Marine Biology. Polar Oceans as an Eco System Research Paper

Marine Biology. Polar Oceans as an Eco System Research Paper


It is a well-known proven truth that the oceans cowl 70 % of the Earth’s floor (EPA). It is a storehouse for 1,000 instances more heat than the atmosphere, and is the earth’s largest reservoir of water. The hydrological cycle that is brought on because of the oceans and is vital to all of the dwelling organisms on the earth. It is through evaporation, the ocean transfers large amounts of water vapor to the environment, the place it cools, condenses and ultimately falls to the bottom as rain or snow (Environmental Defense n.pag).

Even though the ocean and the assets in it seems limitless, today there is apparent evidence that human impacts significantly because of over fishing, habitat destruction, and pollution disturb marine ecosystems and intimidate the long-term productiveness of the seas (UNU-IAS Report 10-35, Worm et al. 787 – 790). This paper focuses on the polar oceans and offers a detailed account on the bodily environment, the producers and the consumers, and the interaction between various components.

Polar oceans: geographic location

The polar ecosystems are composed of the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This ecosystem is characterised by ice and snow, cold temperatures all through the years, and severe modifications in photoperiod that keep away from photosynthesis during a big a half of the yr (NOAA). The water in and around the Antarctic continent is known as the Antarctic or Southern Ocean. The Antarctic ecosystem is highly influenced by physical components corresponding to climate & local weather, ice, and ocean currents. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current, at 0 to 200 meters in depth, is the dominant surface-water circulation sample on this polar region.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is a geostrophic current, and is principally influenced by the prevailing Antarctic wind patterns and is controlled by the adjoining landmass which is the Antarctic continent. In general, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current can also be known as the West Wind Drift that flows from west to east across the Antarctic landmass. It is only in the course of the seasonal melting of sea ice, the sunlight is ready to penetrate the ocean and enable the vegetative progress. The favorable mild circumstances stimulate phytoplankton progress and yield surges in main productivity. Subantarctic Surface Water which is the north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is normally the warmer and extra saline.

The physical surroundings of the Antarctic Ocean has also got a number of distinctive features. The Antarctic Bottom Water has common salinity, temperature, and density values of 34.sixty five, −zero.5°C (31°F), and 1.03 gram per cubic centimeter, respectively. The Antarctic Deep Water which is formed in less extreme latitudes and is much less salty and hotter when compared to Antarctic Bottom Water, flows northward near the floor until it reaches the Antarctic Polar Front Zone, where the Antarctic Deep Water sinks and continues to move northward beneath the hotter, less dense North Atlantic Deep Water.

The Arctic Ocean is one more part of polar oceans and is divided into the Eurasian and Canadian basins by the Lomonosov Ridge which is a bathymetry function that runs from Greenland past the North Pole to Siberia. Arctic Ocean floor water is 0–200 meters in depth and mainly flows counterclockwise within the Eurasian basin and clockwise within the Canadian basin.

The bodily setting of the artic ocean can be having its personal distinctive features. For occasion, there are three distinct marine water lots located within the Arctic Ocean: the Arctic Surface Water which extends from 0–200 meters; the Atlantic Water from 200–900 meters; and the Arctic Deep Water which extends from 900 meters to the seafloor. The Arctic Surface Water is additional sub divided into three layers: the surface, subsurface, and decrease floor layers. In truth each of these water layers has distinct salinity and temperature traits.

The Atlantic Water is situated between the Arctic Surface Water and the Arctic Deep Water. The common temperature of the Atlantic Water is hotter than both that of the Arctic Surface Water and the Arctic Deep Water which is approximately 3°C. The Atlantic Water has the next salinity vary (34.8–35.1) when in comparability with that of the Arctic Surface Water (28.0–34.0). The Arctic Deep Water, has a salinity range of 34.9 to 34.99 (Advameg Inc). There are elementary variations that make the 2 Polar Regions (the Arctic and Antarctic) very totally different each physically and biologically.

The Arctic Vs the Antarctic

The Antarctic marine ecosystem is situated within the circumpolar Southern Ocean surrounding the central continent of Antarctica. As a result there is not any influx from rivers or sediment as in the case of the Arctic. But nutrient wealthy water rises to the surface and fertilizes the Antarctic floor waters. The Antarctic fauna is much richer than the Arctic and has a excessive diploma of endemism and biomass. In fact the Antarctic benthic communities typically have several dominant species. The fish fauna present in this area is usually endemic and tailored to below-freezing water temperatures. The chook communities are similar at given latitude in all parts of the Southern Ocean basin.

The Arctic Ocean system is an isolated sea, completely coated by ice within the middle, and surrounded by landmasses. The Arctic Ocean has several massive rivers that usher in a large amount of sediment into the basin leading to a substrate of particulate matter and a low-saline stratified floor layer. The Arctic fauna is poor and mainly is dependent upon the Atlantic Ocean. Arctic benthic communities are habitually dominated by one or only some species and the fish fauna is generalized. Additionally there are additionally sturdy differences between the fowl communities at similar latitudes in different parts of the ocean basin (NOAA).

Primary producers and secondary shoppers within the Antarctic Ocean

The extent of ice cover within the Antarctic Ocean impacts competition between species of phytoplankton which are the first producers. As a result of this competition, there exist competitions between zooplankton species that are main consumers. For instance colder winters imply greater ice cowl than hotter winters and colder winter favor bigger phytoplankton, like diatoms. Diatoms are the favored food of krill, that are sequentially eaten by many different animals in this meals internet. Therefore, when winters are very cold and the ice is extra, nearly each group within the meals internet has sufficient of food because more food energy is transferred from decrease to larger feeding or tropic levels.

On the opposite hand when the winters aren’t so chilly, and more of the ice melts, it favors completely different species of phytoplankton development and copy. Warmer winters normally favor smaller phytoplankton similar to cryptophytes. However, the krill does not consume this smaller phytoplankton and due to this fact much less of the food power from cryptophytes will get into the meals net. Researchers have found that in the course of the previous 5 many years, chilly winters that has in depth sea ice growth have been much less frequent. This has resulted in lowered krill populations. Therefore it could be facet that within the Antarctic, the meals internet is directly affected by climate elements.

It is generally believed that anthropological activities have had a major influence on the changing climatic pattern. In latest years the burning of fossil fuels has tremendously increased the quantity of carbon dioxide and other inexperienced house gases in the ambiance. It is well-known that carbon dioxide gas is a principal warming agent in the environment that is inflicting global warming. Therefore, if this pattern of warming continues and goes unchecked, the cost could be devastating not just for the Antarctic areas, but for the entire planet (Botos n.pag).

Primary producers and secondary customers in the Arctic ecosystem

The Arctic ecosystem has an exclusive, complicated meals web that is designed by its distinctive plankton, animal species, and environmental components. Phytoplankton and algae which are the first producers take up carbon dioxide from seawater and put it to use for photosynthesis. The Arctic ecosystem is roofed with a formidable ice and snow cover. As a end result this ocean is plunged into complete darkness in the course of the winter, banged by blizzard winds, and may be very chilly. The Arctic Ocean is nevertheless thought-about as some of the inaccessible and yet lovely environments on Earth.

Great polar bears are among the many uniqueness in this region. They roam over the Arctic ice and swim the Arctic seas and are on the top most part of the food net. Supporting these top predators is a complex ecosystem that features plankton, fish, birds, seals, walruses, and even whales. Phytoplankton and algae that produce natural materials utilizing vitality from the sun are the principle producers of this meals net that help all of this life.

In recent years, the scientists have reported that the warming temperatures are affecting the Arctic Ocean and are producing changes that will not solely effect on the Arctic’s interlink but also its delicately balanced meals internet. Any small change within the food web not solely threatens life in the Arctic region, but also might have impacts on the entire Earth’s climate. For occasion, the populations of Arctic plankton not only provide food on the base of the meals net in the Arctic region but also serve to convert carbon dioxide from the environment into natural matter that ultimately sinks to the ocean bottom thus effectively extracting a heat-trapping greenhouse gas from the atmosphere (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

Primary productivity within the polar oceans

Primary productiveness is affected by the provision of daylight, carbon dioxide, and inorganic vitamins corresponding to nitrates, phosphates, and hint parts. In the polar marine setting, vitamins are recycled from phytoplankton to animals to decomposers corresponding to micro organism earlier than returning to phytoplankton and this cycle goes on and on. In the polar oceans, phytoplankton blooms occur through the summer months. As a results of this phytoplankton blooms beneath favorable light circumstances lead to short-term improved primary productiveness. In fact studies have discovered that during these summer time months, the Antarctic Ocean’s upwelling zone exhibits some of the Earth’s highest major productivity.

As talked about earlier, within the polar oceans, the sea-ice formation and melting processes play essential roles in primary productivity. Frazil ice is combined with floor and subsurface water, entrapping phytoplankton between ice crystals which are finally built-in into pack ice. The phytoplankton significantly the diatoms will proliferate throughout the sea-ice brine channels, ensuing in the pack ice to seem greenish-brown. During the yearly ice soften process, the diatoms are launched back into the water, leading to native elevated main productiveness.

Marine biodiversity normally decreases in direction of high latitudes, reaching a minimum within the polar oceans. Additionally, the few marine species that exist in the polar oceans are more doubtless to grow at slower charges, reside longer lives, attain larger sizes, and have fewer offspring than their tropical counterparts. Besides, some of the marine species which are capable of survive the comparatively harsh polar circumstances are most likely to exist as bigger populations than their extra various tropical counterparts.

In contrast, to the Antarctic, the Arctic Ocean is mainly dominated by shallow marginal seas. This is a significant component that has resulted in the totally different biota spatial distributions in these two oceans. While the larger a part of the Antarctic Ocean Polar habitats sustain populations of diving birds corresponding to penguins and puffins, and marine mammals such as whales, seals, and polar bears, these animals are more seen than the invertebrate and microscopic communities discovered within the water column, on the seafloor, and in sea ice. The Arctic Ocean biota resides and feed all through the water column and alongside the seafloor.

Among the larger populations of biota present in the Antarctic region are the five forms of seals (namely the crabeater, elephant, leopard, ross, weddell), six sorts of penguins (namely adelie, chinstrap, emperor, gentoo, macaroni, king), and 5 whale species (namely blue, sperm, orca, mink, southern bottlenosed). These are current along with quite a lot of seabirds, squid, fish, krill, copepods, and diatoms.

On the opposite hand the main sea mammals linked with the Arctic Ocean are whales (namely the beluga, orca, bowhead, California gray, narwhal), polar bears, sea otters, seals (namely ringed, ribbon, bearded, spotted), and walruses (Figure 1). Additionally arctic birds such because the tufted puffin, laysan albatross, and spectacled eider mainly depend on the Arctic Ocean as a major food source. These birds feed by diving into the water for fish, crustaceans, and/or mollusks.

As talked about earlier within the Arctic Ocean, the dominant forms of phytoplankton and zooplankton are diatoms and copepods, respectively. Water-column productiveness of the shallow Arctic marginal seas promotes the growth of productive benthic communities which embody mollusks, polychaetes, brittle stars, and amphipods, which support bottom feeding by the spectacled eider, walrus, bearded seal, sea otter, and the California grey whale (Advameg Inc).


The polar oceans type essentially the most distinctive ecosystems on the planet earth. However, with the present day human activates, this fragile ecosystem can be affected. As it is a well-known fact that the Arctic is a vital indicator of the state of worldwide well-being. Studies have predicted that the impacts of climate change shall be felt most extraordinarily in the Arctic. There are additionally problems because of the over searching. Populations of some whales are dangerously low after centuries of hunting despite the very fact that most commercial whaling has legally being ceased. It is also reported that fish stocks in some arctic waters are at its extinction.

Sea birds and even polar bears undergo from over-hunting in components of the Arctic. The issues in the polar oceans are growing due to the local weather changes both because of human activities as properly as due pure causes. These fragile ecosystems are among the most unusual ecosystems on this planet that holds unique importance. It is the responsibility of every certainly one of us to protect these environments by way of sustainable improvement.

Arctic marine food web

Arctic marine food web.

Work cited

Advameg Inc, Oceans, Polar [2008] Web.

Botos, S. Antarctic Marine Ecosystem [2008] Web.

EPA Marine Ecosystems [2008]. Web.

Environmental Defense, The Living Ocean Ecosytem (2005). Web.

NOAA Polar Ecosystems UN atlas of the oceans [2008]. Web.

UNU-IAS Report Implementing the Ecosystem Approach in Open Ocean and Deep Sea Environments United Nations University (2006).

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Arctic Ocean Ecosystem (2006). Web.

Worm, B. et al. Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services, Science 3 November (2006) Vol. 314. no. 5800, pp. 787 – 790.

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