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Aquatic ecology is the study of

water based ecosystems


is essential substance of life

75 to 95 % of the weight of living cells is water

Earth is made up of 75 % water

The states of water

Chemical formula


Covalent bonding vs. Hydrogen bonding

Hydrogen Bond

Covalent Bond

Chemical Properties of
The basics and a little more
than you wanted to know!

Surface water that is heated by
the sun goes through seasonal
The Thermocline is a narrow
band of water that separates
warm surface water from cool
bottom water

Cold water holds more oxygen

than warm water.

Sea Surface Temperatures

A little More
Evaporation and condensation provide
energy to run the hydrological cycle
This energy reduces the possibility of freezing
in marine organisms tissue

Water also has a high heat capacity that

allows it to absorb or release large
quantities of heat with little temperature
This helps in moderating climates

A little More

Less dense as a solid than a liquid

Prevents water from freezing from the bottom up.
Ice forms on the surface firstthe freezing of
the water releases heat to the water below
creating insulation.
Makes transition between season less abrupt.

The amount of dissolved solids in water
Includes ions of chloride, sodium, sulfate,
magnesium, calcium and potassium

Surface salinity is greatly influenced by


High temps cause increased evaporation rates

and increased salinity.

The Halocline
Like the thermocline, only it is the
zone dividing the surface
(fluctuating) salinity with the
constant salinity found in deep water.
Stenohaline organisms can not
tolerate changes in salinity
Euryhaline organisms adapt to most

Affected by both temperature and
800xs as dense as air.
Density causes bouyancy

Thermocline + Halocline = Pycnocline

pH logarithmic function of the

% of hydrogen ions in a solution
In sea water, pH is between 7.5 8.5
Closely associated w/ dissolved CO2

CO2 is a reactant in photosynthesis

and a product of respiration.
Dissolves easily in sea water and is
stored in marine shells and sediments.
H2O + CO2 = H2CO3, Lowers pH
H2CO3 = HCO3+ H, raises pH

pH cont.
Both reactions change the pH of the
pH is expressed on a scale from 1-14.

The pH Scale

pH Cont.
Enzyme activities and the shapes of
vital proteins require a stable pH.
A decrease in pH could dissolve the
calcium carbonate in mollusk shells.

Dissolved Gases
Dissolved N is the most common gas in the
N gas cant be used by organisms until it is
attached to O in a process called nitrogen
N fixation occurs because blue-green algae
convert N gas to a useable form that animals
need for building proteins and amino acids.

Dissolved Oxygen
primarily comes from photosynthesis of
aquatic plants and algae. They produce over
50% of the total atmospheric Oxygen. (not
to be confused with oxygen in the water
molecule )
O is not very soluble so most of it diffuses
into the air.
Below the thermocline, there is very little O.

Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is highly soluble in sea
water which contains about 50 xs more
CO2 than the atmosphere.

Enters the water from air as well as through


Can be depleted at surface by plants.

Necessary for shell formation.
Oceans remove and store CO2 which remain
relatively constant at 45-54 ml/liter of sea

Transmission of Light
light in the sea comes from two sources: sun
and organisms
a large portion of the electromagnetic
radiation from sun (or moon) is reflected back
into atmosphere -- so only the upper
kilometers of the water column are illuminated

Seeing the Light

light below the surface differs from that above in
both quality and quantity because a major change
occurs at the air-sea surface interface
combined consequences of reflection from the
surface and refraction into it reduce the
angular distribution of light to a narrow cone of
solid angle 97
so a fish looking upward only sees the surface
above water in that cone -- or window (called
Snell's window) -- outside of the window is backscattered light from deeper water

Light Penetration
water absorption preferentially removes
both long (red) and short (ultraviolet)
wavelengths, rapidly resulting in nearmonochromatic blue light, which is then
reduced by 90% for every 70 m of depth
in coastal waters material from plant decay can
absorb additional short wavelengths, resulting
in a greenish hue to the water
turbidity allows green wavelengths to penetrate

Penetrating Light
since water selectively absorbs the reds and violets, blue
penetrates to the lower limits of the photic zone
(autotrophs use red and blue wavelengths) before being
the intensity of light decreases with greater depth

thus autotrophs are restricted to the illuminated upper

surfaces of the ocean, called the photic zone and are unable to
live in the dark lower portion of the ocean called the aphotic

colors are seen differently in shallow vs. open ocean water:

in shallow water there is a structural background of the
shore or a reef which allows animals to hide in it; in open
ocean, no refuge exists and the background is uniform

Light Cont.
Marine Plants (autotrophs) make their own
food by photosynthesis. Heterotrophs cant
make food so they eat plants.
The cycle depends on light entering the
water which may be absorbed or reflected.
About 65% of light energy is absorbed in the
first 5 feet and cant be used by autotrophs.

More Light
Red light is absorbed first in most marine
Blue is transmitted best
Light is inversely proportinal to depth. As
you descend, it gets darker.
The lighted layer is called the photic zone:
about 10% of the ocean.
The dark layer is the aphotic zone.

Turbidity is a measure of the suspended
More sediments results in less light
penetration and poor visibility.
Photosynthesis is reduced.

Turbidity cont.
Turbidity can be measured
with a secchi disk as
visibility.Divide the depth
of the secchi line by the
waters depth.
Turbidity is lower in areas
of high productivity.

Molecular arrangement of water

The shape of the water molecule gives it
special properties that affect aquatic
Viscosity is the resistance to flow: it provides
buoyancy for plankton while increasing the
energy used by nekton to swim.
Surface tension is the attraction of surface
water molecules.
Water is the universal solvent.

Surface tension

In General
As you descend, the ocean becomes
colder, denser, saltier, less light and
has fewer gases.