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Marine Ecology Food Web

Shows the roles of 12 marine creatures with adaptations and biological importances in a food web
by

Lucy Worsnop

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of Marine Ecology Food Web

Marine Ecology Food Web
Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that usually start the food chain, which leads to a food web. Phytoplankton is a producer, meaning it creates it's own food. Phytoplankton, like the Zooplankton, has are body made of fresh water, and their name comes from the Greek words "Phyton" & "Planktos" meaning "Plant" & "Drifter" or "Wanderer". Even though the Phytoplankton may be small, it accounts for half of the Photosynthetic activity in the world.
Zooplankton
Zooplankton are hetrotrophic plankton with bodies of fresh water. Zooplankton are not producers but consumers, eating the closely related but smaller plankton species Phytoplankton and even other Zooplankton. Zooplankton come in different forms & sizes, from ones that can only be seen using a microscope to Zooplankton which are jellyfish.
Grey Mullet
Grey Mullets are a family of ray-finned fish found worldwide in coastal or sub-tropical waters, and in some species fresh water. They are consumers that feed on Zooplankton or other plankton, sometimes they eat off seaweed. Humans rarely eat this fish as it tastes of mud, but they are commonly eaten by larger fish wanting a meal.
Kingfish
Kingfish are medium-sized fish with weights from an average of 5 to 30 pounds, but some can weigh up to 90 pounds maximum. Kingfish are not just consumers, but also decomposers as well, eating decaying matter, but it's favourite prey would usually be snapper & kahawai. Kingfish is a favourite meal to humans, also it is least concern on the IUCN Conservation Table.
By Lucy Worsnop
Seaweed
Seaweed is part of the Algae family, meaning seaweed isn't a plant. Seaweed, although it's not a plant, it is a producer, making it's own food. Seaweed is commonly found anywhere around the world, but only needs 2 requirements to live in: Light & Water. Light is for the photosynthesis, which is a common technique for both plants and producers, and water to stay moisturized and not dry out. Seaweed can range it's colour from green to red to brown, but most seaweed are from a polyphyletic group.
Pilchards
Pilchards, or commonly known as Sardines, are small, oily fish that are eaten by larger marine creatures, such as Kahawai, and even humans. The name "Sardine" was given to this fish in the 15th century from the Mediterranean Island called Sardinia, which was rumoured the habitat of the first Sardines. Sardines / Pilchards are split into 2 sizes; if they are below 6 inches, they are classified as Sardines. If they are above 6 inches, they are Pilchards.
Kina
Kina are New Zealand sea urchins. They grow to a diameter of 16-17cm maximum. Kina are consumers that feed on seaweed, but are mostly eaten by snapper. The Kina are found in shallow waters around 12-14 metres deep in New Zealand, and Kina live in both the North & South Islands of New Zealand.
Mussels
Mussels are elongated & asymmetrical shells filled with a living creature. A Mussel, which is consumer, has a diet consisting of phytoplankton and occasionally zooplankton, but it is a common favourite meal of snapper & humans. Mussels can live in either salt or fresh water habitats, but we commonly see them on exposed rocks down by the beach. Mussels are members of families called both Clams or Bivalvia Mollusca, which references them to their watery habitats.
Snapper
Snapper are a family of Perciform fish, Lutjanidae, meaning they are fish that lack limbs with digits and instead have gills. Snapper is a well-known fish to humans, and are a popular food choice to larger fish such as Kingfish. Snapper are consumers, feeding on mussels & pilchards (sardines) and are not decomposers. There are around 100 species of Snapper, and some features that the usual Snapper possess are medium-large scales, a spiny dorsal fin & some have a laterally compressed body. (See Snapper Adaptations)
Paddle Crabs
Paddle Crabs are a New Zealand endemic swimming crab from the family Portunidae. They are found in the Chatham Islands & eastern parts of Australia. A Paddle Crab's diet consists of shellfish (Mussels, etc.) and decaying matter, making it both a consumer & a decomposer. They even eat the remains of other dead Paddle Crabs, therefore speaking they are somewhat cannibals. Paddle Crabs are often targeted by Snapper & Humans, for their tender flesh.
Kahawai
Kahawai were originally called Austrailian Salmon in Australia, but are now called Kahawai in New Zealand, meaning in Maori "Strong in the water". Although called Salmon, they are not part of the Salmon family, as they are one of four marine species with the Arripis genus, meaning they are found in cooler waters in the Southern Hemisphere, to be detailed Australia & New Zealand. Kahawai are consumers, eating Pilchards (sardines), but are eaten by Kingfish. They are commonly found on the south eastern coast of Australia & New Zealand.
Humans
Humans, or lesser known as Homo-Sapiens, are primates of the family Hominidae. Humans are consumers, feeding on most living things (Kingfish, Snapper, Mussels, etc.) and depend on other living resources to survive. They have evolved, unlike other organisms, due to the unlimited birth of live young. They are rarely eaten by bigger creatures than themselves, making humans a huge predator to other animals, and most food chains end in them eating the most. Humans are created rapidly, thanks to their survival rates & how they are mammals. Humans are not decomposers.
Red Lines = Predator to Prey
Adaptations
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Adaptation #1
The Pilchard has an oily surface because it spreads the fat & oil from it's liver, like most white fish, to other parts over it's body, especially the skin. This can be effective as they slip out of a predator's mouth. It's oily coating can also help make it swim slightly faster to get out of harm's way. It is also good for the predator too, because after eating a Pilchard they can get the oil & fat levels they need.
Adaptation #2
Pilchards, like most fish, have the usual fins. But Pilchards are streamlined, to swim faster. They can swim better and faster than normal fish, so they can be more out of harm's way when predators come and are ready to hunt.
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Justification
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The colour of their body; a sandy, washed up tone
Paddle Back Legs
The Paddle Crab needs a sandy tone as it needs to camouflage when predators are nearby and they need to cover up. They bury themselves in sand to escape the predators as they live mainly on the ground.
Their Paddle Legs are handy when their camouflage is not enough. It is used for rapid movement and to avoid predators. It also helps to bury the crab in the sand for camouflage & protection.
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The process of Photosynthesis
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Photosynthesis is a extremely important process otherwise plants will die. Plants survive on 4 necessary requirements; water for moisture and not drying up, carbon dioxide to make glucose with water, glucose to feed the roots and other parts of a plant on & oxygen to transport to the atmosphere and to flow through the body of a plant.
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It's fat & oil rich skin
Spikes covered around it's body
These spikes are mainly used to defend themselves from predators. Sometimes the spikes are filled with poison that makes the predator go numb, then eventually die. If the Kina is eaten, the spikes will leak out the poison, killing the creature instantly.
Hard, protective shells
Laterally Compressed Body
Spiny Dorsal Fin
Some Snapper have a laterally compressed body, meaning flat or side-to-side, to make it easier to move through tight spaces. It could also work as a camouflage on the ground if they covered themselves in sand, they would look like the ocean floor.
Snapper usually have a spiny dorsal fin,which helps them by stabilizing the fish more than others, which makes easy swimming. It can also help the Snapper with quick turns and propulsion, but only on occasional species of Snapper.
The Foot.
The foot is a large, muscular hatchet shaped piece of flesh that is located inside the mussel, but can be pulled out. It is used to pull the Mussel through the substrate (typically sand or gravel, etc.) to partially bury it. It does this by enlarging the end of this foot, as which it serves as an anchor, and keeps advancing it through the substrate. Then it pulls the animal along, repeating this process until at the desired place. It can also be used as an anchor when the Mussel is stationary.
These tough-exterior shells have a variety of keeping the mussel's centre protected & alive, including supporting the soft tissue, protection from predators & protection against desiccation.
How they absorb nutrients directly from the environment
Unlike most land plants, the Phytoplankton can directly absorb water and other nutrients from the environment around them. That can help when trying to photosynthesize quicker, which leads to surviving better. Phytoplankton also possess lots of projections on their body. This can help when the chlorophyll collects sunlight to photosynthesize, therefore making this plant a major concern if it is wiped out.
It's speedy breeding and reproduction
Zooplankton are extremely good at breeding. Under favourable conditions, a Zooplankton's population can increase up to 30% a day. Even though a Zooplankton's life is short, reproduction is alive, with some species producing their body mass in eggs every 2 to 3 days. This can help the Zooplankton not becoming extinct. They also reach maturity quickly to help reproduce even faster.
Tube-like feet
The Kina also possess maroon tube feet that helps the Kina move around and put food inside it's mouth. Using it's feet, it controls where it goes & the speed it is going. These feet also stabilize the Kina and prevents it from being knocked off rocks when there are serious wave currents or tidal changes, etc.
It's Gills
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It's vast diet and omnivorous teeth
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Quick Reproduction Skills
Adaptation #1
Justification
The human being is capable of eating anything, but chooses not to. It's teeth are made for eating both plants & meat, making it an omnivore. It has reasonably sharp canines, not enough for tearing flesh but for eating meat. The human also possesses molars for grinding food to a paste, which is from the herbivore. It also has incisors used for cutting food into smaller pieces and holding down food to chew on.
Adaptation #2
Justification
Humans also have an incredible skill of reproducing extremely quickly, increasing their chance of survival against other animals. Since humans are mammals and are warm-blooded, they give birth to live young. Research says that 4 babies are born every second around the world, which is astounding compared to animals, especially mammals, that take around 2 years to reach the number of human babies born every month. With this information, it is expected there will be around 7 billion people on Earth by 2014.
It's body shape
The Kingfish has a unique body shape; the body is tapered posteriorly to a narrow caudal peduncle (the wrist of the tail fin), broadening to a large, forked caudal fin. It also has a torpedo-shaped body that is slightly compressed, making it easier to swim faster. The caudal fin also possesses a small "scooped out" centre, which has a small surface area in comparison to the large span. This may result in this fish with a little lateral displacement of water & turbulence, but provides swiftness and efficient power to swim.
Neuromasts
When young Kingfish are weak, they travel in schools, using pores that open through the scales, called Nueromasts. These consist of sensory cells with hairs embedded in gelatinous cups, called the cupula. These organs run along the lateral line canals of the body of the fish. This ability occurs in most schooling fishes and can help the fish co-ordinate with others movements simultaneously. The fish's nervous system, along with the nueromasts, can sense water pressure change as well. This not only means a hard target for predators, but the fish can sense the velocity & direct direction the predator is, possibly the size too.
It's transparency
The Zooplankton has a body made of fresh water, so it is basically transparent. This can be used as a camouflage tactic as predator will not be able to see the Zooplankton. For Zooplankton jellyfish that are metres long, they may be on the surface instead of deep below. They will need to be blue to pass predators because the lighted surface of the water will camouflage the animal instead.
It's strong roots
It's strong fronds
The seaweed has strong roots for not getting swept away from currents in the water. The roots are almost tied up to it's attachment point, such as a rock, to stay bound and to photosynthesis near shallower water, as it needs sunlight to survive.
The seaweed also needs to possess strong fronds so they are not torn off easily by predators and sea currents. The fronds are strong because of the amount of sugar/glucose in it, thanks to the amount of photosynthesis it has done.
It's strong, muscular stomach
The Grey Mullet possesses a strong, muscular stomach that can digest food quickly. In detail, it triturates algae, microalgae, diatoms, etc. with sand or other inorganic materials, grinding the algae using the sand particles to lyse the cells of bacteria and algae, meaning to undergo.
It's streamlined body
The Grey Mullet, like most agile fish, have a streamlined body or fusiform body. This means it is a fast predator towards it's prey because they can either swim at high speeds much of the time or they are capable of great bursts of speed, like a tiger pouncing on a deer.
It's jumping ability
The Kahawai has a fighting attitude against fish it's size, or even other Kahawai. They swim fast until they get close enough to the target, then they jump out of the way, confusing their victim. They may do this several times until the target gives up or breaks off. This could be because of mating, trying twin the female from the other male.
It's greedy eating ways
The Grey Mullet will gorge itself on small schooling crabs, fish and worms, making it full of energy. It then digests for hours, making it giving it time to migrate or travel long distances not on an empty stomach. It will also not be in harm's way, as it won't have to go into a predator's eating area t try and get food.
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