Saturday, April 2, 2011

Zones of the Oceans

Author's Note:  I had thought of this content essay on my own since I felt like learning more on the zones of the oceans and the species within them.  In addition, I though that you, the reader, might have wanted to learn something new.  As I wrote this, I thought about reducing my be-verbs throughout the piece and making the descriptions best as possible.  Please give me feedback and comments at the bottom. 

Five oceans surround earth: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern.  Oceans make up nearly 70% of the earth's surface.  They provide home to thousands of unique aquatic animals and plants.  As you go deeper down the pressure gets stronger and sunlight dims until no light can get through.  Each of the five oceans have five main zones: Sunlight, Twilight, Midnight, Abyss, and Trenches.  

Sea Lettuce
The surface zone, named the Sunlight Zone, extends from the surface to approximately 650 feet underwater.  The most visible sunlight exists here hence the name Sunlight Zone.  Plants can only grow in the Sunlight Zone since the most light and warmth exists here.  Plants like Sea Lettuce give food to the vast amount of animals such as dolphins, sharks, and jellyfish. 

Bioluminescent Creatures
Next, the Twilight Zone, which is from 650 feet to 3,300 feet.  Light strives to get through, and any shining light appears to be extremely dim.  There are unique sea creatures living in the Twilight Zone called bioluminescent creatures that can give off light such as the lantern fish and viper fish.  Bioluminescent creatures get food by attracting prey with their light. 

Approximately 3,300 feet to 13,100 feet is complete darkness giving the name Midnight Zone.  The only light shining comes from the bioluminescent creatures.  This deep down pressure can reach 5,850  pounds per square inch, yet a decent amount of animals live here.  The Midnight Zone animals look quite unusual such as angler fish and gulper eel.  Due to lack of light animals found in the Midnight Zone appear black or red in color.

Giant Squid
Between 13,100 feet to 19,700 feet below the surface is the Abyss.  With completely no light, temperatures can get near freezing, 31 degrees Fahrenheit.  Since much deeper in the ocean, pressure is so heavy that only few animals can live here.  Most of the animals are invertebrates meaning they don't have a spinal column.  For example, the Giant Squid has adapted to the Abyss needing to withstand immense pressure, darkness, and frigid waters. 

Mariana Trench
The deepest, darkest, and most pressurized zones are the Trenches.  The pressure goes up to eight tons per square inch.  Incredibly, invertebrates such as starfish or tube fish can still live here and cannot be removed from their habitat.  The Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, is the deepest point on earth reaching 35,797 feet!

An ocean has more than just saltwater and waves; it has zones filled with life.  Species of plants and animals that need to withstand pressure, darkness, and freezing temperatures to survive in the various zones of our oceans.  


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