Water And Oceanography

A Guide to Ocean Habitats



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Ocean habitats refer to places in and near oceans, where certain organisms and other living things that are comfortable with seawater live, survive and thrive. These habitats do not exist only in the oceans but also the immediate environment; a typical examples are pools of water or other water bodies resulting or forming from the activities oceans.

Ocean habitats include:

Beaches

Surprised? Don’t be. Most beaches serve as habitats to countless organisms and other creatures as a result of the constant movements of water up and down beaches. Sands near the seawater are habitats to bacteria and other organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eyes.

Amphibious crabs also dig out hole-like homes on the beaches alongside other creatures such as turtles, seals and sea lions; who also use them as occasional habitats.

Estuaries

These are partially enclosed water bodies that open into the sea. Such water bodies may be streams, rivers and lagoons. They are sometimes caused or created by the activities of oceans.

Estuaries most often serve as habitats to fish that travel from the ocean into them and are able to adapt to the prevailing conditions, slightly different from those of the ocean. Phytoplankton also exist in estuaries but depend on the muddiness of the water to thrive.

Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are underwater habitats formed from the activities of corals, which are tiny marine organisms found in oceans. They serve as homes for sea creatures like the angel fish, clownfish, sea anemone and the reef shark.

They also serve as habitats for plants such as grasses and algae.

Kelp Forests

Never thought about forests existing underwater? They exist. Kelp forests are ocean habitats formed by seaweeds or algae that group and grow together. Such forests usually occur in shallow and rocky areas of oceans, in places where sunlight can penetrate down to the ocean floor to aid such growths.

Prominent creatures that use the kelp forest as their habitats are sea otters, blacksmith fish and garibaldi. Plankton also live in kelp forests.

Sea Grasses

These are plant-like growths found in warmer oceans and shallow areas penetrable by sunlight, which is vital for such vegetative activities. Snails, horseshoe crabs and scallops use underwater areas covered by sea grasses as homes. Plants like epiphytes also live in these habitats.

Hydrothermal Vents

These are the rarest forms of ocean habitats. They are limited areas and vent-like holes formed deep down on ocean floors from the movement of oceanic plates and volcanic activities.

Hydrothermal vents serve as habitats for creatures that are able to adapt to the prevailing conditions of darkness and warmness in such areas. Such creatures include tube-worms, clams and anemones.

Tide Pools

These ocean habitats are shallow puddles of water found in rocky and deep holes on or near seashores. They are often created from the movement of ocean tides, most especially when they occur twice within a day.

Tide pools also serve as habitats for sea stars, sea urchins and the pacific octopus.

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