrogen sulfide and other minerals. Invertebrates and fish feed on this, which is why it is called invertebrate food.
When salt water from the sea meets fresh water from the land, estuaries are formed. Bays, lagoons, inlets, harbors, wetlands, sounds, and swamps are some of the other names for estuaries. They come in a variety of sizes.
Tides influence estuaries, and the ebbing and flowing of the tide has an impact on changes not just related to fresh-saltwater mixing. Since the creatures and plants that survive here must be adapted to deal with all of the various changes in water chemistry, such as salinity, they must be able to adjust to them.
Estuaries are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth, despite these challenges. Fish, shellfish, crustaceans, marine worms, seagrasses, algae, plankton, and mangroves are among the flora and fauna found there.
Estuaries serve as nesting and breeding habitats for a variety of species. As a place to raise their young, many types of sharks utilize estuaries. Until they are ready to swim out into the open ocean, the young may utilize estuaries for food and protection.
Biodiversity within the Marine Biome
It’s no surprise that the marine biome supports a wide variety of plants and animals, since it encompasses a wide range of habitats.
Little unicellular creatures like algae, which produce their own food via photosynthesis, comprise the marine food chain’s first link.
Larger zooplankton, shrimp, and other tiny creatures consume phytoplankton. Larger animals, such as sedentary species like corals and mollusks, are then in the food chain.
Crustaceans, squids, jellyfish, eels, snakes, and fish are among the more mobile animals above these. The apex predators, such as killer whales and large white sharks, are at the top of the marine food chain.
The first 200 meters of the marine environment are home to the majority of life. The population density quickly declines as light can’t penetrate to greater depths. Certain species of clams and marine worms, on the other hand, may be found at greater depths
With the majority of the world’s oceans remaining undiscovered, the number of species living in them is likely to be in the millions. The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species.
Threats to the marine biome
The greatest threats to the marine biome include climate change and pollution.
By increasing temperatures and acidification, global warming is changing the nature of ocean habitats.
Rising temperatures have the potential to modify the habitat of numerous species, as well as that of their prey and vegetation. Temperatures that fluctuate may have negative consequences on reproduction and growth. Certain coral species, for example, are rapidly bleaching when temperatures rise and die as a consequence of their demise.
Marine ecosystems are also being impacted by pollution. With 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the oceans every year, it is one source of pollution. Plastic pollution accounts for 80% of all marine debris discovered in the water column, which is a good starting point. When species eat or get tangled in this trash, it can cause serious problems. Ingestion or entanglement may result in severe injury or death.
Plastic pollution harms both animals and humans. Tap water, beer, salt, and all ocean water samples have been found to include microplastics, which are often unseen to the human eye.
Several processes in the bodies of humans and animals have been shown to be affected by chemicals used in the manufacture of plastic, which may have carcinogenic properties.
Overfishing, agricultural and industrial effluents, and habitat destruction are some of the other impacts on the marine biome.
The seas provide food, employment, and pleasure to a large number of people. In order for our practices to become sustainable in the long term and minimize impacts on nature, conservation and management plans must address these issues.