Marine Biome

Health Issues

Two thirds of our planet is covered with water. Every fragment of land, from the great continent of Eurasia to the tiniest Pacific island, has a shore. The total length of shorelines is huge. Yet the width is hardly measurable in comparison, it is often just a few yards. Shores are strange places, being the edge of the land as well as the edge of the sea. The sea level rises and falls with the tides, making the shore sometimes wet and sometimes dry. Winds drive unchecked across the open ocean and hit the coast with great force. As they blow, they whip up waves that endlessly crash into the land. No two stretches of shore are the same. Each is shaped by many variable factors, the tides, wind, water currents, temperature, climate, and the types of rock from which the land is made. Along each shore a group of highly adapted plants and animals, many of them strange to our land, make their homes.


Tropical Fish

There are many types of life in the oceans and other marine biomes. Some major animals are sharks, fish, and whales. There are many individual species in each of the categories. Such as blue whales, salmon, and great white sharks.

Many fish have adapted in special ways for self-defense. For example cuttlefish have different colored pigments and rapidly changing colors to escape predators.

Rock Fish

Staying hidden is one of the best self-defense methods-if a predator can not see you, he can not eat you. Many sea animals find shelter among the seaweeds, in rocky crevices, or under the sand. Matching the colors and even textures of the background also helps sea creatures remain undetected.

A fish designed to blend into the coral.

Hard shells are useful protection, at least from weak-jawed creatures. Many fish have special tactics for defending themselves from predators or attacking prey. Some produce venom to defend themselves and often advertise their danger with distinctive markings.

Sea Turtle

To make the most of the vast expanses of water, some sea animals travel great distances, criss-crossing the ocean to find the best place to feed and breed.

Humpback Whale

Eel, elongated serpent like fish of the eel order, have nearly 600 diverse species. These species, including the conger eel and moray, are grouped into about 20 families. They inhabit shallow coastal waters throughout the world. Most eels have no scales and are protected by a layer of slippery mucus. Their dorsal and anal fins, which run from close to the head to the often nonexistent tail fin, provide much of the thrust for these lithe swimmers. Most species are less than one meter long. One contger eel, however, is known to grow up to three meters long and is found as deep as 250 meters in the ocean.

Moray Eel


The climate of the ocean does not vary much throughout the seasonal changes. It does not change because water does not heat up or cool down quickly. The ocean carries warm and cool currents that heat or cool the land it goes by.

For example, Hawaii is warm due to the warm currents that are being swept onto the land which it surrounds.

The circulation patterns in the open ocean are horizontal ocean currents that affect the upper surface waters, but the vertical circulation of open ocean water masses may be more important for marine life. There are two types of vertical circulation of ocean water masses: upwelling and thermohaline. In upwelling, deep ocean water rich in dissolved nutrients moves up the continental slope into coastal surface waters, aided by offshore wind patterns. The nutrient-rich waters encourage the growth of plankton, which serves as the base for the food chain throughout the oceans. In thermohaline circlulation, differences in the termperature, density, and salinity of ocean water masses cause the nutrient-rich deep ocean water to rise and mix with suface waters. Thermohaline circulation is restricted to polar regions of the northern and southern hemispheres.


Along the ocean floor you will find many creatures disguised as plants, while they are truly primative animals. Some examples of primative animals would be the sponge, sea urchin, and the sea anenome.

If we were to group the plants into three major groups, they would be classified as coral weed, sea weed, and various forms of kelp.

Coral reefs represent the most complex aquatic ecosystem found betwen 30 degrees north and south latitude, the greatest concentration is found between four degrees north and south latitude in the westerm portions of all major oceans. There are two broad categories of coral reefs: shelf reefs and oceanic reefs. Shelf reefs include fringing reefs, platform reefs, bank reefs, and barrier reefs and are located on the continental shelf, while oceanic reefs are found off the continental shelf growing around the margins of volcanic islands. Coral reefs support a greater number of fish and invertebrate species than any other ecosystem in the ocean.

Green Algae

Green algae is one of 6000 to 7000 species of plants belonging to the phylm Chlorophyta. Organisms in this phylum may appear as single cells, amorphous sheets, or collections of long filamentous strands. Although able to survive in marine and fresh waters, damp soil, or snow and ice, most species are found in freshwater habitats. The red coralline algae belong to the phylum Rhodophyta. They have the ability to incorporate calcium carbonate into their cell walls, giving their bodies a rigid, segmented appearance and texture.

Red Coralline Algae

Health Issues

The major health related issues facing the marine biome are oil spills (Valdez) and water pollution. There are a lot of oil spills off the coasts of Alaska that create total distruction to the wild life and plants of the biome. The other problem is becoming more and more evident. With evolution comes higher technology but also more pollution. Many companies, especially the ones that are near rivers and lakes, use the surrounding water as dumps. They dump tons of oils, acids, and scraps into the world's water every year.

We should give them some credit though. They are starting to change the way they get rid of their waste by using more earth-friendly products and recycling more. Some companies are finding ways to cut waste almost completely. Even though big companies are trying, they still are giving off pollution, if not into the water then into the air. Which is worse-corrupting one biome or corrupting all the biomes?

Biome Index

By Amber Cumiford and Crystal Murphy