Marine invertebrates exhibit a wide range of modifications to survive in poorly oxygenated waters, including breathing tubes as in mollusc siphons. Fish have gills instead of lungs, although some species of fish, such as the lungfish, have both. Marine mammals ( e.g. dolphins, whales, otters, and seals) need to surface periodically to breathe air. (Full article...)
Bivalvia (/baɪˈvælviə/), in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, is a class of marine and freshwater molluscs that have laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a shell consisting of two hinged parts. As a group, bivalves have no head and they lack some usual molluscan organs, like the radula and the odontophore. The class includes the clams, oysters, cockles, mussels, scallops, and numerous other families that live in saltwater, as well as a number of families that live in freshwater. The majority are filter feeders. The gills have evolved into ctenidia, specialised organs for feeding and breathing. Most bivalves bury themselves in sediment, where they are relatively safe from predation. Others lie on the sea floor or attach themselves to rocks or other hard surfaces. Some bivalves, such as the scallops and file shells, can swim. The shipworms bore into wood, clay, or stone and live inside these substances.
The shell of a bivalve is composed of calcium carbonate, and consists of two, usually similar, parts called valves. These are joined together along one edge (the hinge line) by a flexible ligament that, usually in conjunction with interlocking "teeth" on each of the valves, forms the hinge. This arrangement allows the shell to be opened and closed without the two halves detaching. The shell is typically bilaterally symmetrical, with the hinge lying in the sagittal plane. Adult shell sizes of bivalves vary from fractions of a millimetre to over a metre in length, but the majority of species do not exceed 10 cm (4 in). (Full article...)
Squid diverged from other cephalopods during the Jurassic and occupy a similar role to teleost fish as open water predators of similar size and behaviour. They play an important role in the open water food web. The two long tentacles are used to grab prey and the eight arms to hold and control it. The beak then cuts the food into suitable size chunks for swallowing. Squid are rapid swimmers, moving by jet propulsion, and largely locate their prey by sight. They are among the most intelligent of invertebrates, with groups of Humboldt squid having been observed hunting cooperatively. They are preyed on by sharks, other fish, sea birds, seals and cetaceans, particularly sperm whales. (Full article...)
The pigeye shark or Java shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis) is an uncommon species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae, found in the warm coastal waters of the eastern Atlantic and western Indo-Pacific. It prefers shallow, murky environments with soft bottoms, and tends to roam within a fairly localised area. With its bulky grey body, small eyes, and short, blunt snout, the pigeye shark looks almost identical to (and is often confused with) the better-known bull shark (C. leucas). The two species differ in vertebral count, the relative sizes of the dorsal fins, and other subtle traits. This shark typically reaches lengths of 1.9–2.5 m (6.2–8.2 ft).
Reaching 19.5 m (64 ft) in length and weighing as much as 28 t (28 long tons; 31 short tons), the sei whale consumes an average of 900 kg (2,000 lb) of food every day; its diet consists primarily of copepods, krill, and other zooplankton. It is among the fastest of all cetaceans, and can reach speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph) (27 knots) over short distances. The whale's name comes from the Norwegian word for pollock, a fish that appears off the coast of Norway at the same time of the year as the sei whale. (Full article...)
Seals range in size from the 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 45 kg (99 lb) Baikal seal to the 5 m (16 ft) and 3,200 kg (7,100 lb) southern elephant seal male, which is also the largest member of the order Carnivora. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism. They have streamlined bodies and four limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not as fast in the water as dolphins, seals are more flexible and agile. Otariids use their front limbs primarily to propel themselves through the water, while phocids and walruses use their hind limbs. Otariids and walruses have hind limbs that can be pulled under the body and used as legs on land. By comparison, terrestrial locomotion by phocids is more cumbersome. Otariids have visible external ears, while phocids and walruses lack these. Pinnipeds have well-developed senses—their eyesight and hearing are adapted for both air and water, and they have an advanced tactile system in their whiskers or vibrissae. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths. They have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin to keep warm in the cold water, and, other than the walrus, all species are covered in fur. (Full article...)
Livyatan's total length has been estimated to be about 13.5–17.5 m (44–57 ft), similar to that of the modern sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), making it one of the largest predators known to have existed. The teeth of Livyatan measured 36.2 cm (1.2 ft), and are the largest biting teeth of any known animal, excluding tusks. It is distinguished from the other raptorial sperm whales by the basin on the skull, spanning the length of the snout. The spermaceti organ, contained in that basin is thought to have been used in echolocation and communication, or for ramming prey and other sperm whales. The whale may have interacted with the large extinct shark Megalodon (Otodus megalodon), competing with it for a similar food source. Its extinction was probably caused by a cooling event at the end of the Miocene period causing a reduction in food populations. The geological formation where the whale has been found has also preserved a large assemblage of marine life, such as sharks and marine mammals. (Full article...)
All three species are migratory, moving seasonally to feed or give birth. The warm equatorial waters form a barrier that isolates the northern and southern species from one another although the southern species, at least, has been known to cross the equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, right whales tend to avoid open waters and stay close to peninsulas and bays and on continental shelves, as these areas offer greater shelter and an abundance of their preferred foods. In the Southern Hemisphere, right whales feed far offshore in summer, but a large portion of the population occur in near-shore waters in winter. Right whales feed mainly on copepods but also consume krill and pteropods. They may forage the surface, underwater or even the ocean bottom. During courtship, males gather into large groups to compete for a single female, suggesting that sperm competition is an important factor in mating behavior. Gestation tends to last a year, and calves are weaned at eight months old. (Full article...)
Marine mammal adaptation to an aquatic lifestyle varies considerably between species. Both cetaceans and sirenians are fully aquatic and therefore are obligate water dwellers. Seals and sea-lions are semiaquatic; they spend the majority of their time in the water but need to return to land for important activities such as mating, breeding and molting. In contrast, both otters and the polar bear are much less adapted to aquatic living. The diets of marine mammals vary considerably as well; some eat zooplankton, others eat fish, squid, shellfish, or seagrass, and a few eat other mammals. While the number of marine mammals is small compared to those found on land, their roles in various ecosystems are large, especially concerning the maintenance of marine ecosystems, through processes including the regulation of prey populations. This role in maintaining ecosystems makes them of particular concern as 23% of marine mammal species are currently threatened. (Full article...)
Zooplankton are the animal component of the planktonic community ("zoo" comes from the Greek word for animal). Plankton are aquatic organisms that are unable to swim effectively against currents. Consequently, they drift or are carried along by currents in the ocean, or by currents in seas, lakes or rivers.
Zooplankton can be contrasted with phytoplankton, which are the plant component of the plankton community ("phyto" comes from the Greek word for plant). Zooplankton are heterotrophic (other-feeding), whereas phytoplankton are autotrophic (self-feeding). In other words, zooplankton cannot manufacture their own food. Rather, they must eat other plants or animals instead. In particular, they eat phytoplankton, which are generally smaller than zooplankton. Most zooplankton are microscopic but some (such as jellyfish) are macroscopic, meaning they can be seen with the naked eye. (Full article...)
Image 10Cycling of marine phytoplankton. Phytoplankton live in the photic zone of the ocean, where photosynthesis is possible. During photosynthesis, they assimilate carbon dioxide and release oxygen. If solar radiation is too high, phytoplankton may fall victim to photodegradation. For growth, phytoplankton cells depend on nutrients, which enter the ocean by rivers, continental weathering, and glacial ice meltwater on the poles. Phytoplankton release dissolved organic carbon (DOC) into the ocean. Since phytoplankton are the basis of marine food webs, they serve as prey for zooplankton, fish larvae and other heterotrophic organisms. They can also be degraded by bacteria or by viral lysis. Although some phytoplankton cells, such as dinoflagellates, are able to migrate vertically, they are still incapable of actively moving against currents, so they slowly sink and ultimately fertilize the seafloor with dead cells and detritus. (from Marine food web)
Bacterioplankton and the pelagic marine food web
Solar radiation can have positive (+) or negative (−) effects resulting in increases or decreases in the heterotrophic activity of bacterioplankton. (from Marine prokaryotes)
Image 18In the open ocean, sunlit surface epipelagic waters get enough light for photosynthesis, but there are often not enough nutrients. As a result, large areas contain little life apart from migrating animals. (from Marine habitats)
Topological positions versus mobility
Error in Template:Align: the alignment setting "(A) bottom-up groups (sessile and drifters)" is invalid.Error in Template:Align: the alignment setting "(B) groups at the top of the food web" is invalid.
Image 21A 2016 metagenomic representation of the tree of life using ribosomal protein sequences. The tree includes 92 named bacterial phyla, 26 archaeal phyla and five eukaryotic supergroups. Major lineages are assigned arbitrary colours and named in italics with well-characterized lineage names. Lineages lacking an isolated representative are highlighted with non-italicized names and red dots. (from Marine prokaryotes)
Image 22Halfbeak as larvae are one of the organisms adapted to the unique properties of the microlayer (from Marine habitats)
Ocean surface chlorophyll concentrations in October 2019
The concentration of chlorophyll can be used as a proxy to indicate how many phytoplankton are present. Thus on this global map green indicates where a lot of phytoplankton are present, while blue indicates where few phytoplankton are present. – NASA Earth Observatory 2019. (from Marine food web)
Different bacteria shapes (cocci, rods and spirochetes) and their sizes compared with the width of a human hair. A few bacteria are comma-shaped (vibrio). Archaea have similar shapes, though the archaeon Haloquadratum is flat and square.
The unit μm is a measurement of length, the micrometer, equal to 1/1,000 of a millimeter
Estimates of microbial species counts in the three domains of life
Bacteria are the oldest and most biodiverse group, followed by Archaea and Fungi (the most recent groups). In 1998, before awareness of the extent of microbial life had gotten underway, Robert M. May estimated there were 3 million species of living organisms on the planet. But in 2016, Locey and Lennon estimated the number of microorganism species could be as high as 1 trillion. (from Marine prokaryotes)
Parasitic chytrids can transfer material from large inedible phytoplankton to zooplankton. Chytrids zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size (2–5 μm in diameter), shape, nutritional quality (rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterols). Large colonies of host phytoplankton may also be fragmented by chytrid infections and become edible to zooplankton. (from Marine food web)
Image 37Schematic representation of the changes in abundance between trophic groups in a temperate rocky reef ecosystem. (a) Interactions at equilibrium. (b) Trophic cascade following disturbance. In this case, the otter is the dominant predator and the macroalgae are kelp. Arrows with positive (green, +) signs indicate positive effects on abundance while those with negative (red, -) indicate negative effects on abundance. The size of the bubbles represents the change in population abundance and associated altered interaction strength following disturbance. (from Marine food web)
Potter Cove 2018. Nodes represent basal species and links indirect interactions (shared predators). Node and link widths are proportional to number of shared predators. Node colors represent functional groups. (from Marine food web)
Parasitic chytrids can transfer material from large inedible phytoplankton to zooplankton. Chytrids zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size (2–5 μm in diameter), shape, nutritional quality (rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and cholesterols). Large colonies of host phytoplankton may also be fragmented by chytrid infections and become edible to zooplankton. (from Marine fungi)
Antarctic marine food web
Potter Cove 2018. Vertical position indicates trophic level and node widths are proportional to total degree (in and out). Node colors represent functional groups. (from Marine food web)
An in situ perspective of a deep pelagic food web derived from ROV-based observations of feeding, as represented by 20 broad taxonomic groupings. The linkages between predator to prey are coloured according to predator group origin, and loops indicate within-group feeding. The thickness of the lines or edges connecting food web components is scaled to the log of the number of unique ROV feeding observations across the years 1991–2016 between the two groups of animals. The different groups have eight colour-coded types according to main animal types as indicated by the legend and defined here: red, cephalopods; orange, crustaceans; light green, fish; dark green, medusa; purple, siphonophores; blue, ctenophores and grey, all other animals. In this plot, the vertical axis does not correspond to trophic level, because this metric is not readily estimated for all members. (from Marine food web)
Image 57Scanning electron micrograph of a strain of Roseobacter, a widespread and important genus of marine bacteria. For scale, the membrane pore size is 0.2 μm in diameter. (from Marine prokaryotes)
Image 58Estuaries occur when rivers flow into a coastal bay or inlet. They are nutrient rich and have a transition zone which moves from freshwater to saltwater. (from Marine habitats)
Image 60Microplastics found in sediments on the seafloor (from Marine habitats)
Image 61On average there are more than one million microbial cells in every drop of seawater, and their collective metabolisms not only recycle nutrients that can then be used by larger organisms but also catalyze key chemical transformations that maintain Earth’s habitability. (from Marine food web)
Image 66The distribution of anthropogenic stressors faced by marine species threatened with extinction in various marine regions of the world. Numbers in the pie charts indicate the percentage contribution of an anthropogenic stressors’ impact in a specific marine region. (from Marine food web)
Image 67Cnidarians are the simplest animals with cells organised into tissues. Yet the starlet sea anemone contains the same genes as those that form the vertebrate head. (from Marine invertebrates)
The linear food chain large phytoplankton-herbivore-predator (on the left with red arrow connections) has fewer levels than one with small phytoplankton at the base. The microbial loop refers to the flow from the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) via heterotrophic bacteria (Het. Bac.) and microzooplankton to predatory zooplankton (on the right with black solid arrows). Viruses play a major role in the mortality of phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria, and recycle organic carbon back to the DOC pool. Other sources of dissolved organic carbon (also dashed black arrows) includes exudation, sloppy feeding, etc. Particulate detritus pools and fluxes are not shown for simplicity. (from Marine food web)
Image 97Some lobe-finned fishes, like the extinct Tiktaalik, developed limb-like fins that could take them onto land (from Marine vertebrate)
Model of the energy generating mechanism in marine bacteria
(1) When sunlight strikes a rhodopsin molecule (2) it changes its configuration so a proton is expelled from the cell (3) the chemical potential causes the proton to flow back to the cell (4) thus generating energy (5) in the form of adenosine triphosphate. (from Marine prokaryotes)
Image 99640 µm microplastic found in the deep sea amphipod Eurythenes plasticus (from Marine habitats)
Image 101Jellyfish are easy to capture and digest and may be more important as food sources than was previously thought. (from Marine food web)
Image 102Ernst Haeckel's 96th plate, showing some marine invertebrates. Marine invertebrates have a large variety of body plans, which are currently categorised into over 30 phyla. (from Marine invertebrates)
Image 106Only 29 percent of the world surface is land. The rest is ocean, home to the marine habitats. The oceans are nearly four kilometres deep on average and are fringed with coastlines that run for nearly 380,000 kilometres.
Image 107Conceptual diagram of faunal community structure and food-web patterns along fluid-flux gradients within Guaymas seep and vent ecosystems. (from Marine food web)
Image 108Some representative ocean animal life (not drawn to scale) within their approximate depth-defined ecological habitats. Marine microorganisms exist on the surfaces and within the tissues and organs of the diverse life inhabiting the ocean, across all ocean habitats. (from Marine habitats)
Anthropogenic stressors to marine species threatened with extinction
Mycoloop links between phytoplankton and zooplankton
Chytrid‐mediated trophic links between phytoplankton and zooplankton (mycoloop). While small phytoplankton species can be grazed upon by zooplankton, large phytoplankton species constitute poorly edible or even inedible prey. Chytrid infections on large phytoplankton can induce changes in palatability, as a result of host aggregation (reduced edibility) or mechanistic fragmentation of cells or filaments (increased palatability). First, chytrid parasites extract and repack nutrients and energy from their hosts in form of readily edible zoospores. Second, infected and fragmented hosts including attached sporangia can also be ingested by grazers (i.e. concomitant predation). (from Marine fungi)
Image 118Chytrid parasites of marine diatoms. (A) Chytrid sporangia on Pleurosigma sp. The white arrow indicates the operculate discharge pore. (B) Rhizoids (white arrow) extending into diatom host. (C) Chlorophyll aggregates localized to infection sites (white arrows). (D and E) Single hosts bearing multiple zoosporangia at different stages of development. The white arrow in panel E highlights branching rhizoids. (F) Endobiotic chytrid-like sporangia within diatom frustule. Bars = 10 μm. (from Marine fungi)
Reefs provide coastal protection through erosion control and shoreline stabilization, and modify the physical landscape by ecosystem engineering, thereby providing habitat for species by facilitative interactions with other habitats such as tidal flat benthic communities, seagrasses and marshes. (from Marine ecosystem)
... because whales and dolphins are streamlined to swim in water, they do not have external organs. This makes it almost impossible to tell the sex of a whale or dolphin when watching them on the sea surface.
... the Beaked whales (genus Ziphidae) contain over twenty species of small whales, and are the least known of all cetaceans.
... all cetaceans have a blubber layer — a layer of fat under the skin. In most dolphins, this layer is about one quarter to one third of the total body weight, but in southern right whales nearly half of its weight (up to 50 tons) will be blubber.
... the Sperm Whale, at 18 metres long, is the largest toothed animal to have ever lived.