Pelagic (Water Column) Communities
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Pelagic (Water Column) Communities Part 1. Pelagic Environment Pelagic Organisms neritic plankton oceanic nekton neuston. Plankton – by type and size phyto, zoo, bacterio. neritic zone: low tide mark to the edge of the continental shelf, about 200 meters

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Pelagic Environment Pelagic Organisms

neritic plankton

oceanic nekton


Plankton – by type and size

phyto, zoo, bacterio

  • neritic zone: low tide mark to the edge of the continental shelf, about 200 meters

  • oceanic zone: beyond OCS and >200m

  • Plankton - Passively floating, drift by water currents or weakly swimming minute or micro. organisms, primarily algae, bacteria, eggs, larvae, protozoa and invert. predators.

  • Nekton - Rel. large, actively swimming organisms, move independently of currents, strong locomotory powers

  • Neuston - minute or microscopic, float on or immediately under water surface

  • Pleuston - organisms occupying the air-water interface (part above water)

Time spent in plankton
Time spent in plankton

  • Holoplankton – entire life cycle in plankton

  • Meroplankton – part of life cycle in plankton, larvae (benthic, pelagic)

Diatoms – pill box or petri dish cell wall of SiO2. Predominate in temperate and arctic

Dinoflagellates – have 2 flagella, cellulose plates. Predominate in tropics

Toxic species – red tide organisms, Pfiesteria

Diversity Predominate in tropics

Zooxanthelle symbionts
Zooxanthelle Predominate in tropics - symbionts

Red tides
Red Tides Predominate in tropics

Coccolithophores Predominate in tropics



CaCO3 plates or “buttons”

Foraminifera Predominate in tropics

  • amoeboid protists

  • fine strands of cytoplasm forms live net

  • shell of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or agglutinated sediment particles,

  • one or multiple chambers

Radiolaria Predominate in tropics

  • amoeboid protozoa

  • hetrotroph

  • SiO2mineral skeletons

  • radiolarian ooze.

  • Rapid speciation - important diagnostic fossil

Other phytoplankton groups
Other phytoplankton groups Predominate in tropics

  • Cyanobacteria

  • Green algae, chlorophytes

Homework assignment
Homework assignment Predominate in tropics

  • HAB – in general, what are they, what are some different types, what causes them (how and why do they form), where do they occur

  • Research recent cases of HAB, use an HAB example to answer (provide basic references)

  • Organism involved and bloom cycle ,

  • how and why does this HAB form,

  • where it has occurred

  • specific ecosystem effects

  • economic effects