Introduction

INTRODUCTION Ecology is the study of living things interacting with its environment, other species, and its own kind. Its a study of all external condition and factors, both biotic ( living ) and a-biotic ( nonliving ), that affect an organism. To carry out this study, scientists observe different ecosystems: forests, deserts, grasslands, oceans, or any kind of interaction between organisms and their surroundings, or with each other, which are called ecosystem effects. There are four components within an ecosystem. The a-biotic component, which determines the types of organisms found there, the producers, the consumers, and the decomposers. These components cause continual change within the system; the exchange of materials between the living and nonliving. All organisms living within an ecosystem are dependent on other living and nonliving organisms for survival and continued growth.

Two basic kinds of processes must occur in an ecosystem: a cycling of chemical elements and a flow of energy. The flow of energy is from the external environment through a series of organisms and back to the external environment. To preserve the system, we must try to conserve the specie or manage the natural resources so that they are sustainable. THE OCEAN The ocean is the great body of water that surrounds each continent. Covering more than 70 percent of the earths surface, it contains 97 percent of all the water on the earth and is recognized as the earths greatest single unifying system.

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Studies say that the sea was formed due in part of the continental drift. This theory states that the continents were once a single great mass of land surrounded with one body of ocean. The mass broke off into separate continents, slowly drifting apart. That explains why these continents can perfectly fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The continental drift theory was questioned, and later scientist formed a new theory called sea-floor spreading, which explained the forces that caused the continents to move.

And even later, another theory was formed, called plate tectonics, which combined the two theories together. The coast is the edge of the land, the beginning of the sea, the brink of the beach, the rim of the ocean. Its the conflict between human activities and natural forces that is widespread along the open shoreline. Humans have begun to inhabit the coastline area. They find the ocean breeze to be so overwhelming that now, many live in houses along the coast.

It disrupts a delicately balanced environment and imperils the lives and property of coastal dwellers. The continental shelf belongs to the land and to the sea. It is the submerged land at the edge of the continents; the thin strip at the edge of land and the surface of the sea. The shelf begins at the shoreline and gently slopes underwater to an average depth of 430 feet, having a width averaging 47 miles. In the Arctic region it extends 750 miles, while in the Pacific region it measures only 1 mile.

It encounters the land, air, bright sunlight, grasses and trees, rain and snow, rivers and glaciers. The shelf supports every class of creature from bacteria to mammals, both inland and in the sea. The sea absorbs all changes and the sea creatures would always find regions of stability and abundance. It experiences only light, sudden extinction and replacements. The ocean has gradually accepted new types of life, but also maintained many of the old ones.

All over the world sea levels rise and fall, causing disruptive changes that greatly effects its surroundings. Nothing can really be done to stop these changes, for its all part of nature. CLIMATE The surface temperature of the sea varies depending on where it is located. Its about 28 degrees Fahrenheit near the North and 86 degrees near the equator. In the polar regions the surface seawater freezes and the water in the western tropical pacific is the warmest of them all.

As the currents move in the ocean, they carry warm tropical water toward the poles. Other ocean movements bring colder, deeper water up to the surface, which lowers the surface water temperature. The water temperature also varies with depth. The temperature falls as the depth increases. Oceans also affect the global cycling of chemical elements.

They are a major storehouse of carbon. It exchanges carbon dioxide with the atmosphere, therefore, playing a major role in the rate of global warming. LIFE IN THE SEA There is an incredible variety of living things living in the ocean. Life in the oceans is so diverse and abundant that you could find anything from a one-celled organism to the largest animal that has ever lived – the blue whale. All ocean life can be divided into groups.

THE PLANKTON The plankton consists of plantlike organisms and animals that drift with the ocean currents. They are formed into two groups: the phytoplankton, and the zooplankton. The phytoplankton consists of several kinds of plantlike organisms. Algae are found mostly anywhere in the ocean. Certain types have the ability to make their own food by photosynthesis, and others absorb nutrients from their surroundings.

Algae may reproduce in more than one way. Some split into two or more parts, each part becoming a new, separate plant. Others produce spores and some reproduce sexually -cells from two different plants unite to create a new plant. Green plants are mostly found in protected areas of the continental shelf where their roots can find soil and nutrients. Diatoms and dinofllagellates are also numerous members.

Both are one-celled but the diatom lives in the colder regions while the dinoflagellate lives in the tropical regions. The zooplankton consists of many kinds of animal, ranging from one-celled organisms to jellyfish up to 6 feet wide. These animals live in surface and deep waters of the sea and must maintain a balance in body fluids and salt levels in their blood. Majority of zooplanktons are larvas, copepods and hydromedusas. They depend primarily on the food supply, so the lack of sudden temperature changes in the water does not effect them greatly.

In fact they find the change in their environment rather comfortable. MARINE ANIMALS Marine animals are classified as microorganisms, vertebrates, and i …