|Index to this page|
- sandy beaches
- mangrove swamps
- coral reefs
- coastal marshes
Some of these regions are quite productive. Many of their inhabitants have adaptations that enable them to survive periodic exposure to the air and wave action.
Located over the ocean basins. Here, too, net productivity is pretty much limited to the depths that light can reach. The producers are planktonic algae that support secondary and higher consumers (e.g., fish) in the nekton.
Despite its diversity of life, the net productivity of the open ocean is little better than that of a desert [View].
The bottom of the ocean basins.
This dark, relatively unvarying region is largely inhabited by sparse populations of bottom-dwelling organisms that make up the benthos. These are consumers and decomposers who depend on the organic matter drifting down from the upper portions of the sea.
An exception: the communities around rifts. Rifts are spreading cracks in the sea floor where continental drift is taking place. Although no light reaches here, net productivity does occur.
These microbes support a large population of animals, e.g., tube worms. Some of these worms harbor chemoautotrophic microbes within their tissues which probably supply them with the bulk of their calories.
Lakes, like oceans, can be described in terms of zones. There are many parallels between the two but unfortunately a separate vocabulary is used for each.
|Link to Freshwater Ecosystems|
25 February 2011