Changes in the physical conditions of the ocean that are thought to have occurred in the Precambrian—an increase in the concentration of oxygen in seawater and a buildup of the ozone layer that reduced dangerous ultraviolet radiation—may have facilitated the increase and dispersal of living things. Understanding the life cycles, habits, habitats, and inter-relationships of marine life contributes to our understanding of the planet as a whole. The second-largest ocean on Earth, the Atlantic drives our weather patterns, including hurricanes, and is home to many species from sea turtles to dolphins. It is how animals, plants and the environment interact together and thrive. There are two types of plates—oceanic and continental—which float on the surface of the Earth’s mantle, diverging, converging, or sliding against one another. They react to major changes in the environment, especially climate changes. Professor and Head of the School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia. Marine environments can be characterized broadly as a water, or pelagic, environment and a bottom, or benthic, environment. Instead, the light here looks like our twilight on land. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Marine ecosystems include: the abyssal plain (areas like deep sea coral, whale falls, and brine pools), polar regions such as the Antarctic and Arctic, coral reefs, the deep sea (such as the community found in the abyssal water column), hydrothermal vents, kelp forests, mangroves, the open ocean, rocky shores, salt marshes and mudflats, and sandy shores. The Marine Ecosystem has the Greatest Biodiversity on Earth. The general basis for the marine food chain is formed by the plankton. As we all know that the Earth has 2 types of ecosystem, namely a land ecosystem and also a water ecosystem. Marine Life. The ocean is divided up into three vertical zones. During the Cambrian Period (about 542 million to 488 million years ago) a major radiation of life occurred in the oceans. ● About 90% of the ocean belongs to the aphotic zone also known as the darkness zone. The ocean currents distribute the heat around the planet, but most of the heat is lost due to evaporation. So, we can also add to this definition of a marine ecosystem the fact that this is a salt water ecosystem. marine ecosystem characteristics and types. The oceans are frequently disturbed by oceans waves and currents. Biotic factors include plants, animals, and microbes; important abiotic factors include the amount of sunlight in the ecosystem, the amount of oxygen and nutrients dissolved in the water, proximity to land, depth, and temperature. ● Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. The first fossil fishes are found in sediments from the Ordovician Period (about 488 million to 444 million years ago). These organisms take many forms, from the tiniest single-celled plankton to the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale. Sediments of the continental shelf that influence marine organisms generally originate from the land, particularly in the form of riverine runoff, and include clay, silt, and sand. They contain small trees and shrubs tolerant of salt water. ● The plant and animal life depend on each other for their survival. The deepest region of the oceans (greater than 6,000 metres) is the hadal zone of the deep-sea trenches. Marine waters cover more than 70% of the surface of the Earth and account for more than 97% of Earth's water supply and 90% of habitable space on Earth. In some places the ocean is deeper than Mount Everest is high; for example, the Mariana Trench and the Tonga Trench in the western part of the Pacific Ocean reach depths in excess of 10,000 metres (32,800 feet). This area is too deep for lots of light to reach. Below this zone lie the mesopelagic, ranging between 200 and 1,000 metres, the bathypelagic, from 1,000 to 4,000 metres, and the abyssalpelagic, which encompasses the deepest parts of the oceans from 4,000 metres to the recesses of the deep-sea trenches. The next layer is the disphotic zone. Check Also: 10 Facts about Lion’s Habitat. This phenomenon causes typhoons and hurricanes, which may not have any impact on many marine species… Marine biome animals include a vast array of fish species, including flounder, mackerel, butterfish, spiny dogfish, squid, monkfish and others. Marine biome experiences an average temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). Marine ecosystems are a part of the largest aquatic system on the planet, cover- ing over 70 pervent of Earth’s surface. Physical and chemical properties of seawater, Links between the pelagic environments and the benthos, Patterns and processes influencing the structure of marine assemblages,, Defenders of Wildlife - Basic Facts About Marine Habitats. The water here is awfully cold, completely dark, and low in nutritional content. Retrieved from It also gives those marine animals a place to hunt. Aquatic plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air, and it releases oxygen back in the atmosphere. Editors. Ecosystems are stable, but not rigid. Marine organisms are not distributed evenly throughout the oceans. The Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago. The euphotic zone is the layer closer to the surface that receives enough light for photosynthesis to occur. The health of the oceans is strongly dependent upon this marine biodiversity. Phytoplankton are tiny plants that live in the upper areas of the ocean and use photosynthesis to make their food. Coastal ecosystems are one of the ecosystems on Earth. Fun Facts … Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Sediments of the deep sea primarily originate from a rain of dead marine organisms and their wastes. The Arctic ecosystem has a unique, complex food web that is fashioned by its distinctive plankton, animal species, and environmental factors. Fun Facts about Marine Life 5: oxygen The average ocean depth is about 12,000 feet and the deepest point is the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean with a depth of about 32,800 feet. Fossils of familiar organisms such as cnidaria (e.g., jellyfish), echinoderms (e.g., feather stars), precursors of the fishes (e.g., the protochordate Pikaia from the Burgess Shale of Canada), and other vertebrates are found in marine sediments of this age. Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Within the pelagic environment the waters are divided into the neritic province, which includes the water above the continental shelf, and the oceanic province, which includes all the open waters beyond the continental shelf. The marine ecosystem plays an important role in the protection of the environment. Marine Ecology is the scientific study of marine-life habitat, populations, and interactions among organisms and the surrounding environment including their abiotic (non-living physical and chemical factors that affect the ability of organisms to survive and reproduce) and biotic factors (living things or the materials that directly or indirectly affect an organism in its environment). Although the diversity of life-forms observed in modern oceans did not appear until much later, during the Precambrian (about 4.6 billion to 542 million years ago) many kinds of bacteria, algae, protozoa, and primitive metazoa evolved to exploit the early marine habitats of the world. Sort out the facts and see how deep your knowledge goes in this quiz of the world’s oceans. Updates? During ice ages a higher proportion of the waters of the Earth is bound in the polar ice caps, resulting in a relatively low sea level.