Marine Biology - Marine Habitats

Marine habitats
Coral reefs provide marine habitats for tube sponges, which in turn become marine habitats for fishes
  • Littoral zone
  • Intertidal zone
  • Estuaries
  • Kelp forests
  • Coral reefs
  • Ocean banks
  • Continental shelf
  • Neritic zone
  • Straits
  • Pelagic zone
  • Oceanic zone
  • Seamounts
  • Hydrothermal vents
  • Cold seeps
  • Demersal zone
  • Benthic zone
Main article: Marine habitats

Marine habitats can be divided into coastal and open ocean habitats. Coastal habitats are found in the area that extends from the shoreline to the edge of the continental shelf. Most marine life is found in coastal habitats, even though the shelf area occupies only seven percent of the total ocean area. Open ocean habitats are found in the deep ocean beyond the edge of the continental shelf

Alternatively, marine habitats can be divided into pelagic and demersal habitats. Pelagic habitats are found near the surface or in the open water column, away from the bottom of the ocean. Demersal habitats are near or on the bottom of the ocean. An organism living in a pelagic habitat is said to be a pelagic organism, as in pelagic fish. Similarly, an organism living in a demersal habitat is said to be a demersal organism, as in demersal fish. Pelagic habitats are intrinsically shifting and ephemeral, depending on what ocean currents are doing.

Marine habitats can be modified by their inhabitants. Some marine organisms, like corals, kelp and seagrasses, are ecosystem engineers which reshape the marine environment to the point where they create further habitat for other organisms.

Read more about this topic:  Marine Biology

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