Deep Sea Adaptations

Topics: Ocean, Oceanography, Pelagic zone Pages: 8 (2073 words) Published: June 17, 2013
Life in the deep ocean

[pic] Investigate how organisms survive in an extreme environment
Earth and space science: 2.4

Credits: 4

Arnold Weiner


1.0 Introduction
2.0 Ocean zones
2.1 The epipelagic zone
2.2 The mesopelagic zone
2.3 The bathypelagic zone
2.4 The abyssopelagic zone
2.5 The haedopelagic zone
3.0 The Bathypterois
3.1 Adaptations
3.11 Feeding
3.12 Reproduction
3.15 Sensory Organs
3.14 Size
3.15 Ontogenetic vertical migration 3.2 Habitat, Location and Sightings

1.0 Introduction

What is an extreme environment?

An extreme environment is an environment where humans could not live without technological assistance. Organisms that live in these environments possess special adaptations that enable them to survive the extreme conditions of their environment.1 An extreme environment can be characterized by conditions that are far outside the boundaries in which humans dwell comfortably, in these categories: pH levels, pressure, temperature, salinity, radiation, desiccation, and oxygen level. An organism that thrives in an extreme environment is called an extremophile. An extreme environment is one that does not meet the basic needs of human life.

2.0 The ocean zones

The ocean has five different zones as the depth increases, the epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic, abyssopelagic and lastly the haedoplagic zone. These zones 2extend from the surface to the most extreme depths where light can no longer penetrate. These deep zones are where some of the most bizarre and fascinating creatures in the sea can be found. As we dive deeper into these largely unexplored places, the temperature drops and the pressure increases at an astounding rate. The following diagram lists each of these zones in order of depth. Creatures living in different zones will have different adaptations to help them survive the conditions in their zone. [pic]

2.1 The Epipelagic zone

The Epipelagic zone is the zone closest to the surface. Life is abundant here, with all varieties of fish, mammal and crustacean living together.3 90% of all ocean life lives in this zone because of warm temperatures and sunlight that goes down about 200 metres. This is the only zone to support plant life because it has the light needed for photosynthesis, which is important because it produces a lot of oxygen and some carbon. Because of the variety in plant life there is a variety of animals including sharks, mackerels, tuna, seals, jellyfish, sea lions, sea turtles, sting rays, and much more! Though there are a lot of plants, there aren’t very many places to hide. Therefore some species have developed a camouflage called counter shading. Counter shading is when an organism is dark on the top of their bodies, and light on the bottom. This helps disguise them so that if a predator is looking up at them they will blend in with the water above and if they are looking down at them they will blend in with the darker water below.

2.2 The Mesopelagic Zone

The Mesopelagic zone extends from 200 to 1000 metres. Many animals living in the mesopelagic zone possess swim bladders full of gas that help them to migrate to the epipelagic zone to feed at night. These also help the organism to cope with the change in pressure, and to hide from large predators in the mesopelagic zones dark oxygen depleted waters. These species 4 usually have well-developed...
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