The Marine Ecosystem

A marine ecosystem is where there is more saltwater than freshwater involved in the balance of the landscape. Other aquatic environments are freshwater lakes, rivers and estuaries. This particular environmental ecology includes all life forms and land forms that might occur in each location.

Scorpion Fish in the Marine EcosystemA marine ecosystem topography can include tidal zones, coral reefs, river mouths, estuaries and reefs where saltwater is predominant. The life forms that live in this environment will be adapted to life in salty water.

Even tropical ecosystems will have similar conditions as underlying criteria for classification. The levels of saltwater will effect the life forms able to exist in the symbiotic relationships needed between a marine ecology and sustainable life.

In studies of a marine ecosystem, the predatory nature of some forms of life will mark the food chain of the particular area.

In this type of aquatic ecosystem the food chain begins with the largest predatory mammals and fish and will continue down through the strata of life forms to the smallest poly and coral life. Seals, whales and dolphins exist and they make the top of the food chain with fish such as sharks and large predators like turtles and sting rays.

Further down the food chain in a marine climate are the smaller fish and crustaceans. It is the way that these creatures exist among the plant life and coral formations that make up the unique relationships in the marine ecosystem. Without plant life or plankton the larger species could not exist. Without the tides, the currents and the sand bars or rock reefs the plants could not exist. Without the movement of schools of fish, jelly fish, rays, eels and turtles, the levels of life would not remain in balance.

The impact of human activity may not at first be discernible, but study would give an idea of how man has changed the balance of life in any marine aquatic ecosystem. Not only through the act of fishing, does human activity impact on the marine life, but activities such as fertilization of crops can effect the delicate balance in the marine environment. Toxins washing into the tidal zones, plastics floating through, long lines, waste material and oil spills can all damage a fragile marine ecology.

Taking care of an ecosystem, whether it is in tropical waters or in the Arctic or Antarctic oceans will mean the survival of thousands of individual species. There is no marine environment that exists without being impacted by what happens in other parts of the globe. The marine ecosystem is vital to the health and welfare of all life forms that pass through it.