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Biological Oceanography:

Factors Affecting Life and Ocean Zones

Factors Affecting Life:

Light Dissolved Nutrients Temperature Salinity Dissolved Gases pH Pressure

Needed for photosynthesis. Must occur in the first few 100 m of ocean. Also trigger breeding some species.

Classification by Light:

Dissolved Nutrients
Nutrients are substances that provide nourishment and growth. Required for production of organic (carbon based) matter. Problems:
Phosphorous Loading detergents Nutrient Loading in Halifax Harbour

Dissolved Nutrients

The mixed layer is near the surface where the temperature is roughly that of surface water. In the thermocline, the temperature decreases rapidly from the mixed layer temperature to the much colder deep water temperature. The mixed layer and the deep water layer are relatively uniform in temperature, while the thermocline represents the transition zone between the two.

Cold Blooded:
Changes in temperature will directly affect metabolic rate.

Warm Blooded:
Have blubber that acts as insulation.

Salt content in ocean directly effects buoyancy of organism.
Species have adapted physical features to combat this problem.
Eg. Fish Swim Bladder

Interior salinity of most marine life is equal to oceans salinity.

Dissolved Gases
CO2 and O2 are needed to stay alive in the ocean. O2 does not dissolve easily in ocean.
100 X more gaseous oxygen in air than ocean.

CO2 dissolves more easily in ocean.

60 X more carbon dioxide in ocean than air.

Pure Water = 7 Seawater = 8

Increases drastically with depth.


-Sea Level: 14.7 psi -Under 33 feet: 30 psi -Under one mile: 2 333 psi

Ocean Zones by Light

1. Photic Zone
0-200m sunlit layer at the oceans surface upper part of photic zone is where photosynthesis occur

2. Disphotic Zone
200 1000m where animals can see but not enough light for photosynthesis

3. Aphotic Zone
1000m and below largest region, no light

Ocean Zones by Surface Location

1. Neritic zone spans from the low-tide line to the edge of the continental shelf in oceans near coast 2. Oceanic zone is the part of the open sea or ocean that is not near the coast

Ocean Zones by Depth

1. Pelagic = Belonging to the upper layers of the open sea.

2. Benthic = relating to the ocean bottom, living in or on the bottom of a body of water

Pelagic zone
Is subdivided into
1. Photic zone receives enough sunlight to support photosynthesis. 2. Disphotic zone, where only small amounts of light penetrate 3.Aphotic zone into which no light penetrates.

Sub-divisions of the Bottom

Benthic Zone
1)Littoral Zone The shallow water area between high and low tides. 2) Sublittoral Zone - Ocean bottom near shore and out to edge of continental shelf 3) Bathyal Zone- seabed on the slopes 4) Hadal Zone or Abyssal Zone - deepest sea bed, trenches and floors

Marine Zonation

Littoral Zone
Benthic Zone

Neritic Zone

Oceanic Zone
Photic Zone

The Benthic Zone includes the seafloor and immediate substratum.

disphotic Zone

The Pelagic Zone is all the other open waters of the ocean.

Aphotic Zone

Benthic Zone

Hadal Zone or Abyssal Zone