Natural Selection and Ecology

November 25th, 2020

Introduction

The water body is the biggest habitat on the planet. It covers over 70 percent of the earth surface. In the deep sea, temperatures differ from 100C to 400C. Sea water environment has a constant salinity throughout the year (Benson, Rehbock & International Congress on the History of Oceanography, 2002). At the depth of 2000M, the salt concentration in the water varies from 35% to 34% at the deepest ends. The concentration of oxygen at the deepest points is almost close to saturation. The sea habitat is composed of both macro and micro-organisms that have various adaptive features. These organisms take part in the metabolic processes that utilize oxygen from the water.

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Due to the small concentration of oxygen, there are not many plants making it difficult for the animals in the deep sea habitats to obtain sufficient amount of food. The organisms have suitability to survive in the presence of little solar energy that penetrates to the above depths. At the deepest water environment, there is a total interaction between living and non-living part of the habitat, which results into a self-sustaining system.

The major problem that faces marine life is oil spill caused by accidental leaks from marine navigation. The paper addresses the main characteristics of different aquatic habitats, the features of marine organisms, and the dangers that arise due to oil spills.

Marine Wetlands

Characteristics of the Ecosystem

Marine wetlands refer to the salt water wetlands that remain open to the oceanic waves, currents, and tides. They are mostly found along the coastal regions where the level of water rises and falls as a result of frequent tides. The habitats are open to the forces of storms, waves, and oceanic currents. Identifiable features of marine wetlands differ as a result of the magnitude of the waves, current effects, and tides. Plants in these areas are able to survive due to their high tolerance to excessive salts. Examples of marine wetlands include aquatic sub-tidal points consisting of kelps, sea grass, and coral reefs.

Effects of Oil Spill on Marine Wetland

The main component of a marine wetland is grass. When the spill occurs, plants get covered with oil that blocks the process of gaseous exchange. The plants may die causing imbalance in the food chain (Stewart, 2010). Once the grass is destroyed, the soil becomes loose, and due to heavy tides, the ecosystem disappears. The oil coverage can block oxygen supply to the underlying creatures thus posing the risk of death.

Affected Species

Marine wetland consists of various plants and animals. Oil spills affect animal species like frogs, fishes, and birds. Plants such as grass, reeds, and rushes are also exposed to the same danger.

Surveys

The types of surveys conducted to obtain the data include exploratory, descriptive, and causal research. Thousands of samples of sediments, oils, water, and tissues were obtained from the wetland ecosystem to study the effects of the oil spillage. Various scientific assessments have also been carried out in line with the scientific procedures.

Cost of the Damage

When an ecosystem such as marine wetland collapses, the rate of tourist attraction may reduce thereby undermining the GDP of a country. The environmental impacts include the decline of the ecosystem due to destruction of the food chain and physical contamination of water and sea foods.

Shoreline and Beaches

Characteristics of the Ecosystem

Beach or a shoreline is the boundary between the sea water and the land. It is the point where land and the sea merge. Their common features include pebbles, gravel, sand, rocks, and shingles. Some beaches have a combination of the above features. A common feature in most beaches is strandline; at this point, tides leave behind dead animals and plant materials that serve as sources of food to the organisms in the habitat.

Effects of Oil Spill on Shoreline and Beaches

Spilled oil is poisonous to the surface organisms; it directly damages plants and animals thereby causing disruptions in the food chain. When oil covers the surface water, it blocks the penetration of the sunlight into the underlying primary producers causing little survival (Renaud, Sudmeier-Rieux, & Estrella, 2013).

Affected Species

The species found on the shoreline include insects, birds, vegetation, microorganisms, aquatic birds, mammals, and fish. All are affected by oil spills.

Surveys

Surveys were carried out through sampling. Several samples of water, oil spills, animals and plant species were obtained from the beaches to help in the analysis. The types of surveys conducted to get the data include exploratory, descriptive, and causal research.

Economic and Environmental Cost Associated with Oil Spillage on Shoreline

Because of oil spillage, the tourism sector may face reduction in tourists visiting the country; this directly affects the countrys income in the form of GDP. Such a disaster also interferes with navigation activities. The poisonous chemicals also pose environmental hazards like contamination of sea foods and the general pollution of water.

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Nearshore Benthos

Characteristics of the Ecosystem

Benthos zones consist of ocean floors, subsurface layers, and sediments surface. The habitat has favorable conditions for survival of living organisms. The zone has kelp forests, eelgrass beds and coral reefs that provide storm protection and reduction of wave effects.

Effects of Oil Spill on Nearshore Benthos

Oil spillage suffocates living organisms; it directly damages plants and animals thereby causing disruptions in the food chain. When oil covers the surface water, it blocks the penetration of sunlight and oxygen into the underlying plants reducing the chances of survival.

Affected Species

In the nearshore benthos, affected species include oyster, brittle stars, sea anemones, crayfish, insects, and sea stars. The plants include algae and several other aquatic plants.

Surveys and Data

Surveys were carried out through sampling. Several samples of water, oil spills, animals and plant species were obtained from the benthos to help in analysis. The types of surveys conducted to obtain the data include exploratory research, descriptive research, and causal research.

Economic and Environmental Cost Associated with Oil Spillage on Nearshore Benthos

Oil spillage contaminates fresh water bodies and the organisms in it. It poses a health hazard to people using the water. Economically, oil spills reduce the fishing activities hence affecting the income of the fishing industries.

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Photic Zones

Characteristics of the Ecosystem

Photic habitats are at the top of the oceans or lakes. The areas receive the sufficient amount of solar energy for primary producers. In these areas, there is a high rate of photosynthesis by green plants. The depth is dependent on factors such as nutrients supply, turbidity temperature, and tidal turbulence. The depth varies from 1m to 30m.

Effects of Oil Spill on the Photic Zones

The spillage covers the water surface thereby blocking the penetration of light into the underlying plants. Plants can also die causing imbalance in the food chain.

Affected Species

In the photic zone, the affected animal species include shrimp, shark, whale, shell, crab, and jellyfish. Plant species are represented by algae (green, red and brown species).

Surveys

Surveys were carried out through sampling. Several samples of water, oil spills, animals and plant species were obtained from the Photic zones to help in analysis. The types of surveys conducted to obtain the data include exploratory research, descriptive research, and causal research.

Economic and Environmental Cost Associated with Oil Spillage on Photic Zones

Disruption of food chain affects the fish species i.e. sea foods. Moreover, oil spills negatively influence the fishing activities hence low income to the fishing industries.

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Deep Benthos

Characteristics of the Ecosystem

The areas are located on the seabed. The forces of tides are lesser in these areas, and the pressure is great due to the high water column. The organisms there have adaptive features that enable them to withstand the high pressure of water. The main source of energy is the dead organisms that decay in the seabed.

Effects of Oil Spill on the Deep Benthos

Poisonous chemical in the oil, e.g lead, may cause physical death of plants and animals. The effect is disastrous as it destroys the primary sources of energy. Oil covers the surface of water blocking light rays from passing to the photosynthetic diatoms.

Affected Species

The affected species in deep benthos include microbenthos (corals, bivalves, polychaete worms etc). Plants involve mainly algae (red, brown and green species).

Surveys

Sampling techniques were used to obtain the data from the deep benthos. The data include samples of species, both plants, and animals. The types of surveys conducted to obtain the data include exploratory research, descriptive research, and causal research.

Economic and Environmental Cost Associated with Oil Spillage on Deep Benthos

Oil spillage contaminates fresh water bodies and the organisms in it. It causes a health hazard to people using the water. Economically, oil spills affect fishing industries.

Conclusion

The major problem that faces marine life is oil spills caused by accidental in marine navigation. Oil spillage affects both environment and the economic status of a country. Serious measures should be put in place to ensure the reduction of accidental spillage. The economic effects are evident in both the tourism and fishing industries.

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