Marine Ecosystems : The Factors That Make Up The Environment

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Marine ecosystems are shaped by the abiotic factors that make up the environment. Water temperature, amount of dissolved oxygen, and pH determines the biota that may live in it (Walther, 2002). In recent years, empirical evidence has shown that the average global air and sea surface temperatures are increasing in most places around the world. As local climate changes, the organisms in the ecosystems change and adapt. This can alter the physiological functioning, behavior, spatial range, and abundance of populations (Walther, 2002). Some of the greatest indicators of these changes are gelatinous zooplankton, such as jellyfish and ctenophores. With their quick generational time they quickly show how a changing environment can affect an organism. When conditions are right, jellyfish populations can undergo a rapid increase in abundance in an event called a “jellyfish bloom”. While these are usually indicators of a healthy pelagic ecosystem, they have been increasing in frequency over the last century. These blooms can have large negative impacts on fisheries, coastal communities, and on pelagic ecosystems. This paper will review the current literature surrounding environmental changes that are impacting jellyfish and how these organisms are reacting/adapting to these impacts. This includes a changing range of habitats, issues related to ocean acidification, and physiological changes to the organism. Most of the information in this paper will draw from published scientific
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