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Living Resources of the Ocean Essay


Introduction

The ocean is among the most important natural resources bestowed upon mankind. It has extensive benefits to human life and it provides a wonderful ecosystem in which other organisms live. The following are some examples of the benefits that the ocean has on human life (2). The ocean is extensively used for transportation of bulky goods over long distances. It is also a very valuable source of a number of minerals and crude oil. Most of these minerals are found in deep sea.

Examples of these oceanic minerals include cobalt, salt, iron, copper, manganese etc. The ocean is also a valuable recreation site for human beings. It provides a serene environment that acts as an attraction to people on holidays seeking relaxation. The ocean is also a source of organisms with useful medical value. It also regulates the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by taking atmospheric carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen.

This is a very important input in the efforts towards reduction of the levels of global warming. Lastly, the ocean is a very important source of biodiversity (1). It provides organisms that have great value to human life. The most commendable among the benefits of marine life to human life are the fact that marine life can act as food and the fact that some oceanic organisms have medicinal value.

Living resources of the ocean

The marine habitat harbors a large percentage of the earth’s cumulative population of plants and animals. Over one million animal species and plant species have already been discovered and scientists have estimated that an extra nine million species are still living in the marine biome without human discovery.

Garrison, Tom. Essentials of Oceanography. Wadsworth Publishing.

Resenick, John. Marine Biology. Reston Publishing Company

This means that, of all plant and animal population living in the ocean we only know 10%. Thus if the scientists are right, there is a lot of plant and animal species in the oceans that could have more value than just medicines and food. Let us explore the marine animals that have already been discovered.

Fish

The ocean has been the leading source of fish for ages. Humans have used the ocean for a very long time as their source of fish for food. The fact that the ocean is full of a myriad species of fish is thus obvious. Specific examples of marine fish and their adaptations include the black swallower which is able to triple the size of its stomach in order to prey on other fish that are bigger that it is.

Another example is the tripod fish which derives its name from its exceptionally long caudal and pelvic fins. Fish also have other adaptations for marine life. Virtually all fish have streamlined bodies for ease of locomotion (1). All fish have their blood pumped from the heart to the gills from where it is supplied to other body parts.

Thus fish are, in this way adapted to survive in deep water by taking in oxygen from the water through their gills. Fish have also been able to survive in oceans due to the constant availability of their chief food: the planktons. These are small fish that are preyed upon by virtually every marine organism. Thus marine fish can never be starved. A discussion about the types of marine fish would be incomplete without the mention of sharks.

Sharks are widely known for their huge bodies. They feed on other animals and thus they are carnivores. Their common diets include lobsters, crabs, bony fishes, worms and mollusks. The choice of what to eat is normally determined by the availability of the latter. Thus pelagic sharks normally feed on squid. Sharks will therefore eat dead fish at the ocean floor.

Garrison, Tom. Essentials of Oceanography. Wadsworth Publishing.

Tiger sharks are believed to be able to eat anything. Most sharks spend almost all their time swimming in order to allow respiration to freely take place. However, other sharks are normally found in ocean floors where they carry out their respiration normally (1).

Marine Mammals

Marine life is also composed of a number of mammals. Just like other marine life forms, mammals are adapted to cope with the harsh living conditions that are characteristic of marine life. For example, they normally have a thick layer of fat under their skins to help them insulate their bodies from excessive heat loss. This is because some regions of the experience extremely cold temperatures.

Contrarily, sea otters, an example of ocean mammals, have dense fur instead of blubber that serves the purpose of insulating them from the extremely cold temperatures of the ocean.

These adaptations against heat loss are necessitated by the fact that marine mammals are similar to terrestrial mammals in terms of their warm bloodedness. They are thus forced to develop these adaptations in a bid to keep their temperatures above ocean temperatures. Other examples of marine mammals include seals, whales, sea cows, dugongs and manatees.

Other adaptations of mammals to heat insulation include a large internal volume and reduced surface area. Their blood is also controlled to ensure that only a negligible amount comes close to cold water. They also have other adaptations to marine life apart from heat insulation mechanisms. Such adaptations include ability to expel air from lungs as they dive deep in the ocean (Garrison 1). This enables them to avoid excess intake of nitrogen.

Garrison, Tom. Essentials of Oceanography. Wadsworth Publishing.

They also have slower heartbeats, high amount of hemoglobin in blood and strategic blood flow.

Both fish and marine mammals have streamlined bodies but while marine mammals are capable of swimming both horizontally and vertically, most fish are only able to swim horizontally. This is due to difference in the adaptation of their tails. Mammals are horizontal while those of a majority of fish have horizontal orientation.

Fish and most mammals have streamlined bodies which enhances their mobility in water. The few mammals which do not have streamlined bodies have other special adaptations that enable them to survive in the ocean. These special adaptations include camouflage or body armors that protect them from sea carnivores (1).

Benthic life forms

Benthic is a term used to describe the area of the ocean that lies below the pelagic zone. It is not the last zone in terms of depth but in spite of this fact, it is normally referred to as the sea bed. The deepest zone of the ocean is known as the abyssal zone. The benthic zone is characterized by extremely cold water since sunlight does not penetrate such depths.

Organisms that live in the benthic zone are mainly fungi, bacteria, fish, worms and sponges. These benthic forms survive in the harsh conditions of this zone because they normally have adaptations for resisting cold temperatures and also because the benthic zone is rich in nutrients. Also evident among benthic life forms are sea stars which are normally carnivorous (1).

Other marine life forms

Other marine life forms include animals that have impenetrable shells that protect them from being preyed by other animals in the ocean.

Garrison, Tom. Essentials of Oceanography. Wadsworth Publishing.

An example of such animals is the chitons which live exclusively in the ocean. The feature that distinctively identifies them is the overlapping plates at the back of the animal

. The plates are eight in number and they enhance the physical morphology of the animal for protection. Such organisms normally have underdeveloped organs for compatibility of their bodies with their shells (4). Their adaptations to marine life have made them thrive in this carnivorous environment for many years. This is in spite of the fact that they are preyed by sharks.

Preservation of marine biome

A lot needs to be done to reduce the rate of extinction of marine life. Human activities like fishing, industrialization (pollution), reconstruction, experimentation, transportation etc. have had a persistent negative effect on marine life.

A considerably large number of fish die every year due to the pollution caused by the disposal of industrial effluents in to the ocean. In other areas people have overfished the oceans, catching juvenile fish and thus limiting the growth of fish population. Fishermen have also continually used wrong fishing methods that continue to be a threat to the growth of biodiversity (3).

For example, some fishermen may utilize fishing methods which make them catch unwanted species of fish and thus contributing to the inability of certain species of fish to multiply. It is our responsibility to strive to conserve marine life. For instance, when planning reconstruction of intertidal oceanic zones, we should first of all analyze the effect that our projects are likely to have on marine life and carry out the necessary steps to reduce them.

  1. Berta, Annalisa. Marine Mammals. McMillan Publishing.
  2. Littler, Mark and Littler, Diane. “The Evolution of Thallus Form and Survival

Strategies in Benthic Marine Microalgae

For instance, before reconstruction, artificial waters could be made in the ocean shores to preserve corals and fish so that they can be protected from the effects of the reconstruction process. Organizations should ensure that they practice Corporate Social Responsibility by contributing philanthropically to projects involving conservation of marine habitat.

Governments should also ensure that regulations are laid down that support the fight against extinction of marine life forms (1). They should thus discourage industrial pollution by all means and ensure that other factors that negatively affect marine life are controlled.

Conclusion

Marine life was once thought to be so dynamic that it was under no threat of extinction. Contemporary research has shown that marine population is drastically reducing due to uncontrolled exploitation (1). The worrying bit is that the recovery rate of marine life after exploitation is very slow as compared to the growth rates before exploitation. Marine mammals are particularly endangered. This is because they must surface in order to breathe before going back underwater.

This makes them easy targets for human capturing. With these worrying trends in the population of marine life, we are obliged to take preventive measures to ensure that our negative effects on marine life are minimized. We owe our future generations the responsibility of preserving biodiversity for them and thus we should do our best in ensuring that the best measures towards preserving biodiversity are implemented.

Garrison, Tom. Essentials of Oceanography. Wadsworth Publishing.

Works Cited

Berta, Annalisa. Marine Mammals. U.K. McMillan Publishing. Garrison, Tom. Essentials of Oceanography. U.S. Wadsworth Publishing.

Littler, Mark and Littler, Diane. “The Evolution of Thallus Form and Survival Strategies in Benthic Marine Microalgae.” 1979. Web.

Resenick, John. Marine Biology. Virginia. Reston Publishing Company. 1989. Print.

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1. IvyPanda. "Living Resources of the Ocean." May 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/living-resources-of-the-ocean/.


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IvyPanda. "Living Resources of the Ocean." May 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/living-resources-of-the-ocean/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Living Resources of the Ocean." May 10, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/living-resources-of-the-ocean/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Living Resources of the Ocean'. 10 May.

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