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Marine Biome: Location, Climate, Plants, Animals, and Types of Marine Biomes

Marine Biome: Location, Climate, Plants, Animals, and Types of Marine Biomes

Marine 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 more than 230 distinct species. The 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 its abiotic factor. The absence of abiotic 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.

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

Location

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

The marine biome is found on every continent. The two largest bodies of water in the world are the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The Indian Ocean is really an extension of the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean is an extension of the Atlantic Ocean. The Arctic Ocean is also an important marine biome.

Climate

Marine species are continually impacted by any change in climatic conditions. The oceans are frequently disturbed by ocean waves and currents. This phenomenon causes typhoons and hurricanes, which may not have any impact on many marine species. However, species like fish, polar bears, Plankton, seals, sea lions, walruses, seabirds, and penguins are often impacted by typhoons and hurricanes. Some species have mastered adapting 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 marine biome also consists of water life, which makes the soil always wet.

Precipitation

Unlike other biomes, the marine biome doesn’t have a standard precipitation rate. It can be found in areas that are both extremely wet and extremely dry. In the wet regions, precipitation rates are extremely high and typically flood the land. In the dry regions, precipitation is very low, and the water is usually found in the form of salt lakes.

Temperature

Marine biomes experience 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’s rays strike the water’s surface directly.

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The temperature of the ocean is determined by the depth of the water, which is very sensitive to sunlight. The upper layers of the ocean are heated by the sun, while the deeper layers are cooled as the heat from the sun travels downward. In tropical regions, the upper layers of water temperature can exceed 86°F. In temperate regions, the upper layer of water may remain above 68°F while the upper layer of water in the polar regions may remain below 38°F.

Soil

The marine biome is teeming with life that has adapted to the salty, humid conditions. The soil in a marine environment isn’t any different. Marine soils are called sand or mud, which can be found at the bottom of the ocean. There are several types of marine soil and each type has its own characteristics and role.

Types Of Marine Soil

Shallow Marine Soil

The shallow marine soil is found on the coastlines of the world’s oceans. It can be sandy, muddy, or a combination of both. These soils are typically just a few feet deep, but can be much deeper in some areas. The quality of the shallow marine soils can vary depending on how near the shoreline they are. In some areas, the water is quite salty and the soils are very saline. In other areas, the water is less salty, and the soils are less saline. The type of shallow marine soil that a coast has depends on how far the water has traveled from its origins. For example, the Gulf of Mexico has very salty water, and the soils near the shoreline are very saline. The Atlantic Ocean in the same area has less salty water, and the soils are less saline.

Deep Marine Soil

Deep marine soil is located beneath shallow marine soil in many areas. It is often very dark in color because it contains large amounts of organic matter. Deep marine soils are found below the low tide level, but they can be located above the low tide level in some areas. Deep marine soils are formed when mud and other materials are carried into the oceans by rivers. The mud, sand, and other materials are deposited by currents, waves, and tides on the seafloor. In time, they build up and form deep marine soils.

Estuarine Soil

Estuaries are bodies of water that are situated where rivers meet the ocean. The soils in estuaries are a combination of marine soil and river soil. The marine portion of the soil is what gives the estuarine soil its dark, muddy color. The river portion of the soil is usually light in color. Estuaries are important because they provide a link between marine and terrestrial ecosystems. They allow organisms from the two systems to interact with one another. A large number of organisms also depend on estuaries for survival.

Coastal Soil

The coastal soil is the first soil type we’ve discussed that is found in the terrestrial biome. Coastal soil is found along the edges of many marine ecosystems, such as coastal beaches. It is often sandy in texture because sand makes up a large portion of the materials that form it. These soils are formed when sand, clay, and other materials are deposited near a coastline. They accumulate over time and form coastal soils. Coastal soils are naturally unstable because they are very sandy. They are easily eroded by wind, waves, and other forces.

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Bottom Sediments

The bottom sediments are the least understood soil type in the marine biome. They are found at the bottom of the world’s oceans. Bottom sediments are typically made of clay, silt, and sand. They are often dark in color because they contain large amounts of organic matter. The amount of bottom sediments in the oceans is much greater than the amount of shallow marine soils, deep marine soils, and estuarine soils combined. Like the other marine soils, bottom sediments are formed by the materials that are carried into the oceans by rivers.

Plants

There are two major kinds of plants here; sea grasses and 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 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 (Phaeophyta)

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.

Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria)

Cyanobacteria (blue-green bacteria, previously 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.

Characteristics of Plants in Marine Biome

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 warm coastal waters. On the contrary, sea ice algae grows on floating ice sheets.

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Marine biome plants have various roles. Marine biome plants, mainly, sea grasses and macroalgae, offer shelter and nourishment for many marine biomes 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 in sponges. Marine plants also play a significant role in kelp bed forests; they serve as habitats and food for a wide range of animals in the marine biomes like eels, octopi, and seals.

Animals

The 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.

Animals in the marine biomes include;

1. Tiger Shark

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

2. 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.

3. Starfish

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

4. 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 animal types in the marine biome include black-tip reef sharks, blue tang, manatees, dugongs, convict tang, box crabs, etc.

Types of Marine Biomes

There are three types of marine biomes:

  1. Oceans

Oceans are the largest type 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 oceans. 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 the penetration of sunlight to aid photosynthesis. Due to this aspect, estuaries are brimming with marine life.

Photo by: tpsdave