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BIOMES:The Open Ocean. Nick Mills and Amy Hicks. Open Ocean. The open ocean is the largest biome, as oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface. This region is also extremely diverse; tiny creatures like plankton and large animals like whales both call it home.

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Biomes the open ocean

BIOMES:The Open Ocean

Nick Mills and Amy Hicks


Open ocean
Open Ocean

  • The open ocean is the largest biome, as oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface. This region is also extremely diverse; tiny creatures like plankton and large animals like whales both call it home.

  • About 90% of the biological population of the oceans live in the top 200 meters of water (called the photic region), as that is the depth sunlight will penetrate to.


Open ocean1
Open Ocean

  • Just like on land, the majority of ocean life relies on light for survival. Autotrophs like phytoplankton, algae, and seagrass produce their own food using photosynthesis and provide the basis for a wide variety of food chains.

  • Zooplankton are a large group of heterotrophs encompassing single-celled organisms, jellyfish, mollusks, and crustaceans.


Open ocean2
Open Ocean

  • Zooplankton are eaten by small fish; these are in turn consumed by larger predators like tuna, sharks, squids, and whales.

  • In deeper parts of the ocean where sunlight is not present, energy is provided in the form of dead biomass coming from the surface above.


Open ocean3
Open Ocean

  • The ocean is one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources because it:

    • Provides source of food

    • Used for transportation/shipping

    • Mined for minerals

    • Drilled for crude oil

    • Regulates the climate

    • Critical role in removing carbon from the atmosphere, provides oxygen


Open ocean4
Open Ocean

  • Problems facing our ocean biomes include:

    • Overfishing; it hurts both the economy of areas dependent on fishing and the ecosystems that the fish live in.

    • Shipping; although it is safe and profitable for the world economy, the dumping of cleaning chemicals and other waste into the water pollutes it.

    • Oil spills; as emphasized by the recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico, oil can have a devastating effect on an ecosystem.


Open ocean5
Open Ocean

  • ENDANGERED: Narwhal (Norwegian for “corpse whale”)

    • Fewer than 120 left

    • Artic whale; hunted in medieval times for it’s ten-foot tusk (an overgrown tooth), which are sold today for around $7000.

    • Threatened by aboriginal hunting and shrinking polar ice


Open ocean6
Open Ocean

  • ENDANGERED: Johnson’s Seagrass

    • Very limited range in southwestern Florida

    • Provides refuge for small sea creatures and their young; source of food for manatees and turtles.

    • Endangered due to reckless boating, propeller scarring, and increased hurricane activity (due to global warming).



Open ocean sources
Open Ocean: Sources

  • http://science.jrank.org/pages/897/Biome.html

  • http://marinebio.org/Oceans/Ocean-Resources.asp

  • http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/the-five-most-endangered-whales-935150.html

  • http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/plants/Johnsons_seagrass/


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