Marine Ecosystems

An ecosystem; It consists of living organisms, habitats in which they live, non-living structures in the region and their interaction with each other. Ecosystems can vary in size, but all parts of the ecosystem are interconnected and if one part of the ecosystem is removed other parts are affected as well.

Classification of Marine Ecosystems

Marine ecosystems are water ecosystems with a high salt content. Marine ecosystems, the most common of all ecosystem types on the planet, produce nearly half of the world’s oxygen and provide a home for a wide variety of species. Scientists generally collect marine ecosystems in many sub-categories. A marine ecosystem is a large conglomerate that occurs in or near salt water. This means that marine ecosystems can be found anywhere in the world, from a sandy beach to the deepest parts of the ocean. This article contains an overview of ocean and large marine ecosystems covering 71% of our planet, with habitat types and examples of marine life living in each.

Rocky Coastal Ecosystems

Along a rocky shore can be found rocky cliffs, small and large rocks and tidal pools, puddles containing amazing marine life, and the interdial zone (tidal zone).

Rocky Coastal Ecosystems

Along a rocky shore can be found rocky cliffs, small and large rocks and tidal pools, puddles containing amazing marine life, and the interdial zone (tidal zone).

Challenges in Rocky Coastal Ecosystems

Rocky coasts are places with difficult conditions for marine animals and plants to live. Marine animals face an increased threat of predation during the tidal wave. In addition to the rise and fall of the waters under the effect of the tides, the waves and too much winds hitting the shores make life difficult. These conditions have the ability to influence factors such as water temperature and salinity.

Marine Life on the Rocky Coasts

Although it varies according to the location, some sea creatures that can be seen on rocky beaches are:

* Seaweeds

* Lichens

* Birds

* Invertebrates such as crab lobsters, starfish, sea urchins, mussels, snails and sea anemones.


* Sea lions

Sandy Coastal Ecosystems

When it comes to marine life, beaches can appear lifeless compared to other ecosystems. However, these ecosystems have surprising biodiversity. Similar to the rocky shore, animals in a sandy beach ecosystem must adapt to the ever-changing environment. Sea creatures in a sandy beach ecosystem can nest in the sand or be moved out of the reach of fast waves. Sea animals; It has to struggle with the tides, wave movements and water currents that can drag the creatures living on the beach. A sandy beach ecosystem can also find tidal zones, but the landscape is not as dramatic as on rocky shores. The sand is often pushed to the beach during the summer and retracts from the beach during the winter, during which time the beach becomes harder and rocky. When the tide recedes in the ocean, tidal pools remain.

Marine Creatures on Sandy Coasts

Marine life that occasionally lives on sandy beaches includes the following creatures:

* Sea turtles that can nest on the beach

* Sea lions

Regular sandy beach residents are:



* Invertebrates such as amphipods, isopods, crabs, oysters, worms, snails, flies and plankton

* Other fish including sharks and halibut in shallow water along the beach

* Birds such as herons and seagulls

Mangrove Ecosystems

Mangrove trees are salt-resistant plant species with roots hanging down into the water. Forests consisting of these plants provide shelter for various sea creatures and are an important development area for young marine animals. These ecosystems are usually found in warmer regions between 32 degrees north and 38 degrees south latitude. Mangroves can be considered as part of coastal ecosystems or estuary ecosystems. Mangrove ecosystems are home to a wide variety of life, including sponges, shrimps, crabs, jellyfish, fish, birds and even crocodiles.

Species of Life in Mangroves

The following species can be found in mangrove ecosystems:

* Algae

* Birds

* Invertebrates such as crabs, shrimp, oysters, tunics, sponges, snails and insects


* Dolphins

* Sea Cows

* Reptiles such as sea turtles, land turtles, crocodiles, snakes, and lizards

Salt Marsh Ecosystems

Salt marshes are areas transported by tidal waters and composed of salt-resistant plants and animals. Salt marshes are important in many ways. These ecosystems; They provide habitat for sea creatures, birds and migratory birds, and are important areas for fish and invertebrates. These ecosystems buffer wave action during tides and storms, absorb water, and protect the rest of the coastline, internal ecosystems. Salt marsh areas found in coastal areas are special as they also consist of a transition zone between land and sea. Fish, shellfish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds can live in salt marshes or migrate seasonally to wetlands.

Other Species of Living Things Found in Salt Marshes

Below are examples of sea creatures that can be found in salt marshes.

* Algae

* Plankton

* Birds


Sometimes marine mammals such as dolphins and seals

Golden Horn Ecosystems

The shallow and sheltered areas in the mouths of rivers where fresh water meets the sea are called “estuaries”. The degree of salinity depends on the tides and the volume of water leaving the river. Organisms living in the estuaries are specially adapted to these different conditions; therefore species diversity tends to be lower than in the open ocean. The estuaries also have an important function as a habitat for many fish and shrimp species.

Coral Reef Ecosystems

Coral reefs are a special subtype of the seabed ecosystem. These ecosystems, which include healthy coral reefs, are incredibly diverse, including large animals such as hard and soft corals, different-sized invertebrates, sharks and dolphins. It is corals that make up the reefs. The basic part of a reef is the exoskeleton made up of limestone (calcium carbonate) of small organisms called polyp. Eventually the polyps die, leaving the skeleton behind. Found only in warm tropical waters and relatively shallow depths, coral reefs are among the most fertile ecosystems on the planet.

Aquatic Species in Coral Reef

About a quarter of marine species depend on coral reefs for food, shelter, or both. Coral reefs are famous for attracting snails, sponges, seahorses and brightly colored exotic fish. Coral reef ecosystems contain hundreds of coral species, crabs, shrimp, lobsters, anemones, worms, bryozoans, starfish, sea urchins, octopuses, invertebrates such as squid, various fish, sea turtles, seals, and vertebrate marine mammals such as dolphins.

Species of Creatures in the Kelp Forest

Many sea creatures mentioned below live in the ecosystems consisting of kelp algae that develop and become forested under water.

* Seabirds such as seagulls, egrets, cormorants

* Invertebrates such as crabs, starfish, worms, anemones, snails and jellyfish

* Many fish including sardines, sea bass, mackerel and sharks

* Marine mammals such as sea otters, sea lions, whales

Offshore Ecosystems

The first thing many people think of after hearing the term “marine ecosystem” is the oceans, which are actually a large marine ecosystem. This category; It includes algae, plankton, jellyfish, and floating sea creatures such as whales. Many creatures living in the open ocean live in the upper layer of the ocean where sunlight can penetrate. This layer is known as the euphotic zone and extends to a depth of about 150 meters.

Deep Sea Ecosystem

Parts of the oceans deeper than 1000 meters are called “deep sea”. The biggest problem of sea creatures in this ecosystem is light. Many animals are adapted to see low light conditions or not have to see at all. Another challenge is pressure. Many deep-sea animals have soft bodies so they avoid the risk of being crushed under high pressure at very depths.

Creatures in Deep Sea Ecosystems

The existence of living species living even in the deepest parts of the ocean is known. Some sea creatures living in this ecosystem are:

* Invertebrates such as crabs, worms, jellyfish, squid, and octopus

* Corals

* Fish such as angler fish and some sharks

* Some deep diving marine mammals such as sperm whales and sea lions

Ocean Floor Ecosystems

Marine life occurs not only in open ocean waters but also on the ocean floor. Species living in this ecosystem include some fish species, crustaceans, oysters, worms, sea urchins, seaweeds, and smaller organisms. In shallow waters, sunlight can penetrate the bottom. However, sunlight cannot penetrate deeper, and organisms living in deep waters depend on the settling of organic substances in the structure of the living things higher up to survive. Most such organisms are small and produce their own light to find or attract food sources.

Polar Ecosystems

Polar ecosystems are found in extremely cold waters at the world’s poles. In these regions there are fluctuations in both very low air temperatures and the availability of sunlight. Sometimes the sun does not rise for weeks.

Marine creatures in polar ecosystems are:

* Algae

* Plankton

* Invertebrates: One of the most important invertebrates in the polar ecosystem is the krill.

* Birds: Penguins are well-known inhabitants of polar ecosystems, but they only live in Antarctica, not the Arctic.

* Mammals: Polar bears, various whale species, sea lions living only in the Arctic, not in Antarctica.