Coastal benthic environments


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Overview of coastal ecosystems and key organisms for CIAM 6117 UPRRP

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Coastal benthic environments

  1. 1. Coastal Ecosystems
  2. 2. Coastal Ecosystems Rocky shores Ice edge Soft substratumCoral MarshesreefsRocky Mangrovesreefs Kelp Estuaries forests Sea grass beds
  3. 3. Primary Producers
  4. 4. Photosynthetic organisms• Cyanobacteria• Diatoms and Coccolithophores• Algae – Haptophytes (Phaeophytes) – Rhodophytes• Plants
  5. 5. Primary Production the lowest level of the food chain utilize sunlight or chemical nutrients as a source of energy (autotrophy) primary production = rate of photosynthesis or chemosynthesis  most occurs > 100 m (max = 268 m or 879 ft) Primary producers serve as the basis for nearly all life in the ocean
  6. 6. Factors Affecting Primary Productivity• Light – polar regions: a single pulse of phytoplankton abundance occurs in summer – temperate latitudes: primary productivity is maximal in spring and autumn – tropics: phytoplankton are nutrient-limited year round• Nutrients – oligotrophic – eutrophic – mesotrophic• Hydrographic conditions – Currents – Upwelling – Vertical mixing
  7. 7. Patterns of Productivity
  8. 8. Estimates of primary productionTotal (marine plus terrestrial) global annual net primary production (NPP) = 104.9 Gt C/yr Terrestrial = 56.4 Gt or 53.8% Oceanic = 48.5 Gt or 46.2%(From Field et al. 1998. Science 281: 237-240)
  9. 9. Estimates of primary production Pelagic zone = 50-600 Grasslands = 2,400 Tropical forests = 5,000 Mangroves = 2,700 Seagrass beds = 800-10,000 Coral reefs = 1200-8,000 (measured as g C/m2/yr )
  10. 10. Primary Production1. Water column – Plankton Most productivity occurs in plankton2. Seabed – Benthos
  11. 11. Plankton Phytoplankton  Meroplankton part of lifecycle in plankton and benthos  Holoplankton entire lifecycle in plankton  Neuston plankton near surface Ultraplankton <2 mm Nannoplankton 2-20 mm Microplankton 20-200 mm Macroplankton 200-2,000 mm Megaplankton >2,000 mm
  12. 12. Major Groups of Primary Producers- Phytoplankton• Cyanophytes• Stramenopiles (Diatoms, Silicoflagellates)• Haptophytes (Coccolithophores)• Alveolates (Dinoflagellates)• Chlorophytes
  13. 13. CyanophyceaeCyanobacteria(blue-green algae)• ultraplankton• comprise ~25% of the total primary production• nitrogen fixation• produced O2 in atmosphere
  14. 14. StromatolitesShark Bay, Western AustraliaOldest = 3.5 billion years old
  15. 15. Bacillariophytes: Bacillariophyceae Diatoms• Unicellular nanno – microplankton• Dominate temperate-polar regions• Silica valves (2) form pillbox frustule• Centric diatoms – radially symmetrical• Pennate diatoms – bilaterally symmetrical
  16. 16. Domoic acid• Neurotoxin produced by Pseudo-nitzschia sp.• Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning
  17. 17. Haptophytes - Coccolithophores•Unicellular•Nannoplankton•Calcium carbonatecoccoliths•Can form large bloomsEmiliania huxleyi
  18. 18. Haptophytes - Silicoflagellates• Internal skeleton of silica scales• More abundant in Antarctica and open ocean
  19. 19. Dinoflagellates – Whirling flagella
  20. 20. Red Tides
  21. 21. Red TidesMany dinoflagellates produce neurotoxins (saxitoxin, brevitoxin, polycyclic ethers)• Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) Alexandrium sp.• Ciguatera Gambierdiscus toxicus• Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) Dinophysis acuta and D. acuminata• Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP) Gymnodinium breve
  22. 22. Specialized dinoflagellates • Zooxanthellae • Noctiluca
  23. 23. Zooxanthellae• Live as symbionts in animal hosts• Corals, clams, jellies• Symbiodinium sp.
  24. 24. Zooxanthellae• Live as symbionts in animal hosts• Corals, clams, jellies• Symbiodinium sp.
  25. 25. Coral Bleaching
  26. 26. Noctiluca
  27. 27. Bioluminescence Chemiluminescent reaction in which a substrate, luciferin, is oxidized, releasing a large amount of energy in the form of light Pyrodinium bahamenese
  28. 28. Benthic primary producersMajor lineages of algae and plants:• Chlorophyta (green algae/plants)• Heterokonta (stramenopiles - brown algae)• Rhodophyta (red algae)
  29. 29. General morphology
  30. 30. Life historiesMost have complex life histories:• Alternation of generations (iso- or heteromorphic)• Dispersing spore• Rhodophytes havetri-phasic life history
  31. 31. Chlorophyta
  32. 32. Sargasso Sea• Location determined by the changing ocean currents• Supports a unique fauna associated with drifting mats of Sargassum sp.
  33. 33. Sargasso Sea
  34. 34. Brown Algae• Their cells contain different pigments, such as chlorophyll c and fucoxanthin• Almost all phaeophytes are marine
  35. 35. Kelp forests
  36. 36. Kelp forests
  37. 37. Kelp forest distribution
  38. 38. Rhodophyta• Highly variable morphologies• Some members heavily calcified (coralline algae) by calcium carbonate in cell walls• Contain chlorophylls a, d• Cell wall made of agar or carrageenan• Store sugars in the form of Floridian starch
  39. 39. Rhodophyta
  40. 40. Angiosperms • Seagrasses • Mangroves
  41. 41. Seagrasses• 59 species worldwide in 12 genera• Abundant in Australia, Alaska, S. Europe, India, E. Africa, SE Asia, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico• 7 species found in Caribbean: Thalassia, Syringodium, Halodule, Ruppia, Halophila engelmanni, H. decipiens, and H. baillonii
  42. 42. Seagrasses Jobos Bay, PR
  43. 43. Functions of seagrass – An ecosystem perspective• Primary production• Canopy structure• Epiphyte and epifaunal substratum• Nutrient, contaminant and sediment filtration and trapping• Below-ground structure• Nutrient regeneration and recycling• Wave and current energy damping
  44. 44. Seagrass ecosystem
  45. 45. Mangroves• Over 60 species worldwide• Mainly limited to tropics in the intertidal• Indo-West Pacific has highest diversity• Important in island formation• 4 species found in Caribbean: Rhizophora mangle (Red mangroves), Avicennia germinant (Black mangroves), Laguncularia racemosa (White mangroves), and Conocarpus erectus (Buttonwood mangroves)
  46. 46. Mangroves
  47. 47. Mangroves
  48. 48. Mangrove dispersal •Red mangrove dispersal period = 40 days •Black mangrove = minimum 14 days •White mangrove = 5 days Germination occurs on parent
  49. 49. Ice shelf• Resource-poor and inhabited by only the hardiest of creatures (similar to deep sea)• The transition to a fully mature community may take hundreds to thousands of years• In the water column, change occurs more quickly (opportunistic when ice opens)• Krill extremely abundant
  50. 50. Adaptations• Good swimmers• Adapted to life in extreme cold – Layer of blubber – Thick layer of feathers – Behavior modification (huddling) – Live near ice-free zone
  51. 51. Penguin species:1. Emperor 10. Macaroni2. King 11. Fiordland Crested3. Yellow-eyed 12. Erect-Crested4. Chinestrap 13. African Black-footed5. Adelie 14. Magellanic6. Gentoo 15. Peruvian7. Royal 16. Galapagos8. Rockhopper 17. White-Flippered9. Snares Crested 18. Blue (Fairy)
  52. 52. Emperor Penguins Aptenodytes forsteri• Colonies of 200,000 individuals in the Ross Sea, Antarctica• Large birds (30-40 kg)• Only organism to breed during the Antarctic winter
  53. 53. Emperor PenguinsAptenodytes forsteri
  54. 54. Emperor PenguinsAptenodytes forsteri
  55. 55. Order Procellariformes• Large wing span• “Pelagic” birds• Most of the worlds albatross nest in subantarctic waters in the southern hemisphere• Albatross are the “tuna” of the avian world with the most efficient flight and one of the largest wingspans – 12 ft• Oldest seabird reaching 60-70 years old• Lay only one egg per year• Frigates sleep on the wing!
  56. 56. Order Pelecaniformes Tern CormorantFrigate Bird
  57. 57. Order Charadriiformes• Most diverse group (112 sp.)• Many species very abundant (i.e.,Auks)
  58. 58. Order Charadriiformes Skimmers
  59. 59. Bird migrations• Arctic tern has longest migration (25,000 miles every year)
  60. 60. Transients
  61. 61. Marine Mammals• Order Carnivora – Suborder Fissipedia (dogs, cats, weasels, sea otters, polar bears) – Suborder Pinnipedia (seals and sea lions)• Order Cetacea (whales and dolphins)• Order Sirenia
  62. 62. Suborder Fissipedia - Sea otters Enhydra lutris
  63. 63. Suborder Fissipedia - Sea otters Enhydra lutris
  64. 64. Ursus maritimus
  65. 65. Ursus maritimus
  66. 66. Order CetaceaSuborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales) Family Delphinidae (marine dolphins) Family Phocoenidae (porpoises) Family Physeteridae (sperm whales) Family Monodontidae (beluga and narwal) Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales)
  67. 67. Suborder Mysticeti (baleen whales)
  68. 68. Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales)
  69. 69. Suborder Pinnipedia SealSea lion
  70. 70. `
  71. 71. Diving Physiology• Deepest dive by mammal (unaided): 2,250 m, Sperm Whale• Elephant seals spend most of their time submerged and can dive to over 1,500 m depth• Provides access to prey living at great depths (ie, Giant Squid)• Animal must have mechanisms to deal with oxygen consumption and build-up of carbon dioxide and lactic acid
  72. 72. Diving PhysiologyMajor adaptations:1. Larger volume of blood transport2. Storage of oxygen in hemoglobin of muscles3. High red blood cell concentration4. Low heart and oxygen consumption rate5. Restriction of peripheral circulation
  73. 73. Sirenia