Ocean Habitats

Topics: Ocean, Coral reef, Oceanography Pages: 8 (2951 words) Published: May 10, 2012
An Ocean Habitat or sometimes refer to as a marine environment is a place in the ocean where plants and animals interact with the chemical and physical features of the environment. An Ocean habitat is a place where communities of organisms live. The three main ocean habitats of the ocean are the open water, the soft sandy to muddy bottom and the hard shore. Examples of ocean habitats are the coral reefs, the estuaries and the abyssal zone. Habitats can be classified in a number of ways in order to compare them at different times, across different geographic areas, and in terms of different life history strategies. Habitats are as varied as the animals that live in them and each could be infinitely described, but another general way to think of them is according to their measurable characteristics, or parameters. Examples of habitat characteristics include temperature, moisture, substrate type, nutrient availability, altitude or depth in water, and amount of light and wind or current in water. Coral reefs are the most diverse and beautiful of all marine habitats. Large wave resistant structures have accumulated from the slow growth of corals. The development of these structures is aided by algae that are symbiotic with reef-building corals, known as zooxanthellae. Coralline algae, sponges, and other organisms, combined with a number of cementation processes also contribute to reef growth. A coral reef is made of thin layers of calcium carbonate A coral reef is very effective at absorbing nutrients from the waters surrounding it. This includes obtaining phosphorus and nitrogen from sea waters, and other nutrients from small organisms making their home in the coral reef. A coral reef is one of the largest living communities in the world. Thousands of species make their home there, including over 4,000 different tropical fishes, jellyfish, crabs, sea urchins, and starfish. Mammals may visit a coral reef, but none actually live on or near it. Coral reef is also susceptible to major environmental changes, including global warming, which affects water currants and marine migration. Coral bleaching, a form of erosion occurs when water temperatures reach higher-than-normal levels. This can prove disastrous for a coral reef. There are several species of marine life native to coral reefs that you may recognize in your local pet store. The most common are clown fish, sea horses, and peppermint shrimp. Other species not as common in pet stores are the lion fish, sea anemones, and porcupine fish. Most coral reef inhabitants in pet stores are captured live because they do not reproduce well in captivity. There are two main types of organisms that create coral reef structures. The dominant organisms are known as framework builders, such as Elkhorn coral and hexagonal polyps, which build the main matrix of the reef. Among the less dominant but no less important organisms are coralline algae, sponges, sea fans and anemones, which precipitate calcium carbonate and silicon. This precipitation creates a cementation process that builds the reef upwards.
An estuary is where a river meets the ocean. It is a body of water where salt water from the ocean and fresh water from the river mix together. Estuaries are the homes to thousands of animal and plant species. They are all over the world and at the end of almost every river. There are few rivers in the world that do not end up in the sea. Estuaries are based all around the world; they are even the main source of food for some cities. These cities build their homes, restaurants, and businesses around estuaries in certain areas of the world because of the environment it has. A big majority of the world gets their food supply and their water supply from estuaries, seeing that millions of cities around the world are based around rivers and eventually rivers lead into estuaries. Seventy-five percent of fish that...

Cited: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
"polar ecosystem." Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Ocean and Resources Essay
  • How CO2 Effects the Earths Oceans Essay
  • Marine Ecosystem Causes of Degradation and Case Studywhat Is the Marine Ecosystem? Marine Ecosystems Are Among the Largest of Earth's...
  • Ocean Pollution Essay
  • Ocean Acidification Essay
  • Upset In The Ocean Essay
  • Global Warming Kills the Oceans Essay
  • Comparison Between The Ocean Marine And Temperate Grasslands Ecosystem Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free