Essentials of Oceanography

The Secret Lives of Fishes and the Great Meal Deal


Life in the ocean: it's all about finding a good lunch spot

Satellite image. See caption
Images show photo and false color image from a chlorophyll sensor on the OrbView-2 satellite. The satellite image shows high concentrations of phytoplankton in the Arabian Sea. The chlorophyll that the plants use to convert light to food tints the water green in the natural color image (top). The phytoplankton are growing in large swirls that follow the eddies and currents of the surface water. In the lower image, ocean chlorophyll concentrations are shown. Not surprisingly, concentrations appear to be highest near the coast where upwelling makes nutrients more available. NASA images courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE. See this NASA web site for more info.
Source: NASA

The following are key points in the ppt slides

  • Importance of simple photosynthetic organisms (phytoplankton) to the food chain in the oceans.
  • Importance of nutrients and sunlight to phytoplankton growth
  • Fish live close to their food supply, and/or, they travel huge distances for special feeding events
  • How are nutrients supplied to the photic zone?
  • What happens to all of the food (organic matter, carbon) produced in the photic zone? Is it buried as sediment at the bottom of the ocean?
  • Energy cycle of the ocean, composting, role of bacteria
  • Why are deep waters important for phytoplankton growth?
  • Good background reading for phytoplankton importance