Marine Biomes

Marine Biomes

Marine Biomes

Marine Biomes


This volume in the "Greenwood Guides to Biomes of the World" covers the saltwater biomes that exist along coastline, on the continental shelf, and the open sea, examining all aspects that define these biomes:

; Vegetation

; Geographical Distribution

; Challenges posed by the environment

; Adaptation of the plants and animals to the environment

; Conservation efforts Maps, photos, diagrams, drawings, and tables accompany the text, as do sidebars that highlight habitats, species, and ecological relationships. The volume includes a bibliography of accessible resources for further research.


Preparing this book was a journey of discovery for me. I’m pretty much a landlubber. What I learned by writing let me see with new eyes and fascination the land and organisms affected by the sea. Fortunately, both for the book and for the writer, in the midst of the process I had opportunities to comb rocky coasts in South Africa and a desert coast in Namibia and to snorkel in the Galapagos. All three experiences heightened my awareness of a world that lies largely hidden from view. I’m ready for more.

Aquatic biomes in general are difficult to define, because they do not fit the mold prepared for terrestrial ones, which are delineated according to vegetation. Marine biologists and oceanographers continue to seek consensus on the best way to recognize boundaries in the sea. This book uses a fairly conventional organization, dividing the marine environment into coastal, continental shelf, and deep sea biomes. Separate chapters are devoted to each. The first chapter introduces key elements of the ocean as habitat and includes discussions of the physical factors influencing life in the sea as well as the chief forms of life and ecological relationships. Each ocean basin is introduced with a description of its size, major landform features, and broad circulation patterns.

Individual biome chapters begin with an overview of the biome under consideration that describes the physical environment and the types of organisms that commonly inhabit such areas. Ocean habitats are distinguished according to water temperatures, ocean currents, distance from land, and characteristics of the seabed. Selected regional variants are described to demonstrate these influences as appropriate to the biome under discussion. Usually, latitudinal variations (polar . . .

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