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Chapter 15 Animals of the Benthic Environment. Essentials of Oceanography 7 th Edition. Benthic organisms. Benthic organisms are those that live in or on the ocean floor More than 98% of known marine species are benthic

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chapter 15 animals of the benthic environment

Chapter 15 Animals of the Benthic Environment

Essentials of Oceanography

7th Edition

benthic organisms
Benthic organisms
  • Benthic organisms are those that live in or on the ocean floor
  • More than 98% of known marine species are benthic
  • The vast majority of benthic species live within the shallow continental shelf
benthic biomass closely matches surface productivity
Benthic biomass closely matches surface productivity

Surface productivity

Figure 13-6

Benthic biomass

Figure 15-1

rocky shores
Rocky shores
  • Most organisms live on the surface (epifauna)
  • Zonation of rocky shores:
    • Spray zone (rarely covered by water)
    • High tide zone
    • Middle tide zone
    • Low tide zone (rarely exposed)
  • Upper zones have mostly shelled organisms
  • Lower zones have many soft-bodied organisms and algae
sea anemone
Sea anemone
  • A vicious predator cleverly disguised as a harmless flower but armed with stinging cells

Figure 15-4

sediment covered shores
Sediment-covered shores
  • Most organisms burrow into the sediment (infauna)
  • Sediment-covered shores include:
    • Beaches
    • Salt marshes
    • Mud flats
how a clam burrows
How a clam burrows

Figure 15-10

shallow offshore ocean floor
Shallow offshore ocean floor
  • Extends from the spring low-tide shoreline to the edge of the continental shelf
  • Mostly sediment-covered but contains rocky exposures
  • Includes:
    • Kelp forests
    • Coral reefs
kelp forests
Kelp forests
  • Kelp forests are found on rocky bottoms and provide habitat for many organisms
  • Gant brown bladder kelp Macrocystis has a strong holdfast and gas-filled floats
  • Macrocystis can grow up to 0.6 meter (2 feet) per day

Figure 15-15a

coral reefs
Coral reefs
  • Coral reefs are hard, wave-resistant structures composed of individual coral animals (polyps)
  • Individual coral polyps:
    • Are about the size of an ant
    • Are related to jellyfish
    • Feed with stinging tentacles
    • Live attached to the sea floor in large colonies
    • Construct hard calcium carbonate structures for protection
    • Contain symbiotic photosynthetic zooxanthellae algae
coral reefs environmental conditions
Coral reefs: Environmental conditions
  • Coral reefs need:
    • Warm water: 18-30°C (64-86°F)
    • Strong sunlight (for symbiotic algae)
    • Strong wave/current action
    • Lack of turbidity
    • Salt water
    • Hard substrate for attachment
  • Coral reefs found in shallow, tropical waters
coral bleaching
Coral bleaching
  • Coral bleaching occurs when symbiotic zoothanthellae algae is removed or expelled
  • Associated with high water temperatures

Figure 15B

the deep ocean floor
The deep-ocean floor
  • Characteristics of the deep ocean:
    • Absence of sunlight
    • Temperatures around freezing
    • Average salinity
    • High dissolved oxygen
    • Extremely high pressure
    • Slow bottom currents (except abyssal storms)
    • Low food supply
deep sea hydrothermal vent biocommunities
Deep-sea hydrothermal vent biocommunities
  • Found in deep water near black smokers along the mid-ocean ridge
  • Do not rely on food from sunlit surface waters
  • Organisms include:
    • Tube worms
    • Clams
    • Mussels
    • Crabs
    • Microbial mats
deep sea vent biocommunity food source chemosynthesis
Deep-sea vent biocommunity food source: Chemosynthesis
  • Deep-sea vent biocommunities rely on bacteria and archaeon that chemosynthesize

Figure 15-25

other deep sea biocommunities
Other deep-sea biocommunities
  • Low-temperature seep biocommunities are associated with:
    • Hypersaline seeps
    • Hydrocarbon seeps
    • Subduction zone seeps
end of chapter 15

End of Chapter 15

Essentials of Oceanography

7th Edition