Aquatic Biomes

Essay by ziggyzhangHigh School, 12th gradeA+, August 2006

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By definition, biomes are major regional groups of distinctive plant, and animal communities best adapted to the region's physical natural environment, latitude, altitude and terrain factors. A biome is also composed of communities at stable steady state and all associated transitional, disturbed, or degraded, vegetation, fauna and soils, but can often be identified by the climax vegetation type ("Biome" 1). This means there can be dozens of different biomes in the world all characterized by various differences. For example, we live in what is known as the Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome. From there, we can be further classified into what is called the Northeastern coastal forests. There are many various biomes that can be further classified. They can be classified as either terrestrial or aquatic biomes. Aquatic biomes include continental shelf, littoral, riparian, pond, coral reef, kelp forest, pack ice, hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, benthic zone, and pelagic zone ("Biome" 1).

All these biomes are found in different depths and locations in the ocean. Aquatic biomes make up more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface and are essential for everyday life.

The continental shelf is an extended perimeter of each continent, which is covered during interglacial periods such as the current age by relatively shallow seas and gulfs. Continental shelves usually ends at a point of increasing slope, the shelf break. The sea floor below the break is the continental slope. Below the slope is the continental rise, which finally merges into the deep ocean floor, the abyssal plain. Though the continental shelf is treated as a physiographic province of the ocean, it is not part of the deep ocean basin proper, but the flooded margins of the continent (Pinet 35-36). Passive continental margins such as most of the Atlantic coasts have wide and shallow shelves, comprised...