The Ocean Biome

By: Meagan McNicholas

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Ocean Biome World Location Map

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General Facts About the Ocean Biome

Temperature Range and Extremes

The ocean biome is the biggest biome in the entire world and it also sees the most varied temperature range of any biome. Temperatures can range from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to over 100 degrees at the surface. This is the part where the sun is directly hitting, so the deeper you go into the ocean, the colder the water will be because there is no light reaching some parts under the water and so no warmth reaching these parts either. With the entire ocean biome considered, the average overall temperature of surface waters is 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but the average temperature of the oceans including all depths is about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly water can be much colder and warmer than this in the ocean and at the very cold temperatures (28.5 degrees Fahrenheit because of the salinity of the ocean) ice can form.

Climate and Weather Patterns

The climate, which is the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general of over a long period, of the ocean biome doesn’t have much effect on the actual ocean because the animals live under the water. However, the temperatures of the ocean are steadily rising and this is affecting the animals that live in this biome because the ice is melting in cold places that this is destroying habitats from animals that live on the land and the ice of the ocean biome. The climate range of the ocean can vary from very cold temperatures of air to very warm temperatures depending of the ocean and part of the world you are in.
Ocean Currents: this is how heat energy moves between earth’s water, land, and atmosphere. Ocean currents are located at all depths of the ocean from deep within it to the surface. The winds, tides, and the Earth’s rotation, known as the Coriolis effect, power the connected current system of the ocean. Some currents are short term and powered by winds and these currents lie on the surface of the ocean. Deep ocean currents are much more intense and they are affected by the salt level of the water and temperature of the water. These currents form a global conveyor belt where currents that are from the surface and warm carry less dense water from the equator to the north and south poles and then the deep ocean currents move water from the poles towards the equator that is cold.
The great ocean conveyor

Wind Currents

These currents above the ocean drive surface currents.
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Landforms

The terrain of the ocean floors differs in all places and there are different landforms that litter the floor of the ocean. The ocean floor is like the land in that is contains lots of landforms and since the ocean is so big and has such a big ocean flood, there isn’t one terrain that you can label it as.

A Few More General Facts

The ocean biome, which can also be referred to as the marine biome, makes up more than 71% of the Earth’s surface and holds 98% of the water present on Earth. It is located surrounding all the continents and landforms on Earth taking up all the space they do not already occupy.

Human Interaction

Housing

On the ocean biome, there aren’t any houses present because the entire thing is water so people are not able to live on it. Because the surface of this entire biome is water and there are strong currents in most of it and no surrounding land and the water is very deep, these put some serious restrictions on the possibility of people ever having houses on the ocean since there aren’t any on it today. There are house boats that people drive around and live in that stay close to the shore to avoid over waters and strong currents. I would not consider these houseboats housing however because at times these boats are docked and have to come to land for gas and supplies so they are not self sustaining and independent like a normal residence on land would be.

Transportation

How People Get Around

People get around on this biome with boats, jet skis, and other water vehicles. They can also get around by scuba diving, but this is only near the coast where they can come back to land or near a boat where they can get back on the boat when they have finished their dive.

Transportation Limits

Transportation is limited for humans on the ocean biome because this biome is strictly aquatic and people don’t live on it. Because the entire biome is covered with water, cars and trains are not a possibility. Planes can be flown over this biome when long distances are to be traveled or large ships can sail long ways across this biome, but for the most part transportation is fairly limited for humans on the ocean biome.

Unique Features

The unique feature of this biome that can be seen in the way people travel on the ocean and through the ocean is the wildlife that is all around them. People can scuba dive or take boats and whale watch or dolphin watch and are able to get an up close experience with the sea creatures.

Environmental Hazards

Transportation by boat and other water vehicles is harmful to the environment because these vehicles use gas and this gas pollutes the ocean waters; they can cut the animals underwater if they run into them as well. Also, these vehicles use oil and this oil can spill into the ocean as well on accident and harm the wildlife. People also litter into the ocean from water vehicles and then animals eat this litter and usually die or are hurt severely because they are not meant to eat those substances.

Food

Foods From the Ocean Biome and Where it Comes From

In this biome there are so many different kinds of foods that people eat such as crab, fish, scallops, shark, clams, oysters, octopus, etc. The ocean biome is home to lots of food humans enjoy. The food here comes directly from the ocean water. That is where this food lives its whole life until it is captured by us to be eaten. Water is very valuable to this biome and the food we eat from it because if there wasn’t any water present then the biome wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t be getting any foods from it.

Food Limitations and Unique Features

This biome cannot support unlimited fishing and catching of species. This causes species to become endangered and extinct, which throws off the balance of the aquatic ecosystem. As far as water is concerned, there is enough of it to go around and in fact it is rising because of melting ice, so I don’t believe there are any limitations on the amount of salt water we are able to use from the ocean, even though there are far fewer uses for saltwater than freshwater. The unique features of this biome that can be observed in the food we obtain from it is that it is aquatic and the water is saltwater. This can be seen in our food because our food had to be fished or gathered or trapped from the water, usually by boat. Also, all the fish that we gather from the ocean have gills and fins on them.

Environmental Side Effects

Environmentally, if we fish too much then that harms the ocean biome because there aren’t unlimited species in it to be fished and they aren’t going to reappear if we fish all of them out of the ocean. Also, when we use boats to fish and gather species from the water for food, we are harming the ocean because the boats put pollutants into the water that harm the wildlife living there.

Economics, Politics, Culture, and the Ocean

Fish and other edible creatures are good for the economy because it increases trade because there are some species in oceans by the U.S. that aren’t living in ocean s by Asia that we trade them for and vice versa. The rising water levels and temperatures of the ocean affect politics because people have been trying to change the global warming crisis for years now and they often point to the oceans as evidence of global warming in hopes for change. The oceans affect the cultures of different areas because some islands are small and they rely directly on oceans for their food and other resources, whereas other cultures are different because they don’t rely specifically on the ocean for support of the people lives so you see a difference in culture from place to place depending on how heavily their reliance on the ocean is.

Recreation

Recreations on the Ocean and its Effects

The ocean biome is used by people recreationally in many ways. People boat, jet ski, go on cruises, transport things, etc. on the ocean. Also, people also do other activities like swimming in the ocean or playing fun sports in the water near the beaches such as surfing and paddle boarding. Scuba diving is another activity people do for recreation in the ocean. This biome attracts people because it is made all of water. People are drawn to the water because it is different than land so people find it intriguing. Lots of humans go on trips to the ocean or across the ocean often to view the beautiful creatures that live in this biome or to enjoy the waters near the beach. Environmentally, people using the ocean for recreational uses is not such a good thing. As people use boats and other water vehicles for leisure on the ocean they are polluting the ocean with these machines which harms the organisms in the ocean. Also, people may run into wildlife living in the shallow water when they are spending time in the water near the coast and this could harm the organisms living in the shallow water on accident if they are stepped on or run into by a boat.

Human Effects on the Ocean Biome

Positive Effects

1. One positive effect humans have had on the ocean biome on accident is the creation of new homes for creatures through shipwrecks. When the ship sinks to the ocean floor, it provides shelter and protection for creatures that want to live there and plants that want to live on the wrecked ship.

2. Another positive effect humans have had on the ocean biome on purpose is the clean up and ocean protection efforts that we are putting forth. There have been laws passed in many countries prohibiting the dumping of materials into the oceans and oil rigs and other machines have become more careful to avoid spillage of oil into the oceans.

Negative Effects

1. A negative effect that humans have had on the ocean biome is that the fish population of lots of different species in the ocean have been over fished by fisheries and the population has gotten down to critical levels for some species and they are on the brink of extinction. This is happening because of the advances that have been made to the equipment used by the fishing industry. With the new technology available, fisheries are catching fish for food faster and more often, which is harming the wildlife in the ocean.

2. Another negative effect humans are having on the ocean biome is that we are polluting it. The ocean has been a place where people dump things such as sewage, industrial run-off, and chemicals for ages. These things in the oceans are pollutants and harm the sea life because the smaller animals eat or absorb these chemicals and then the larger animals eat lots of the pollutants because they eat lots of the smaller animals and it continues in that pattern and the amount of pollution in eat trophic level increases causing more and more damage.

Ocean Vegetation

Seaweed

Seaweed are common ocean plants and they are found mainly in warmer to temperate ocean waters. One adaptation of seaweed is that they have strong hold-fasts that attach to the rock or whatever surface they are on so that way they will not be swept away by currents or waves.
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Ocean Lilies

Ocean lilies are common and they are found on the ocean floor. They have feathery arms as well as a long stalk. One adaptation of a sea lily is that they are now mobile plants and are able to use their arms to drag themselves along the ocean floor to escape the sea urchins trying to eat them. This adaptation evolved after years of being consumed by sea urchins with no defense.
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Sea Lettuce

Sea lettuce is found in shallower waters ranging to 75 feet in depth. They are green and resemble lettuce leaves. One adaptation of sea lettuce is that it has evolved to be able to thrive in waters where the pollution levels are high and they are able to survive where levels of nutrients are high. This is an adaptation because most other species couldn’t survive in environments of this sort.
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Ocean Creatures

The Sperm Whale

The sperm whale is a whale in the ocean with a massive rounded forehead. These whale live in the temperate waters and not at the poles. An adaptation of the sperm whale is to clear out its lungs of all the carbon dioxide through the blowhole and load up with oxygen so that way it can dive to the depths of the ocean to gather food and be able to hold its breath for over an hour.
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Sea Stars

Sea stars live all over the ocean floor from shallow temperate waters to deep cold waters. The sea stars that live in the deep cold waters have adapted to be able to withstand the immense pressure from the water above that is exerted on them because this pressure can be over a thousand atms.

Bottlenose Dolphins

These dolphins are among the smartest creatures in the world. One adaptation they have is a system of communication using high-frequency clicks and noises and then listening for the echoes and reverberations of them to be able to understand one another.
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Oceanic Relationships

Mutualism

The porcelain crab and anemone have a mutualistic relationship because the crab lives inside the anemone and defends the anemone from attackers trying to eat the anemone while at the same time the anemone is attracting food that the crab likes to eat.
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Commensalism

Candy cane shrimp and the goby fish have a commensalistic relationship because the mostly blind shrimp shares a burrow with the goby fish that the goby fish has dug and it neither harms nor helps the goby fish, it simply shares the home the goby made for himself.
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Parasitism

The male and female Blackdevil fish have a parasitic relationship because the female fish lures in all the food with her glowing light attached to her head and then she catches the food and consumes it, all the while the male fish attaches to the female and acts as a blood sucking parasite stealing nutrients from the female to survive.
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Ocean Food Web

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