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B.

Aquatic Habitat
By: Arlene Gabriel

 Aquatic : living or found in or near water

 Habitat: a place or type of place where a specie (plant or animal) naturally or


normally lives or grows.

 Aquatic Habitat is simply the places where aquatic species live. It includes places
permanently covered by water or surrounding areas that are occasionally covered
by water.

What composes an Aquatic Habitat?


 Bed Substrate – the base on which an organism lives. (rocks, corals, gravel, sand and
mud)

 The type of vegetation present - important for the health of waterways, contributing
to the balance of oxygen, nutrients and sediment and food. (snags, seaweeds,
seagrasses, mangroves and saltmarsh)
 The shape and nature of the habitat – water quality, depths and flow speed (pools and
riffles, billabong, reefs)

 Overall ecosystem (wetland, floodplains, streams, estuaries, lakes)

1. Freshwater habitats:
Freshwater ecosystem are a subset of earth’s aquatic ecosystem. They include
lakes and ponds, rivers, streams, and springs and wetlands. They can be
constructed with marine ecosystem, which have a larger salt content. Fresh
water habitats can be classified by different factors , including temperature, light
penetration, and vegetation.
 Fresh water habitat is the body of water formed mainly from inland waters and
contain very low level of salinity. Examples of fresh water habitats are rivers,
ponds, streams, springs and lakes.
1.
Freshwater habitats
By Jessa Tan
Coastal degradation
Many beaches around the world are polluted by industrial and household waste.
Rubbish of all kinds such as plastic bags, drink cans and bottles end up on the beaches.
Many factories have been built along the coast so that they can dump their waste
straight into the ocean.

A lot of untreated sewage is piped out into the ocean and ends up on our beaches and
coast. This sewage contains poisonous chemicals such as detergents and harmful
bacteria. Sewage contaminates the water that we swim in as well as contaminating
oyster and fish farms.

Oil slicks are very damaging to the coastal environment. Oil tankers can run aground
and spill oil into the ocean. This oil ends up on the beaches where it kills marine and
bird life. These oil slicks are very difficult to clean up.

Marine degradation
The ocean's resources are not inexhaustible or indestructible. The numbers of many
species of fish are declining as they are being over-fished. Whales are no longer being
hunted as they used to be but their numbers are still low.

The ocean cannot keep absorbing all the waste that humans put into it. Rivers carry
thousands of tonnes of fertilisers and pesticides into the ocean each year. These
pollutants combine to kill fish, seaweed, mangroves and coral reefs. Storm water drains
deposit rubbish such as plastic bags and fertilisers into the ocean. Thousands of turtles,
seals and fish are choked by plastic bags each year.

Other pollutants are regularly spilled in the ocean through shipping accidents or around
oil drilling rigs. Some countries regularly dump poisonous chemicals into the ocean
because it is cheaper than burying them on land.

Causes and effects of Coastal Degradation

 Coastal tourism and Industrial development

Coastal tourism contributes significantly to local economies of the region, where it


accounts for a large and increasing proportion of foreign currency earnings. Tourism
relies heavily on the coastal zone, not just for beach sites for development, but for food
and as a leisure area for tourists.
Though an important source of income, coastal tourism often raises a number of
environmental concerns. The activities of tourists can affect the marine ecosystem
directly, through boat and anchor damage to coral reefs, and indirectly by increasing
demands for cleared land for development, collection of shells for souvenirs, seafood,
and mangrove poles and coral lime for construction. The extraction of living corals,
baked in kilns to produce lime, has also contributed to coastal habitat degradation.

 Excess amount of sediments


The many large rivers along the coast of the ecoregion carry vital nutrients and
sediments that are important to plankton, mangroves and seagrass beds. These rivers
connect the shoreline with the interior of the continent of Africa; thus, activities hundreds
of kilometres upstream can influence the coastal zone. During periods of severe floods,
the tremendous loads of sediment washed out to sea can overwhelm nearby coral reefs
that require clean waters for their existence.
 Climate change and its serious impacts
Changes to the coastlines caused by human activity have exacerbated the effects of
climate change. Sea level is rising at about 1 millimetre per year, which, under normal
circumstances, habitats can adapt to, but the loss of inshore coral reefs and coastal
mangrove forests adds to the potential damage caused by sea level rise and coastal
erosion. The result can be catastrophic. Already the loss of coastal land due to erosion
is an ever-growing concern to developers and farmers.

Causes and Effects of Marine Degradation

 Climate and seas changes

Scientists explain that when there is higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the air,
the water absorbs much of it. The water gets contaminated and the level of heat in the
water rises beyond the expectations of life. When the ocean temperatures rise; there
are other associated adverse impacts that are experienced in the aquatic environment.

 Climate change-related heat

The heat melts the icecaps and as a result, there is a resultant rise in the ocean level.
The melted ice caps and glaciers contaminate the water and this threatens the life of the
aquatic plants and animals. The increase in temperature has another aeration negative
impact. It obviously limits the concentration or the solubility of oxygen in the water.

Plants and animals will then suffocate. The changes that take place in the sea due to
climate change-related heat are also responsible for the marine habitat loss and
destruction as they may contaminate the water or even alter the water temperatures.
 Pollution

There are some human activities which are responsible for the changes in the marine
ecological conditions and such may mean alteration or destruction and loss to the
marine habitat. Such can entail water pollution, air pollution, and land pollution which
intoxicate the environment and makes the water contaminated. Thermal pollution as a
result of industrial activities also destroys marine habits. The end result is the depletion
of marine animal and plant species.

 Unsustainable fishing

It is always important that the fishing activity has the ability to support the environmental
conservation attempts. Too much aggressive fishing activity can damage the marine
habitat as it leads to the loss of many fish and aquatic species.

 Lack of protection from the governments

Where governments have failed to acknowledge the importance of conserving the


natural habitat, there is higher probability that negative impacts will be made. In the
case of marine habitats, when there are no policies regulating access to such areas,
sea plants and animals will shoulder the burden of irresponsible acts.

 Shipping Impact

In many cases, countries rely on the shipping means of transport for bulky cargo. But
the effect of the process does not always augur well with the well-being of the sea
habitat. Marine habitat is therefore destroyed by the oil spills among other associated
hazards which poison the water.

 Development of coastal places

Due to the existence of water transport, many countries develop a consequential drive
to develop their coastal regions. But in the process, less or no concentration is rendered
on the need to conserve the natural marine habitat and all that it contains.

*Effects

 Low oxygen concentration

When the marine habitat is destroyed and is at the brink of vanishing, there various
effects that would be likely. The first major impact that acts as the determinant and
influences the outcome of the others is that oxygen concentration in the water gets to
the lower level, to the extent that it can barely support aquatic life. This can be as a
result of water or air pollution which even makes the water to be contaminated. The
resultant situation of such destruction is that most plants and animals disappear through
death.

 Migration of marine animals

Some animals may be forced to migrate on sensing that there is that element of
environmental hostility. It means that the country or the people that border this particular
water body will be obviously deprived of the opportunity to freely gain from the benefits
of the aquatic plants and animals.

 Food reduction

Because there is some degree of dependence between the terrestrial and aquatic lives;
the former will be hit by the depletion of the latter. A significant example that can be
cited in this particular scenario is that humans depend on some sea fish such as
octopus, star fish, salmon and much more for food. When they are depleted, humans
will definitely suffer from that negative impact.

 Extinction of animal and plant species

Animals such as whale, shark and many others depend on other aquatic ones such as
seals for food. Extinction of one means the extinction of the others in the food chain.
The whole consequence of the marine habitat loss and destruction is that it leads to
death and migration of animals. Some plants also die and become extinct due to the
extreme ecological conditions.

 Rapid land conversion rate

Where marine habitat loss and destruction is characterized by the disappearance or the
decrease in water masses, there is quick land conversion rate. This may benefit
humans for settlement but other benefits drawn from the aquatic life will surely vanish.

 Loss of coastal natural beauty

The beauty of the coastal places is dictated by the variety of plants and animals that are
existing. This implies that when the natural habitat is encroached or even destroyed,
such species or animals and plants become extinct. The extinction takes away the
beauty of the coastal areas because its natural aspect is taken away.
 Loss of revenue to the governments

Coastal regions are major tourist attraction sites. Not only do the sandy beaches attract
people but also the picturesque view of the aquatic plants and animals play crucial
roles. Whenever such animals and plants are rendered extinct, the beauty of these
places is taken away and this implies that the countries have to contend with decrease
in tourism activities and as such, the loss in revenue.

1.1 Applications: Use and Management Support:


By: Cristal Jane Gahol

FRESHWATER HABITAT

Freshwater is defined as having a low salt concentration — usually less than 1%.
Plants and animals in freshwater regions are adjusted to the low salt content and would
not be able to survive in areas of high salt concentration (i.e., ocean). There are
different types of freshwater regions:
 Ponds and lakes
 Streams and rivers
 Wetlands

Ponds and lakes

These regions range in size from just a few square meters to thousands of
square kilometers. Scattered throughout the earth, several are remnants from the
Pleistocene glaciation. Many ponds are seasonal, lasting just a couple of months (such
as sessile pools) while lakes may exist for hundreds of years or more. Ponds and lakes
may have limited species diversity since they are often isolated from one another and
from other water sources like rivers and oceans. Lakes and ponds are divided into three
different “zones” which are usually determined by depth and distance from the
shoreline.

The topmost zone near the shore of a lake or pond is the littoral zone. This zone
is the warmest since it is shallow and can absorb more of the Sun's heat. It sustains a
fairly diverse community, which can include several species of algae (like diatoms),
rooted and floating aquatic plants, grazing snails, clams, insects, crustaceans, fishes,
and amphibians. In the case of the insects, such as dragonflies and midges, only the
egg and larvae stages are found in this zone. The vegetation and animals living in the
littoral zone are food for other creatures such as turtles, snakes, and ducks.

The near-surface open water surrounded by the littoral zone is the limnetic zone.
The limnetic zone is well-lighted (like the littoral zone) and is dominated by plankton,
both phytoplankton and zooplankton. Plankton are small organisms that play a crucial
role in the food chain. Without aquatic plankton, there would be few living organisms in
the world, and certainly no humans. A variety of freshwater fish also occupy this zone.

Plankton has short life spans — when they die, they fall into the deep-water part
of the lake/pond, the profundal zone. This zone is much colder and denser than the
other two. Little light penetrates all the way through the limnetic zone into the profundal
zone. The fauna are heterotrophs, meaning that they eat dead organisms and use
oxygen for cellular respiration.

Temperature varies in ponds and lakes seasonally. During the summer, the
temperature can range from 4° C near the bottom to 22° C at the top. During the winter,
the temperature at the bottom can be 4° C while the top is 0° C (ice). In between the two
layers, there is a narrow zone called the thermocline where the temperature of the water
changes rapidly. During the spring and fall seasons, there is a mixing of the top and
bottom layers, usually due to winds, which results in a uniform water temperature of
around 4° C. This mixing also circulates oxygen throughout the lake. Of course there
are many lakes and ponds that do not freeze during the winter, thus the top layer would
be a little warmer.

Streams and rivers

These are bodies of flowing water moving in one direction. Streams and rivers
can be found everywhere — they get their starts at headwaters, which may be springs,
snowmelt or even lakes, and then travel all the way to their mouths, usually another
water channel or the ocean. The characteristics of a river or stream change during the
journey from the source to the mouth. The temperature is cooler at the source than it is
at the mouth. The water is also clearer, has higher oxygen levels, and freshwater fish
such as trout and heterotrophs can be found there. Towards the middle part of the
stream/river, the width increases, as does species diversity — numerous aquatic green
plants and algae can be found. Toward the mouth of the river/stream, the water
becomes murky from all the sediments that it has picked up upstream, decreasing the
amount of light that can penetrate through the water. Since there is less light, there is
less diversity of flora, and because of the lower oxygen levels, fish that require less
oxygen, such as catfish and carp, can be found.

Wetlands

Wetlands are areas of standing water that support aquatic plants. Marshes,
swamps, and bogs are all considered wetlands. Plant species adapted to the very moist
and humid conditions are called hydrophytes. These include pond lilies, cattails,
sedges, tamarack, and black spruce. Marsh flora also includes such species as cypress
and gum. Wetlands have the highest species diversity of all ecosystems. Many species
of amphibians, reptiles, birds (such as ducks and waders), and furbearers can be found
in the wetlands. Wetlands are not considered freshwater ecosystems as there are
some, such as salt marshes, that have high salt concentrations — these support
different species of animals, such as shrimp, shellfish, and various grasses.
The 3 Great Lakes in Africa are home to a surprising variety of
one type of fish. Cichlids are colourful tropical fish that are only found in Africa's Great
Lakes and in a couple of places in South America. There are an estimated nearly 3,000
different species of cichlid found in these 3 lakes alone, that vary in drastically from one
another in size, colour and shape.

Freshwater rivers are often home a wide variety of species from insects, to
amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and even mammals.

Turtles, ducks, otters, crocodiles, catfish, dragonflyand crabs can be found in


rivers all around the world, and the Amazon river is even home to the rare and pink,
freshwater dolphin. An extraordinary number of different fish species can also been
found in rivers and streams all over the world.

Freshwater lakes also support a huge variety of wildlife


from birds and insects that can spend their entire lives in the same place, to
larger birds and mammals that appear there momentarily to have a drink or find
something to eat. Fish species can often be specially adapted to life in each lake and
numerous amphibians can often be found amongst them. Large herbivores such
as deer, zebras and giraffe can be found coming to lakes to drink along with primates
such as apes and monkeys.

Freshwater habitats (particularly rivers) can be drastically affected


by human activity. Chemicals used in foods and medicines can contaminate the water
along with waste water containing pesticides from agriculture. These water changes
affect many species that inhabit the water from the plants and fish to the predators that
eat them.

Freshwater in the Philippines

The largest lake in the Philippines, Laguna de Bay, is shallow and close to sea
level and was probably part of the ocean a long time ago. The second largest, Lake
Lanao, is 2,296 feet (700 m) high in the mountains, and several rivers feed its deep
basin, which supports a very productive fishery, as well as a unique group of fish found
only here. The streams and lakes of the Philippines freshwater ecoregion support high
numbers of endemic species, particularly fish.

The seven thousand islands with more than 21,000 miles of shoreline, numerous
rivers, swamps, and unique mountain lakes - harbour fish and freshwater crab species
that evolved over thousands of years from marine ancestors to fill new habitats and
conditions over time. For example, the Taal herring, found in Taal Lake, is a sardine that
has adapted to live in a freshwater environment.

Local Species
This ecoregion was home to 30 endemic fish species, including a radiation of 18
endemic cyprinid species in Lake Lanao - all thought to have evolved from the spotted
barb.

The vast majority of the fish species that inhabit the fresh waters of the
Philippines (234 out of a total of 330) return to the sea to spawn. Endemic species such
as Puntius lindug, P. baoulan, and P. tumba have been driven to the brink of extinction
by introduced species.

This ecoregion also supports disjunct populations of the highly endangered


Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis) along with 41 endemic freshwater crab
species.

This ecoregion is also home to 41 freshwater crab species, all of which evolved
here and are found only here.

The Philippine crocodile is a relatively small species - males generally do not


grow larger than 3 metres, with females being smaller. Has a relatively broad snout for a
crocodile, and heavy dorsal armour. Mainly restricted to freshwater areas - e.g. small
lakes and ponds, small riverine tributaries and marshes.

The diet is mainly aquatic invertebrates and small vertebrates. This species
constructs a relatively small (around 1.5 m wide x 0.5 m tall) mound nest, into which the
female deposits between 7 and 20 eggs. Incubation time is approximately 85 days. The
female exhibits parental care.

1.2 Application: Water Pollution and Treatment


By: Krishna Louise L. Labor

Freshwater Habitats
- Freshwater habitats are a subset of Earth's aquatic ecosystems. They
include lakes and ponds, rivers, streams, springs, and wetlands. They can be
contrasted with marine ecosystems, which have a larger salt content.
Freshwater habitats can be classified by different factors, including
temperature, light penetration, and vegetation.

Water Pollution
- Water Pollution is the contamination of water bodies such as lakes, rivers,
oceans, aquifers and groundwater. This form of environmental
degradation occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly discharged into
water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds.
Water Treatment
- Water treatment is any process that makes water more acceptable for a
specific end-use. The end use may be drinking, industrial water supply,
irrigation, river flow maintenance, water recreation or many other uses,
including being safely returned to the environment. Water treatment
removes contaminants and undesirable components, or reduces their
concentration so that the water becomes fit for its desired end-use.

What causes Water Pollution?

Water pollution may be caused by any hazardous substance or material that makes
contact with the earth’s water supply.

This may include oil from oil tankers and oil refineries, garbage from construction sites,
city streets and residential lawns, improper disposal of hazardous materials from
garbage disposal companies, chemical spills and improper chemical disposal, sewage
leaks and agricultural runoffs just to name a few.

Water pollution is generally caused by human actives but may also be caused by
natural resources.

When water is polluted it is usually defined as either being polluted from point sources
or non-point sources.

Point source pollution occurs from a specific location by a single source such as a large
factory, oil refinery or hauling ship that contributed a massive amount of pollution within
a single area. This large scale pollution can then be spread across large bodies of water
affecting many miles of water, agricultural land, animal habitats and oceanic
ecosystems.

Non-point source pollution can occur from many different areas that all contribute to a
body of water. This can occur from large neighborhoods with poor residential lawn
quality from sewage leaks and other types of contaminants, city streets where garbage
and chemicals are not disposed of properly and large agricultural areas that use harmful
chemicals which runoff into a body of water and contribute to other sources of water
pollution.

Water Pollution, Animals and Its Habitat

Water pollution also plays a big factor in the survival of animals, plant life and various
ecological factors.
Animals and plants may be even more affected by water pollution than humans and
land dwelling animals, especially those that live in and around the ocean such
as fish and marine mammals like whales.

Water pollution may either affect the animal directly such as in the case of fish that rely
on clean water to pull oxygen from and indirectly by affecting algae growth which limits
the amount of sunlight that can penetrate the water.

In the case of whales and other marine mammals they may either be affected through
cuts or wounds that allow the poisonous water to enter their flesh and blood stream or
through the prey they consume such as fish.

Fish, marine birds and other oceanic animals that have been affected by pollution have
been known to become sick, diseased and in some cases born with deformities.

Furthermore once these animals are poisoned they are no longer safe for human or
animal consumption.

Species that consume poisoned food may be affected by the same factors as the
poisoned fish/prey they consume.

In regards to plant life algae and other organisms may experience overgrowth or
abnormalities that can affect the suns ability to shine through the water further
preventing the water from being clean and minimize ability of fish and other gill bearing
animals to extract clean oxygen from the water.

Examples of Polluted Rivers in the Philippines and International

1. Trece Martires City, Cavite - Initial findings showed that


human waste, toxic waste, and lack of water oxygen as
the causes of the “fish kills” in the municipality. Some
factories and residential houses along the river, among
others, were suspected to be main sources of pollutants.

2. Pasig River - The Pasig river is a 27 km long river in the


Philippines which passes from west of Laguna de Bay
and moves downstream to the east of Manila Bay. This
river was so much polluted that it was called biologically
dead. The household, sewage and industrial waste were
the main reasons behind the contamination of this river.

International

Woburn Massachusetts Water Contamination - Industrial


solvent is the reason causing the water pollution of the
river in Woburn Massachusetts. Since 1969 to 1979, there were 12 incidence of
childhood leukemia happening in this area. Other than the leukemia, the
residents show high risks of getting liver, kidney, prostate and urinary cancer. The
risks of congenital abnormalities and birth defects were also pretty high during
that period. The high chemical content has found in the Woburn water
contamination, which are PCE and TCE. They are the major cause of the
diseases above.

1. Yamuna India - The river “Yamuna India”, which takes over 70% of sources of
New Delhi’s water supply, is a perfect example of a polluted river. The water
contamination of this Indian river is horrible. Death,
disease, cancer, organ damage appears in people’s life
because of the river. Not only the pesticides cause the
pollution of river, the heavy metals, such as copper, lead,
zinc and nickel are also the causes. Even though the
filter and filtering techniques are used by people right
now, but they cannot solve the water pollution radically.

What are the Treatments for Water Pollution?

If the water is considered contaminated it will need to go through a filtration and removal
process before it can become sustainable for numerous animal species that inhibit that
body of water.

Sadly the issue of water pollution is even more severe in third world countries where
there is no way to properly dispose of poisonous chemicals/materials and polluted water
cannot easily be cleaned or treated.

Finding a way to develop cheap filtration systems and better waste disposal
management systems is going to be a vital step towards improving the health of our
drinking water and the bodies of water that surround us.

In order for countries to keep their water clean and uncontaminated there are a number
of factors that can be implemented to insure that the water on our earth remains clean
and if contaminated can be filtered so that the poisonous materials can be removed.

For beginners factories, construction sites, chemical waste facilities and other large
buildings that create large amounts of pollution should make sure that their waste is
being disposed of properly.
Proper disposal/containment of toxic chemicals/materials before they have an
opportunity to reach our oceans and lakes would go a long way towards improving the
current condition of our water.

Second, by implementing renewable energy sources to run these large operations


companies can obtain their energy from eco-friendly sources that do not harm or pollute
the atmosphere.

For example solar energy, wind turbines and hydro power are all pollution free methods
of obtaining power from the earth’s natural resources without harming the earths
existing natural resources to obtain this energy.

Third, eco-friendly chemicals should be used to replace toxic cleaning chemicals,


sprays and other supplies.

These chemicals are extremely helpful as they do not contaminate the water they come
into contact with so if they go down a drain pipe or sewage drain there is little or at least
less negative consequence.

With that said even eco-friendly chemicals should be disposed of properly and with
caution.

Fourth, toxic fumes created from industrial zones should be filtered, rerouted and
cleaned before making their way to the atmosphere.

In fact the use of renewable energy sources can help eliminate the creation of toxic
fumes and provide better airflow.

Toxic fumes may also contribute to water pollution as they can be carried to different
areas by the wind and heavy rainfall can help spread the toxic debris into various water
systems.

Fifth, companies that develop products and goods should focus on developing materials
that are eco-friendly and recyclable.

The more recyclable components present in the products they sell the better it is for the
environment and by allowing people to reship or resell the old materials companies can
save money by reusing the parts that they obtain.

Sixth, reduce, recycle & reuse. Companies can find better ways to reduce the amount of
materials they use to create their products, recycle left over materials and reuse or re-
purpose materials that may not work with their existing products.

These are just some of the steps companies and organizations that produce toxic waste
and pollutants can take to reduce the amount of pollution that hits our waters.
How can you help?
1. Reduce the amount of power you use and purchase energy saving light bulbs
and appliances. This helps reduce the amount of emissions being released by
utility companies and your own home products.
2. Conserve your water usage and don’t leave water running when you are not
using it
3. Reduce, recycle & reuse materials that you have purchased. Plastics and papers
may be sent to the recycling bin while some of your glass materials may be able
to be reused or re-purposed
4. Purchase local food that has been grown from healthy agricultural farms that
don’t use polluting fertilizers and pesticides
5. Use a reusable grocery bag rather than the plastic bags offered at grocery stores
when shopping for food to minimize your plastic waste
6. Eliminate unnecessary mail and have your bills sent to you by email. This helps
protect the trees and reduce the amount of paper you have to dispose of later
7. Properly dispose of toxic chemicals rather than dropping them down the drain.
You can do an online search for local toxic chemical disposal areas near you

As you can see there are a lot of things you can do to help reduce the amount of
pollution you produce.

10 Thought provoking facts about water pollution

1. Over half a billion people live in areas where they consume and rely on polluted
water for their survival.
2. Large ships such as transportation vessels and cruise ships are the large
contributors to the current condition of water pollution.
3. Many of today’s fertilizers and pesticides carry toxic chemicals that can spill into
the ocean, sewage drains, lakes and rivers harming marine life and the animals
that drink the water.
4. Only 3% of the world’s water is considered freshwater.
5. Locations such as Bangladesh, India and China are suffering from high levels of
water pollution with limited options for disposing of toxic chemicals/materials
which threaten the lives of the people living in these areas.
6. The majority of freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, ice and glaciers.
7. Poorly contained toxic materials such as garbage, fertilizer and poisonous
chemicals can be picked up by the rain or running water and make its way into
local rivers, lakes and the ocean without being treated or filtered.
8. The same chemicals used to keep our homes clean and maintain our
automobiles are highly toxic and can find its way into our water systems of not
disposed of properly.
9. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 marine mammals are killed every year by
pollution.
10. In areas that are highly polluted the opportunities of getting lung cancer, heart
disease and other life threatening ailments is significantly higher.

2. Marine Ecosystem:
By: Erika Fae Tanasas

Marine ecosystem, complex of living organisms in the ocean environment.


Marine waters cover two-thirds of the surface of the Earth. In some places the ocean is
deeper than Mount Everest is high; for example, the Mariana Trench and the Tonga
Trench in the western part of the Pacific Ocean reach depths in excess of 10,000
metres (32,800 feet). Within this ocean habitatlive a wide variety of organisms that have
evolved in response to various features of their environs.

Origins Of Marine Life:

The Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago. As it cooled, water in
the atmospherecondensed and the Earth was pummeled with torrential rains, which
filled its great basins, forming seas. The primeval atmosphere and waters harboured the
inorganic components hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water. These substances are
thought to have combined to form the first organic compounds when sparked by
electrical discharges of lightning. Some of the earliest known organisms are
cyanobacteria (formerly referred to as blue-green algae). Evidence of these early
photosynthetic prokaryotes has been found in Australia in Precambrian marine
sediments called stromatolites that are approximately 3 billion years old. Although
the diversity of life-forms observed in modern oceans did not appear until much later,
during the Precambrian (about 4.6 billion to 542 million years ago) many kinds
of bacteria, algae, protozoa, and primitive metazoa evolved to exploit the early marine
habitats of the world. During the Cambrian Period (about 542 million to 488 million years
ago) a major radiation of life occurred in the oceans. Fossils of familiar organisms such
as cnidaria (e.g., jellyfish), echinoderms (e.g., feather stars), precursors of
the fishes (e.g., the protochordate Pikaia from the Burgess Shale of Canada), and
other vertebrates are found in marine sediments of this age. The first fossil fishes are
found in sediments from the Ordovician Period (about 488 million to 444 million years
ago). Changes in the physical conditions of the ocean that are thought to have occurred
in the Precambrian—an increase in the concentration of oxygen in seawater and a
buildup of the ozone layer that reduced dangerous ultraviolet radiation—may
have facilitated the increase and dispersal of living things.

The Marine Environment:


The shape of the oceans and seas of the world has changed significantly
throughout the past 600 million years. According to the theory of plate tectonics,
the crust of the Earth is made up of many dynamic plates. There are two types of plates
—oceanic and continental—which float on the surface of the Earth’s mantle, diverging,
converging, or sliding against one another. When two plates diverge, magma from the
mantle wells up and cools, forming new crust; when convergence occurs, one plate
descends—i.e., is subducted—below the other and crust is resorbed into the mantle.
Examples of both processes are observed in the marine environment. Oceanic crust is
created along oceanic ridges or rift areas, which are vast undersea mountain ranges
such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Excess crust is reabsorbed along subduction zones,
which usually are marked by deep-sea trenches such as the Kuril Trench off the coast
of Japan.
The shape of the ocean also is altered as sea levels change. During ice ages a higher
proportion of the waters of the Earth is bound in the polar ice caps, resulting in a
relatively low sea level. When the polar ice caps melt during interglacial periods, the sea
level rises. These changes in sea level cause great changes in the distribution of
marine environments such as coral reefs. For example, during the last Pleistocene Ice
Age the Great Barrier Reef did not exist as it does today; the continental shelfon which
the reef now is found was above the high-tide mark.

Marine organisms are not distributed evenly throughout the oceans. Variations in
characteristics of the marine environment create different habitats and influence what
types of organisms will
inhabit them. The
availability of light, water
depth, proximity to
land, and topographic
complexity all affect
marine habitats.
Zonation of the ocean. Note that in the littoral zone the water is at the high-tide mark.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The availability of light affects which organisms can inhabit a certain area of a
marine ecosystem. The greater the depth of the water, the less light can penetrate until
below a certain depth there is no light whatsoever. This area of inky darkness, which
occupies the great bulk of the ocean, is called the aphotic zone. The illuminated region
above it is called the photic zone, within which are distinguished the euphotic
and disphotic zones. The euphotic zone is the layer closer to the surface that receives
enough light for photosynthesis to occur. Beneath lies the disphotic zone, which is
illuminated but so poorly that rates of respiration exceed those of photosynthesis. The
actual depth of these zones depends on local conditions of cloud cover, water turbidity,
and ocean surface. In general, the euphotic zone can extend to depths of 80 to 100
metres and the disphotic zone to depths of 80 to 700 metres. Marine organisms are
particularly abundant in the photic zone, especially the euphotic portion; however, many
organisms inhabit the aphotic zone and migrate vertically to the photic zone every night.
Other organisms, such as the tripod fish and some species of sea cucumbers and brittle
stars, remain in darkness all their lives.

Marine environments can be characterized broadly as a water, or pelagic,


environment and a bottom, or benthic, environment. Within the pelagic environment the
waters are divided into the neritic province, which includes the water above the
continental shelf, and the oceanic province, which includes all the open waters beyond
the continental shelf. The high nutrient levels of the neritic province—resulting from
dissolved materials in riverine runoff—distinguish this province from the oceanic. The
upper portion of both the neritic and oceanic waters—the epipelagic zone—is where
photosynthesis occurs; it is roughly equivalent to the photic zone. Below this zone lie
the mesopelagic, ranging between 200 and 1,000 metres, the bathypelagic, from 1,000
to 4,000 metres, and the abyssalpelagic, which encompasses the deepest parts of the
oceans from 4,000 metres to the recesses of the deep-sea trenches.

The benthic environment also is divided into different zones. The supralittoral is
above the high-tide mark and is usually not under water. The intertidal, or littoral,
zone ranges from the high-tide mark (the maximum elevation of the tide) to the shallow,
offshore waters. The sublittoral is the environment beyond the low-tide mark and is often
used to refer to substrata of the continental shelf, which reaches depths of between 150
and 300 metres. Sediments of the continental shelf that influence marine organisms
generally originate from the land, particularly in the form of riverine runoff, and include
clay, silt, and sand. Beyond the continental shelf is the bathyal zone, which occurs at
depths of 150 to 4,000 metres and includes the descending continental slope and rise.
The abyssal zone (between 4,000 and 6,000 metres) represents a substantial portion of
the oceans. The deepest region of the oceans (greater than 6,000 metres) is the hadal
zone of the deep-sea trenches. Sediments of the deep sea primarily originate from a
rain of dead marine organisms and their wastes.

 Physical and chemical properties of seawater:


The physical and chemical properties of seawater vary according to latitude,
depth, nearness to land, and input of fresh water. Approximately 3.5 percent of seawater
is composed of dissolved compounds, while the other 96.5 percent is pure water. The
chemical composition of seawater reflects such processes as erosion of rock and
sediments, volcanic activity, gas exchange with the atmosphere, the metabolic and
breakdown products of organisms, and rain. (For a list of the principal constituents of
seawater, see seawater: Dissolved inorganic substances.) In addition to carbon, the
nutrients essential for living organisms include nitrogen and phosphorus, which are
minor constituents of seawater and thus are often limiting factors in organic cycles of
the ocean. Concentrations of phosphorus and nitrogen are generally low in the photic
zone because they are rapidly taken up by marine organisms. The highest
concentrations of these nutrients generally are found below 500 metres, a result of the
decay of organisms. Other important elements include silicon (used in the skeletons of
radiolarians and diatoms) and calcium (essential in the skeletons of many organisms
such as fish and corals).

The chemical composition of the atmosphere also affects that of the ocean. For
example, carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean and oxygen is released to the
atmosphere through the activities of marine plants. The dumping of pollutants into the
sea also can affect the chemical makeup of the ocean, contrary to earlier assumptions
that, for example, toxins could be safely disposed of there.

The physical and chemical properties of seawater have a great effect on


organisms, varying especially with the size of the creature. As an example, seawater
is viscous to very small animals (less than 1 millimetre [0.039 inch] long) such as ciliates
but not to large marine creatures such as tuna.

Marine organisms have evolved a wide variety of unique physiological and


morphological features that allow them to live in the sea. Notothenid fishes in Antarctica
are able to inhabit waters as cold as −2° C (28° F) because of proteins in their blood
that act as antifreeze. Many organisms are able to achieve neutral buoyancy by
secreting gas into internal chambers, as cephalopods do, or into swim bladders, as
some fish do; other organisms use lipids, which are less dense than water, to achieve
this effect. Some animals, especially those in the aphotic zone, generate light to attract
prey. Animals in the disphotic zone such as hatchetfish produce light by means of
organs called photophores to break up the silhouette of their bodies and avoid visual
detection by predators. Many marine animals can detect vibrations or sound in the
water over great distances by means of specialized organs. Certain fishes have lateral
line systems, which they use to detect prey, and whales have a sound-producing organ
called a melon with which they communicate. Tolerance to differences in salinityvaries
greatly: stenohaline organisms have a low tolerance to salinity changes,
whereas euryhaline organisms, which are found in areas where river and sea meet
(estuaries), are very tolerant of large changes in salinity. Euryhaline organisms are also
very tolerant of changes in temperature. Animals that migrate between fresh water and
salt water, such as salmon or eels, are capable of controlling their osmotic environment
by active pumping or the retention of salts (see biosphere: Salinity). Body architecture
varies greatly in marine waters. The body shape of the cnidarian by-the-wind-sailor
(Velella velella)—an animal that lives on the surface of the water (pleuston) and sails
with the assistance of a modified flotation chamber—contrasts sharply with the sleek,
elongated shape of the barracuda.

 Ocean currents:
The movements of ocean waters are influenced by numerous factors, including
the rotation of the Earth (which is responsible for the Coriolis effect), atmospheric
circulation patterns that influence surface waters, and temperature and salinity gradients
between the tropics and the polar regions (thermohaline circulation). For a detailed
discussion of ocean circulation, see ocean current. The resultant patterns of
circulation range from those that cover great areas, such as the North Subtropical Gyre,
which follows a path thousands of kilometres long, to small-scale turbulences of less
than one metre.

Marine organisms of all sizes are influenced by these patterns, which can
determine the range of a species. For example, krill (Euphausia superba) are restricted
to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Distribution patterns of both large and small
pelagic organisms are affected as well. Mainstream currents such as the Gulf
Stream and East Australian Current transport larvae great distances. As a result cold
temperate coral reefs receive a tropical infusion when fish and invertebrate larvae from
the tropics are relocated to high latitudes by these currents. The successful recruitment
of eels to Europe depends on the strength of the Gulf Stream to transport them from
spawning sites in the Caribbean. Areas where the ocean is affected by nearshore
features, such as estuaries, or areas in which there is a vertical salinity gradient
(halocline) often exhibit intense biological activity. In these environments, small
organisms can become concentrated, providing a rich supply of food for other animals.
 Marine Biota:
Marine biota can be classified broadly into those organisms living in either
the pelagic environment(plankton and nekton) or the benthic environment (benthos).
Some organisms, however, are benthic in one stage of life and pelagic in another.
Producers that synthesize organic molecules exist in both environments. Single-celled
or multicelled plankton with photosynthetic pigments are the producers of the photic
zone in the pelagic environment. Typical benthic producers are microalgae (e.g.,
diatoms), macroalgae (e.g., the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera), or sea grass (e.g., Zostera).
Plankton

Plankton are the numerous, primarily microscopic inhabitants of the pelagic


environment. They are critical components of food chains in all marine environments
because they provide nutrition for the nekton (e.g., crustaceans, fish, and squid) and
benthos (e.g., sea squirts and sponges). They also exert a global effect on
the biosphere because the balance of components of the Earth’s atmosphere depends
to a great extent on the photosynthetic activities of some plankton.

The term plankton is derived from the Greek planktos, meaning wandering or
drifting, an apt description of the way most plankton spend their existence, floating with
the ocean’s currents. Not all plankton, however, are unable to control their movements,
and many forms depend on self-directed motions for their survival.

Plankton range in size from tiny microbes (1 micrometre [0.000039 inch] or less)
to jellyfish whose gelatinous bell can reach up to 2 metres in width and whose tentacles
can extend over 15 metres. However, most planktonic organisms, called plankters, are
less than 1 millimetre (0.039 inch) long. These microbes thrive on nutrients in seawater
and are often photosynthetic. The plankton include a wide variety of organisms such as
algae, bacteria, protozoans, the larvae of some animals, and crustaceans. A large
proportion of the plankton are protists—i.e., eukaryotic, predominantly single-celled
organisms. Plankton can be broadly divided into phytoplankton, which are plants or
plantlike protists; zooplankton, which are animals or animal-like protists; and microbes
such as bacteria. Phytoplankton carry out photosynthesis and are the producers of the
marine community; zooplankton are the heterotrophic consumers.

Diatoms and dinoflagellates (approximate range between 15 and 1,000


micrometres in length) are two highly diverse groups of photosynthetic protists that are
important components of the plankton. Diatoms are the most abundant phytoplankton.
While many dinoflagellates carry out photosynthesis, some also consume bacteria or
algae. Other important groups of protists
include flagellates, foraminiferans, radiolarians, acantharians, and ciliates. Many of
these protists are important consumers and a food source for zooplankton.
Zooplankton, which are greater than 0.05 millimetre in size, are divided into two
general categories: meroplankton, which spend only a part of their life cycle—usually
the larval or juvenile stage—as plankton, and holoplankton, which exist as plankton all
their lives. Many larval meroplankton in coastal, oceanic, and even freshwater
environments (including sea urchins, intertidal snails, and crabs, lobsters, and fish) bear
little or no resemblance to their adult forms. These larvae may exhibit features unique to
the larval stage, such as the spectacular spiny armour on the larvae of certain
crustaceans (e.g., Squilla), probably used to ward off predators.

Important holoplanktonic animals include such lobsterlike crustaceans as


the copepods, cladocerans, and euphausids (krill), which are important components of
the marine environment because they serve as food sources for fish and
marine mammals. Gelatinous forms such as larvaceans, salps, and siphonophores
graze on phytoplankton or other zooplankton. Some omnivorous zooplankton such as
euphausids and some copepods consume both phytoplankton and zooplankton; their
feeding behaviour changes according to the availability and type of prey. The grazing
and predatory activity of some zooplankton can be so intense that measurable
reductions in phytoplankton or zooplankton abundance (or biomass) occur. For
example, when jellyfish occur in high concentration in enclosed seas, they may
consume such large numbers of fish larvae as to greatly reduce fish populations.

The jellylike plankton are numerous and predatory. They secure their prey with
stinging cells (nematocysts) or sticky cells (colloblasts of comb jellies). Large numbers
of the Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia), with its conspicuous gas bladder, the by-the-
wind-sailor (Velella velella), and the small blue disk-shaped Porpita porpita are
propelled along the surface by the wind, and after strong onshore winds they may be
found strewn on the beach. Beneath the surface, comb jellies often abound, as do
siphonophores, salps, and scyphomedusae.

The pelagic environment was once thought to present few distinct habitats, in
contrast to the array of niches within the benthic environment. Because of its apparent
uniformity, the pelagic realm was understood to be distinguished simply by plankton of
different sizes. Small-scale variations in the pelagic environment, however, have been
discovered that affect biotic distributions. Living and dead matter form
organic aggregates called marine snow to which members of the
plankton communitymay adhere, producing patchiness in biotic distributions. Marine
snow includes structures such as aggregates of cells and mucus as well as drifting
macroalgae and other flotsam that range in size from 0.5 millimetre to 1 centimetre
(although these aggregates can be as small as 0.05 millimetre and as large as 100
centimetres). Many types of microbes, phytoplankton, and zooplankton stick to marine
snow, and some grazing copepods and predators will feed from the surface of these
structures. Marine snow is extremely abundant at times, particularly after plankton
blooms. Significant quantities of organic material from upper layers of the ocean may
sink to the ocean floor as marine snow, providing an important source of food for bottom
dwellers. Other structures that plankton respond to in the marine environment include
aggregates of phytoplankton cells that form large rafts in tropical and temperate waters
of the world (e.g., cells of Oscillatoria [Trichodesmium] erthraeus) and various types of
seaweed (e.g., Sargassum, Phyllospora, Macrocystis) that detach from the seafloor and
drift.

 Nekton:
Nekton are the active swimmers of the oceans and are often the best-known
organisms of marine waters. Nekton are the top predators in most marine food chains
(see Figure 1 of the community ecology article). The distinction between nekton and
plankton is not always sharp. As mentioned above, many large marine animals, such as
marlin and tuna, spend the larval stage of their lives as plankton and their adult stage as
large and active members of the nekton. Other organisms such as krill are referred to as
both micronekton and macrozooplankton.
The vast majority of nekton are vertebrates (e.g., fishes, reptiles, and
mammals), mollusks, and crustaceans. The most numerous group of nekton are the
fishes, with approximately 16,000 species. Nekton are found at all depths and latitudes
of marine waters. Whales, penguins, seals, and icefishabound in polar waters. Lantern
fish (family Myctophidae) are common in the aphotic zone along with gulpers
(Saccopharynx), whalefish (family Cetomimidae), seven-gilled sharks, and others.
Nekton diversity is greatest in tropical waters, where in particular there are large
numbers of fish species.

The largest animals on the Earth, the blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus),
which grow to 25 to 30 metres long, are members of the nekton. These huge mammals
and other baleen whales (order Mysticeti), which are distinguished by fine filtering plates
in their mouths, feed on plankton and micronekton as do whale sharks (Rhinocodon
typus), the largest fish in the world (usually 12 to 14 metres long, with some reaching 17
metres). The largest carnivores that consume large prey include the toothed
whales (order Odontoceti—for example, the killer whales, Orcinus orca), great white
sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier),
black marlin (Makaira indica), bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), and giant groupers
(Epinephelus lanceolatus). Nekton form the basis of important fisheries around the
world. Vast schools of small anchovies, herring, and sardines generally account for one-
quarter to one-third of the annual harvest from the ocean. Squid are also economically
valuable nekton. Halibut, sole, and cod are demersal (i.e., bottom-dwelling) fish that are
commercially important as food for humans. They are generally caught in continental
shelf waters. Because pelagic nekton often abound in areas of upwelling where the
waters are nutrient-rich, these regions also are major fishing areas (see
below Upwelling).

 Benthos:
Organisms are abundant in surface sediments of the continental shelf and in
deeper waters, with a great diversity found in or on sediments. In shallow waters, beds
of seagrass provide a rich habitat for polychaete worms, crustaceans (e.g., amphipods),
and fishes. On the surface of and within intertidal sediments most animal activities are
influenced strongly by the state of the tide. On many sediments in the photic zone,
however, the only photosynthetic organisms are microscopic benthic diatoms.
Benthic organisms can be classified according to size. The macrobenthos are those
organisms larger than 1 millimetre. Those that eat organic material in sediments are
called deposit feeders (e.g., holothurians, echinoids, gastropods), those that feed on the
plankton above are the suspension feeders (e.g., bivalves, ophiuroids, crinoids), and
those that consume other fauna in the benthic assemblage are predators (e.g., starfish,
gastropods). Organisms between 0.1 and 1 millimetre constitute the meiobenthos.
These larger microbes, which include foraminiferans, turbellarians, and polychaetes,
frequently dominate benthic food chains, filling the roles of nutrient recycler,
decomposer, primary producer, and predator. The microbenthos are those organisms
smaller than 1 millimetre; they include diatoms, bacteria, and ciliates.

Organic matter is decomposed aerobically by bacteria near the surface of the


sediment where oxygen is abundant. The consumption of oxygen at this level, however,
deprives deeper layers of oxygen, and marine sediments below the surface layer are
anaerobic. The thickness of the oxygenated layer varies according to grain size, which
determines how permeable the sediment is to oxygen and the amount of organic matter
it contains. As oxygen concentration diminishes, anaerobic processes come to
dominate. The transition layer between oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor layers is called
the redox discontinuity layer and appears as a gray layer above the black anaerobic
layers. Organisms have evolved various ways of coping with the lack of oxygen. Some
anaerobes release hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and other toxic reduced ions through
metabolic processes. The thiobiota, made up primarily of microorganisms, metabolize
sulfur. Most organisms that live below the redox layer, however, have to create an
aerobic environment for themselves. Burrowing animals generate a respiratory current
along their burrow systems to oxygenate their dwelling places; the influx of oxygen must
be constantly maintained because the surrounding anoxic layer quickly depletes the
burrow of oxygen. Many bivalves (e.g., Mya arenaria) extend long siphons upward into
oxygenated waters near the surface so that they can respire and feed while remaining
sheltered from predation deep in the sediment. Many large mollusks use a muscular
“foot” to dig with, and in some cases they use it to propel themselves away from
predators such as starfish. The consequent “irrigation” of burrow systems can create
oxygen and nutrient fluxes that stimulate the production of benthic producers (e.g.,
diatoms).

Not all benthic organisms live within the sediment; certain benthic assemblages
live on a rocky substrate. Various phyla of algae—Rhodophyta (red), Chlorophyta
(green), and Phaeophyta (brown)—are abundant and diverse in the photic zone on
rocky substrata and are important producers. In intertidal regions algae are most
abundant and largest near the low-tide mark. Ephemeral algae such
as Ulva, Enteromorpha, and coralline algae cover a broad range of the intertidal. The
mix of algae species found in any particular locale is dependent on latitude and also
varies greatly according to wave exposure and the activity of grazers. For
example, Ascophyllum spores cannot attach to rock in even a gentle ocean surge; as a
result this plant is largely restricted to sheltered shores. The fastest-growing plant—
adding as much as 1 metre per day to its length—is the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera,
which is found on subtidal rocky reefs. These plants, which may exceed 30 metres in
length, characterize benthic habitats on many temperate reefs. Large laminarian and
fucoid algae are also common on temperate rocky reefs, along with the encrusting
(e.g., Lithothamnion) or short tufting forms (e.g., Pterocladia). Many algae on rocky
reefs are harvested for food, fertilizer, and pharmaceuticals. Macroalgae are relatively
rare on tropical reefs where corals abound, but Sargassum and a diverse assemblage
of short filamentous and tufting algae are found, especially at the reef crest. Sessile and
slow-moving invertebrates are common on reefs. In the intertidal and subtidal regions
herbivorous gastropods and urchins abound and can have a great influence on the
distribution of algae. Barnacles are common sessile animals in the intertidal. In the
subtidal regions, sponges, ascidians, urchins, and anemones are particularly common
where light levels drop and current speeds are high. Sessile assemblages of animals
are often rich and diverse in caves and under boulders.

Reef-building coral polyps (Scleractinia) are organisms of the phylum Cnidaria


that create a calcareous substrate upon which a diverse array of organisms live.
Approximately 700 species of corals are found in the Pacific and Indian oceans and
belong to genera such as Porites, Acropora, and Montipora. Some of the world’s most
complex ecosystems are found on coral reefs. Zooxanthellae are the photosynthetic,
single-celled algae that live symbiotically within the tissue of corals and help to build the
solid calcium carbonate matrix of the reef. Reef-building corals are found only in waters
warmer than 18° C; warm temperatures are necessary, along with high light intensity,
for the coral-algae complex to secrete calcium carbonate. Many tropical islands are
composed entirely of hundreds of metres of coral built atop volcanic rock.

 Links between the pelagic environments and the benthos:


Considering the pelagic and benthic environments in isolation from each other
should be done cautiously because the two are interlinked in many ways. For example,
pelagic plankton are an important source of food for animals on soft or rocky bottoms.
Suspension feeders such as anemones and barnacles filter living and dead particles
from the surrounding water while detritusfeeders graze on the accumulation of
particulate material raining from the water column above. The molts of crustaceans,
plankton feces, dead plankton, and marine snow all contribute to this rain of fallout from
the pelagic environment to the ocean bottom. This fallout can be so intense in certain
weather patterns—such as the El Niño condition—that benthic animals on soft bottoms
are smothered and die. There also is variation in the rate of fallout of the plankton
according to seasonal cycles of production. This variation can create seasonality in the
abiotic zone where there is little or no variation in temperature or light. Plankton form
marine sediments, and many types of fossilized protistan plankton, such as
foraminiferans and coccoliths, are used to determine the age and origin of rocks.
Organisms of the deep-sea vents

Producers were discovered in the aphotic zone when exploration of the deep sea
by submarine became common in the 1970s. Deep-sea hydrothermal vents now are
known to be relatively common in areas of tectonic activity (e.g., spreading ridges). The
vents are a nonphotosynthetic source of organic carbon available to organisms. A
diversity of deep-sea organisms including mussels, large bivalve clams, and
vestimentiferan worms are supported by bacteria that oxidize sulfur (sulfide) and
derive chemical energy from the reaction. These organisms are referred to
as chemoautotrophic, or chemosynthetic, as opposed to photosynthetic, organisms.
Many of the species in the vent fauna have developed symbiotic relationships with
chemoautotrophic bacteria, and as a consequence the megafauna are principally
responsible for the primary production in the vent assemblage. The situation
is analogous to that found on coral reefs where individual coral polyps have symbiotic
relationships with zooxanthellae (see above). In addition to symbiotic bacteria there is a
rich assemblage of free-living bacteria around vents. For example, Beggiatoas-like
bacteria often form conspicuous weblike mats on any hard surface; these mats have
been shown to have chemoautotrophic metabolism. Large numbers of brachyuran
(e.g., Bythograea) and galatheid crabs, large sea anemones (e.g., Actinostola callasi),
copepods, other plankton, and some fish—especially the eelpout Thermarces cerberus
—are found in association with vents.

2. Mangroves and Coral Reefs:


By Gracia Mae Tayco

A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish


water. Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life
in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex
root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. They are adapted to the
low oxygen (anoxic) conditions of waterlogged mud.

The word is used in at least three senses: (1) most broadly to refer to the habitat
and entire plant assemblage or mangal, for which the terms mangrove forest biome,
and mangrove swamp are also used, (2) to refer to all trees and large shrubs in the
mangrove swamp, and (3) narrowly to refer to the mangrove family of plants, the
Rhizophoraceae, or even more specifically just to mangrove trees of the genus
Rhizophora.

Mangrove swamps are found in tropical and subtropical tidal areas. Areas where
mangal occurs include estuaries and marine shorelines. About 110 species are
considered "mangroves", in the sense of being a tree that grows in such a saline
swamp, though only a few are from the mangrove plant genus, Rhizophora. However, a
given mangrove swamp typically features only a small number of tree
species.Mangrove plants require a number of physiological adaptations to overcome the
problems of anoxia, high salinity and frequent tidal inundation. Each species has its own
solutions to these problems; this may be the primary reason why, on some shorelines,
mangrove tree species show distinct zonation. Small environmental variations within a
mangal may lead to greatly differing methods for coping with the environment.
Therefore, the mix of species is partly determined by the tolerances of individual
species to physical conditions, such as tidal inundation and salinity, but may also be
influenced by other factors, such as predation of plant seedlings by crabs. Once
established, mangrove roots provide an oyster habitat and slow water flow, thereby
enhancing sediment deposition in areas where it is already occurring. The fine, anoxic
sediments under mangroves act as sinks for a variety of heavy (trace) metals which
colloidal particles in the sediments have scavenged from the water. Mangrove removal
disturbs these underlying sediments, often creating problems of trace metal
contamination of seawater and biota. Mangrove swamps protect coastal areas from
erosion, storm surge (especially during hurricanes), and tsunamis. The mangroves'
massive root systems are efficient at dissipating wave energy. Likewise, they slow down
tidal water enough so its sediment is deposited as the tide comes in, leaving all except
fine particles when the tide ebbs.[10] In this way, mangroves build their own
environments.[6] Because of the uniqueness of mangrove ecosystems and the protection
against erosion they provide, they are often the object of conservation programs,
including national biodiversity action plans. Mangrove forests can decay into peat
deposits because of fungal and bacterial processes as well as by the action of termites.
It becomes peat in good geochemical, sedimentary and tectonic conditions. The nature
of these deposits depends on the environment and the types of mangrove involved. In
Puerto Rico the red (Rhizophora mangle), white (Laguncularia racemosa) and black
(Avicennia germinans) mangroves occupy different ecological niches and have slightly
different chemical compositions so the carbon content varies between the species as
well between the different tissues of the plant e.g. leaf matter vs roots. In Puerto Rico
there is a clear succession of these three trees from the lower elevations which are
dominated by red mangroves to farther inland with a higher concentration of white
mangroves. Mangrove forests are an important part of the cycling and storage of carbon
in tropical coastal ecosystems.[16] Using this it is possible to attempt to reconstruct the
environment and investigate changes to the coastal ecosystem for thousands of years
by using sediment cores.[17] However, an additional complication is the imported marine
organic matter that also gets deposited in the sediment due to tidal flushing of
mangrove forests. In order to understand peat formation by mangroves, it is important to
understand the conditions they grew in, and how they decayed. Termites are an
important part of this decay, and so an understanding of their action on the organic
matter is crucial to the chemical stabilization of mangrove peats.

THREE TYPES OF MANGROVE.

 Red Mangroves

If you have seen a mangrove with its roots sticking into the ocean water, you were
probably looking at a red mangrove or Rhizophora mangle, named for their red tinted roots.
These are the most well-known mangroves because they are the most easily seen.

At the top, red mangroves look like a typical tree with green leaves and a trunk, but
when you look further down, you will see some roots branching off the trunk that reach
into the water. These are called prop roots and and help keep the plant stable. They
also provide oxygen for the rest of the plant.

These roots have frequent branching and end up looking like a jumbled mess. This is
one of the species that is heavily monitored in the United States because those messy
roots help prevent soil erosion.
Need help remembering this type, think... 'red, red... tiny head' in reference to the shape
on the leaves!

 Black Mangroves

If you travel a little further inland, you will come across the black mangrove or Avicennia
germinans. These plants grow in very wet soil that is not heavily oxygenated which is
why their roots grow straight up into the air. These roots are called pneumatophores and
look like tiny snorkels that help with gas exchange.

 A black mangrove

Try tasting the back of a black mangrove leaf and you will notice it tastes salty and often has a
whitish tint. This is how black mangroves adapt to live in the saltwater, by releasing excess salt
onto its leaves!

To remember this type, think... 'black, black... lick the back'.

 White Mangroves
Even further inland, you will encounter the white mangrove or Laguncularia racemosa, which
looks much more like your typical tree compared to the black and red mangroves. These
mangroves like to live on more solid ground but they still get inundated with saltwater from time
to time. They usually do not have funky roots like the others, but rather typical underground
ones.

 Benefits/Uses of Mangroves

Perhaps the most important role of mangroves is that they protect vulnerable coastlines
from wave action because they hold the soil together and prevent coastal erosion.
Mangroves shield inland areas during storms and minimize damage. For example,
learning from the 2005 tsunami in Asia, there were no deaths in the areas which had
mangrove forests, compared to those areas without, which suffered massive causalities.
Ecologically speaking, mangroves are exciting systems in their own right. Mangrove
forests provide homes for several species of plants and animals.

Unsustainable Use of Mangroves:

1. The Black Mangrove is used for fishing poles, charcoal, and in the production of
honey, as the mango blossoms give the honey a unique flavour. Because the
wood gives off an intense heat, it is especially prized for burning clay from which
bricks are produced and used in road building.
2. The Red Mangrove is also used for fuel wood but its most common and
important use is in the leather industry as its bark is peeled and tannin is
extracted, which is used as a dye. Presently, there are synthetic alternatives
being used in countries such as Brazil , in order to preserve their mangroves
which are an important part of their own sea defence. In Guyana , the Guyana
Forestry Commission will develop a harvest management plan to ensure this
species is conserved and used in a sustainable manner.
3. The main use of the White Mangrove is for fishing poles, tool handles and as
wood for fences

 Coral reefs

are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures


secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine
water that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in
turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals
known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea
anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the
coral polyps. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water.

Coral reefs begin to form when free-swimming coral larvae attach to submerged rocks
or other hard surfaces along the edges of islands or continents. As the corals grow and
expand, reefs take on one of three major characteristic structures —fringing, barrier or
attol

THE THREE MAIN TYPES OF CORAL REEFS

A fringing reef is one of the three main types of coral reefs recognized by most
coral reef. fringing reefs may grow hundreds of yards from shore and contain extensive
backreef areas with numerous seagrass meadows and patch reefs.

This type of coral reef is the most common type of reef found in the Caribbean
and Red Sea. Darwin believed that fringing reefs are the first kind of reefs to form
around a landmass in a long-term reef growth process.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900
individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an
area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in
the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single
structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by
billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and
was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labelled it one of the seven natural
wonders of the world. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of
Queensland.

A March 2016 report stated that coral bleaching was more widespread than previously
thought, seriously affecting the northern parts of the reef as a result of warming ocean
temperatures.[14] In October 2016, Outside published an obituary for the reef;[15] the
article was criticized for being premature and hindering efforts to bolster the resilience of
the reef.[16] In March 2017, the journal Nature published a paper showing that huge
sections of a 800-kilometre (500 mi) stretch in the northern part of the reef had died in
the course of 2016 due to high water temperatures, an event that the authors put down
to the effects of global climate change.[17]

 Atoll

An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. An atoll surrounds a body
of water called a lagoon. Sometimes, atolls and lagoons protect a central island.
Channels between islets connect a lagoon to the open ocean or sea.

Atolls develop with underwater volcanoes, called seamounts. First, the volcano erupts,
piling up lava on the seafloor. As the volcano continues to erupt, the seamount's
elevation grows higher, eventually breaking the surface of the water. The top of the
volcano becomes an oceanic island.

In the next stage, tiny sea animals called corals begin to build a reef around the island.
The type of corals that build reefs are called hermatypic corals, or hard corals.
Hermatypic corals create a hard exoskeleton of limestone (calcium carbonate). Billions
of these limestone exoskeletons are the reef.

3.1 Coastal and


Marine Degradation: Its Effect to Productivity and Food Supply:
By: Micaela Regular

 Coastal degradation
Many beaches around the world are polluted by industrial and household waste.
Rubbish of all kinds such as plastic bags, drink cans and bottles end up on the beaches.
Many factories have been built along the coast so that they can dump their waste
straight into the ocean.

A lot of untreated sewage is piped out into the ocean and ends up on our beaches
and coast. This sewage contains poisonous chemicals such as detergents and harmful
bacteria. Sewage contaminates the water that we swim in as well as contaminating
oyster and fish farms.

Oil slicks are very damaging to the coastal environment. Oil tankers can run aground
and spill oil into the ocean. This oil ends up on the beaches where it kills marine and
bird life. These oil slicks are very difficult to clean up.

 Marine degradation
The ocean's resources are not inexhaustible or indestructible. The numbers of many
species of fish are declining as they are being over-fished. Whales are no longer being
hunted as they used to be but their numbers are still low.

The ocean cannot keep absorbing all the waste that humans put into it. Rivers carry
thousands of tonnes of fertilisers and pesticides into the ocean each year. These
pollutants combine to kill fish, seaweed, mangroves and coral reefs. Storm water drains
deposit rubbish such as plastic bags and fertilisers into the ocean. Thousands of turtles,
seals and fish are choked by plastic bags each year.
Other pollutants are regularly spilled in the ocean through shipping accidents or
around oil drilling rigs. Some countries regularly dump poisonous chemicals into the
ocean because it is cheaper than burying them on land.

CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF COASTAL DEGRADATION

 Coastal tourism and Industrial development

Coastal tourism contributes significantly to local economies of the region, where it


accounts for a large and increasing proportion of foreign currency earnings. Tourism
relies heavily on the coastal zone, not just for beach sites for development, but for food
and as a leisure area for tourists.
Though an important source of income, coastal tourism often raises a number of
environmental concerns. The activities of tourists can affect the marine ecosystem
directly, through boat and anchor damage to coral reefs, and indirectly by increasing
demands for cleared land for development, collection of shells for souvenirs, seafood,
and mangrove poles and coral lime for construction. The extraction of living corals,
baked in kilns to produce lime, has also contributed to coastal habitat degradation.

 Excess amount of sediments


The many large rivers along the coast of the ecoregion carry vital nutrients and
sediments that are important to plankton, mangroves and seagrass beds. These rivers
connect the shoreline with the interior of the continent of Africa; thus, activities hundreds
of kilometres upstream can influence the coastal zone. During periods of severe floods,
the tremendous loads of sediment washed out to sea can overwhelm nearby coral reefs
that require clean waters for their existence.
 Climate change and its serious impacts
Changes to the coastlines caused by human activity have exacerbated the effects of
climate change. Sea level is rising at about 1 millimetre per year, which, under normal
circumstances, habitats can adapt to, but the loss of inshore coral reefs and coastal
mangrove forests adds to the potential damage caused by sea level rise and coastal
erosion. The result can be catastrophic. Already the loss of coastal land due to erosion
is an ever-growing concern to developers and farmers.

CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF MARINE DEGRADATION

 Climate and seas changes

Scientists explain that when there is higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the air,
the water absorbs much of it. The water gets contaminated and the level of heat in the
water rises beyond the expectations of life. When the ocean temperatures rise; there
are other associated adverse impacts that are experienced in the aquatic environment.
 Climate change-related heat

The heat melts the icecaps and as a result, there is a resultant rise in the ocean level.
The melted ice caps and glaciers contaminate the water and this threatens the life of the
aquatic plants and animals. The increase in temperature has another aeration negative
impact. It obviously limits the concentration or the solubility of oxygen in the water.

Plants and animals will then suffocate. The changes that take place in the sea due to
climate change-related heat are also responsible for the marine habitat loss and
destruction as they may contaminate the water or even alter the water temperatures.

 Pollution

There are some human activities which are responsible for the changes in the marine
ecological conditions and such may mean alteration or destruction and loss to the
marine habitat. Such can entail water pollution, air pollution, and land pollution which
intoxicate the environment and makes the water contaminated. Thermal pollution as a
result of industrial activities also destroys marine habits. The end result is the depletion
of marine animal and plant species.

 Unsustainable fishing

It is always important that the fishing activity has the ability to support the environmental
conservation attempts. Too much aggressive fishing activity can damage the marine
habitat as it leads to the loss of many fish and aquatic species.

 Lack of protection from the governments

Where governments have failed to acknowledge the importance of conserving the


natural habitat, there is higher probability that negative impacts will be made. In the
case of marine habitats, when there are no policies regulating access to such areas,
sea plants and animals will shoulder the burden of irresponsible acts.

 Shipping Impact

In many cases, countries rely on the shipping means of transport for bulky cargo. But
the effect of the process does not always augur well with the well-being of the sea
habitat. Marine habitat is therefore destroyed by the oil spills among other associated
hazards which poison the water.

 Development of coastal places


Due to the existence of water transport, many countries develop a consequential drive
to develop their coastal regions. But in the process, less or no concentration is rendered
on the need to conserve the natural marine habitat and all that it contains.

EFFECTS

 Low oxygen concentration

When the marine habitat is destroyed and is at the brink of vanishing, there various
effects that would be likely. The first major impact that acts as the determinant and
influences the outcome of the others is that oxygen concentration in the water gets to
the lower level, to the extent that it can barely support aquatic life. This can be as a
result of water or air pollution which even makes the water to be contaminated. The
resultant situation of such destruction is that most plants and animals disappear through
death.

 Migration of marine animals

Some animals may be forced to migrate on sensing that there is that element of
environmental hostility. It means that the country or the people that border this particular
water body will be obviously deprived of the opportunity to freely gain from the benefits
of the aquatic plants and animals.

 Food reduction

Because there is some degree of dependence between the terrestrial and aquatic lives;
the former will be hit by the depletion of the latter. A significant example that can be
cited in this particular scenario is that humans depend on some sea fish such as
octopus, star fish, salmon and much more for food. When they are depleted, humans
will definitely suffer from that negative impact.

 Extinction of animal and plant species

Animals such as whale, shark and many others depend on other aquatic ones such as
seals for food. Extinction of one means the extinction of the others in the food chain.
The whole consequence of the marine habitat loss and destruction is that it leads to
death and migration of animals. Some plants also die and become extinct due to the
extreme ecological conditions.

 Rapid land conversion rate


Where marine habitat loss and destruction is characterized by the disappearance or the
decrease in water masses, there is quick land conversion rate. This may benefit
humans for settlement but other benefits drawn from the aquatic life will surely vanish.

 Loss of coastal natural beauty

The beauty of the coastal places is dictated by the variety of plants and animals that
exist. This implies that when the natural habitat is encroached or even destroyed, such
species or animals and plants become extinct. The extinction takes away the beauty of
the coastal areas because its natural aspect is taken away.

 Loss of revenue to the governments

Coastal regions are major tourist attraction sites. Not only do the sandy beaches attract
people but also the picturesque view of the aquatic plants and animals play crucial
roles. Whenever such animals and plants are rendered extinct, the beauty of these
places is taken away and this implies that the countries have to contend with decrease
in tourism activities and as such, the loss in revenue.

3.2 Eutrophication and Its Effect to Marine and Freshwater


Productivity:

By: Eloisa Santos

 Eutrophication (Greek: eutrophia (from eu "well"


+ trephein "nourish".); German: Eutrophie), or more precisely hypertrophication,
is the enrichment of a water body with nutrients, usually with an excess amount
of nutrients. This process induces growth of plants and algae and due to the
biomass load, may result in oxygen depletion of the water body. [1] One example is
the "bloom" or great increase of phytoplanktonin a water body as a response to
increased levels of nutrients. Eutrophication is almost always induced by the
discharge of phosphate-containing detergents, fertilizers, or sewage, into an
aquatic system.

EFFECT TO MARINE AND FRESHWATER PRODUCTIVITY:

 Mechanism of eutrophication:
Eutrophication arises from the oversupply of nutrients, which leads to overgrowth of
plants and algae. After such organisms die, the bacterial degradation of their biomass
consumes the oxygen in the water, thereby creating the state of hypoxia.
According to Ullmann's Encyclopedia, "the primary limiting factor for eutrophication
is phosphate." The availability of phosphorus generally promotes excessive plant growth
and decay, favouring simple algae and plankton over other more complicated plants,
and causes a severe reduction in water quality. Phosphorus is a necessary nutrient for
plants to live, and is the limiting factor for plant growth in many freshwater ecosystems.
Phosphate adheres tightly to soil, so it is mainly transported by erosion. Once
translocated to lakes, the extraction of phosphate into water is slow, hence the difficulty
of reversing the effects of eutrophication. The sources of these excess phosphates
are phosphates in detergent, industrial/domestic run-offs, and fertilizers. With the
phasing out of phosphate-containing detergents in the 1970s, industrial/domestic run-off
and agriculture have emerged as the dominant contributors to eutrophication.
 Ecological effects:
Eutrophication was recognized as a water pollution problem in European and North
American lakes and reservoirs in the mid-20th century. [18] Since then, it has become
more widespread. Surveys showed that 54% of lakes in Asia are eutrophic; in Europe,
53%; in North America, 48%; in South America, 41%; and in Africa, 28%.[19] In South
Africa, a study by the CSIR using remote sensing has shown more than 60% of the
dams surveyed were eutrophic.[20] Some South African scientists believe that this figure
might be higher [21] with the main source being dysfunctional sewage works that produce
more than 4 billion liters a day of untreated, or at best partially treated, sewage effluent
that discharges into rivers and dams.[22]
Many ecological effects can arise from stimulating primary production, but there are
three particularly troubling ecological impacts: decreased biodiversity, changes in
species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects.
In order to gauge how to best prevent eutrophication from occurring, specific
sources that contribute to nutrient loading must be identified. There are two common
sources of nutrients and organic matter: point and nonpoint sources.

 Decreased biodiversity:
When an ecosystem experiences an increase in nutrients, primary producers reap the
benefits first. In aquatic ecosystems, species such as algae experience a population
increase (called an algal bloom). Algal blooms limit the sunlight available to bottom-
dwelling organisms and cause wide swings in the amount of dissolved oxygen in the
water. Oxygen is required by all aerobically respiring plants and animals and it is
replenished in daylight by photosynthesizing plants and algae. Under eutrophic
conditions, dissolved oxygen greatly increases during the day, but is greatly reduced
after dark by the respiring algae and by microorganisms that feed on the increasing
mass of dead algae. When dissolved oxygen levels decline to hypoxic levels, fish and
other marine animals suffocate. As a result, creatures such as fish, shrimp, and
especially immobile bottom dwellers die off In extreme cases, anaerobic conditions
ensue, promoting growth of bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum that
produces toxins deadly to birds and mammals. Zones where this occurs are known
as dead zones.
Eutrophication may cause competitive release by making abundant a
normally limiting nutrient. This process causes shifts in the species composition of
ecosystems. For instance, an increase in nitrogen might allow new, competitive
species to invade and out-compete original inhabitant species. This has been shown to
occur in New England salt marshes. In Europe and Asia, the common carp frequently
lives in naturally Eutrophic or Hypereutrophic areas, and is adapted to living in such
conditions. The eutrophication of areas outside its natural range partially explain the
fish's success in colonising these areas after being introduced.
 Toxicity
Some algal blooms, otherwise called "nuisance algae" or "harmful algal blooms",
are toxic to plants and animals. Toxic compounds they produce can make their way up
the food chain, resulting in animal mortality.Freshwater algal blooms can pose a threat
to livestock. When the algae die or are eaten, neuro- and hepatotoxins are released
which can kill animals and may pose a threat to humans. An example of algal toxins
working their way into humans is the case of shellfish poisoning.[28] Biotoxins created
during algal blooms are taken up by shellfish (mussels, oysters), leading to these
human foods acquiring the toxicity and poisoning humans. Examples include paralytic,
neurotoxic, and diarrhoetic shellfish poisoning. Other marine animals can be vectors for
such toxins, as in the case of ciguatera, where it is typically a predator fish that
accumulates the toxin and then poisons humans.

SOURCES OF HIGH NUTRIENT RUNOFF:


 Point sources are directly attributable to one influence. In point sources the
nutrient waste travels directly from source to water. Point sources are relatively
easy to regulate.
 Nonpoint source pollution (also known as 'diffuse' or 'runoff' pollution) is that
which comes from ill-defined and diffuse sources. Nonpoint sources are difficult
to regulate and usually vary spatially and temporally (with season, precipitation,
and other irregular events).
It has been shown that nitrogen transport is correlated with various indices of human
activity in watersheds, including the amount of development
Ploughing in agriculture and development are activities that contribute most to nutrient
loading. There are three reasons that nonpoint sources are especially troublesome: [17]
 Soil retention Nutrients from human activities tend to accumulate in soils and
remain there for years. It has been shown[31] that the amount of phosphorus lost
to surface waters increases linearly with the amount of phosphorus in the soil.
Thus much of the nutrient loading in soil eventually makes its way to water.
Nitrogen, similarly, has a turnover time of decades.
 Runoff to Surface Water and Leaching to Groundwater
Nutrients from human activities tend to travel from land to either surface or ground
water. Nitrogen in particular is removed through storm drains, sewage pipes, and other
forms of surface runoff. Nutrient losses in runoff and leachate are often associated
with agriculture. Modern agriculture often involves the application of nutrients onto fields
in order to maximise production. However, farmers frequently apply more nutrients than
are taken up by crops or pastures. Regulations aimed at minimizing nutrient exports
from agriculture are typically far less stringent than those placed on sewage treatment
plants]and other point source polluters. It should be also noted that lakes within forested
land are also under surface runoff influences. Runoff can wash out the mineral nitrogen
and phosphorus from detritus and in consequence supply the water bodies leading to
slow, natural eutrophication.
 Atmospheric deposition
Nitrogen is released into the air because of ammonia volatilization and nitrous oxide
production. The combustion of fossil fuels is a large human-initiated contributor to
atmospheric nitrogen pollution. Atmospheric deposition (e.g., in the form of acid rain)
can also affect nutrient concentration in water, especially in highly industrialized regions.
 Other causes
Any factor that causes increased nutrient concentrations can potentially lead to
eutrophication. In modeling eutrophication, the rate of water renewal plays a critical
role; stagnant water is allowed to collect more nutrients than bodies with replenished
water supplies. It has also been shown that the drying of wetlands causes an increase
in nutrient concentration and subsequent eutrophication blooms.

A.1. Biomes of the World: Philippine Law on the preservation of


the forests, lands and aquatic systems.
By: Darwin Gonzalodo

PHILIPPINE LAW ON PRESERVATION OF LAND, FOREST AND AQUATIC SYSTEM

 EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 79 - INSTITUTIONALIZING AND IMPLEMENTING


REFORMS IN THE PHILIPPINE MINING SECTOR PROVIDING POLICIES AND
GUIDELINES TO ENSURE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND
RESPONSIBLE MINING IN THE UTILIZATION OF MINERAL RESOURCES
WHEREAS, Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State
shall protect and advance the right of the Filipino people to a balanced and healthful
ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature;
WHEREAS, Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution provides that the
exploration, development, and utilization of mineral resources shall be under the full
control and supervision of the State;

WHEREAS, further to Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, which


recognizes the small-scale utilization of resources by Filipino citizens, small-scale
mining shall be recognized as a formal sector of the industry;

WHEREAS, Section 22, Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State
recognizes and promotes the right of indigenous cultural communities within the
framework of national unity and development, and Republic Act (RA) No. 8371, or the
Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, recognizes further the indigenous
peoples’ (IPs) right to develop their lands and natural resources within their ancestral
domains, subject to their free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC);

WHEREAS, as recommended by the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation


and Economic Development Cabinet Clusters in a Joint Resolution dated 16 March
2012, a six-point agenda was adopted, which sets the direction and lays the foundation
for the implementation of Responsible Mining Policies, foremost among which is to
improve environmental mining standards and increase revenues to promote sustainable
economic development and social growth, both at the national and local levels.

 REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9072 (National Caves and Cave Resources


Management and Protection Act) AN ACT TO MANAGE AND PROTECT
CAVES AND CAVE RESOURCES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
SECTION 1. Title. - This Act shall be known as the "National Caves and Cave
Resources Management and Protection Act."

Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. - It is hereby declared the policy of the State to


conserve, protect and manage caves and cave resources as part of the country's
natural wealth. Towards this end, the State shall strengthen cooperation and exchange
of information between governmental authorities and people who utilize caves and cave
resources for scientific, educational, recreational, tourism and other purposes.

Sec. 4. Implementing Agency. - The DENR shall be the lead agency tasked to
implement the provisions of this Act in coordination with the Department of Tourism
(DOT), the National Museum, the National Historical Institute and concerned local
government units (LGUs) for specific caves, except that in the Province of Palawan, the
Palawan Council for Sustainable Development shall be the lead implementing agency
pursuant to Republic Act No. 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act.
Sec. 5. Powers and Functions of the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) - In the implementation of this Act, the DENR shall exercise the
following powers and functions:

 Formulate, develop and implement a national program for the


management, protection and conservation of caves and cave resources;
 Disseminate information and conduct educational campaign on the need
to conserve, protect and manage our caves and cave resources;
 Issue permits for the collection and removal of guano and other cave
resources which shall be determined in coordination with the DOT,
National Museum, concerned LGUs, the scientific community and the
academe, with regard to specific caves taking into consideration bio-
diversity as well as the aesthethic and archaeological value of the cave:
Provided, that the permittee shall be required to post a bond to ensure
compliance with the provisions of any permit: Provided, further, that any
permit issued under this Section shall be revoked by the Secretary when
the permittee violates any provision of this Act or fails to comply with any
other condition upon which the permit was issued: Provided furthermore,
That the Secretary cannot issue permits for the removal of stalactites and
stalagmites, and when it is established that the removal of the resources
will adversely affect the value of a significant cave: Provided, finally, That
caves located within a protected area shall be subjected to the provisions
of Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Area
System Act of 1992;
 Call on any local government unit, bureau, agency, state university or
college and other instrumentalities of the government for assistance as the
need arises in the discharge of its functions;

 REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9175 November 7, 2002 AN ACT REGULATING


THE OWNERSHIP, POSSESSION, SALE, IMPORTATION AND USE OF
CHAIN SAWS, PENALIZING VIOLATIONS THEREOF AND FOR OTHER
PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in
Congress assembled: Section

Section 1 Title. - This Act shall be known as the "Chain Saw Act of 2002".

Sec. 2. Declaration Policy. It is the policy of the State consistent with the
Constitution, to conserve, develop and protect the forest resources under sustainable
management. Toward this end, the State shall pursue an aggressive forest protection
program geared towards eliminating illegal logging and other forms of forest destruction
which are being facilitated with the use of chain saws. The State shall therefore regulate
the ownership, possession, sale, transfer, importation and/or use of chain saws to
prevent them from being used in illegal logging or unauthorized clearing of forests.

Sec. 4. Persons Authorized to Manufacturer, Sell and Import Chain Saws. - Chain
saws shall only be sold and/or imported by manufacturers, dealers and/or private
owners who are duly authorized by the Department.

Sec. 5. Persons Authorized to Possess and Use a Chain Saw. - The Department is
hereby authorized to issue permits to possess and/or use a chain saw for the felling
land/or cutting of trees, timber and other forest or agro-forest products to any applicant
who:

 has a subsisting timber license agreement, production sharing agreement, or


similar agreements, or a private land timber permit;cralaw

 is an orchard and fruit tree farmer;

 is an industrial tree farmer;cralaw

 is a licensed wood processor and the chain saw shall be used for the cutting of
timber that has been legally sold to said applicant; or

 shall use the chain saw for a legal purpose.


Agencies of the government that use chain saws in some aspects of their functions
must likewise secure the necessary permit from the Department before operating the
same.

Sec. 6. Registration of Chain Saws. - Within a period of three (3) months from the
effectivity hereof, all persons who own or are otherwise in possession of chain saws
must register the same with the Department, through any of its Community Environment
and Natural Resources Office, which shall issue the corresponding registration
certificate or permit if it finds such persons to be qualified hereunder. Every permit to
possess and/or use a chain saw for legitimate purpose shall be valid for two (2) years
upon issuance: Provided, That permits to possess and use chainsaw issued to non-
commercial orchard and fruit tree farmers shall be valid for a period of five (5) years
upon issuance. For this purpose, the Department shall be allowed to collect reasonable
registration fees for the effective implementation of this Act.

 REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3571 AN ACT TO PROHIBIT THE CUTTING,


DESTROYING OR INJURING OF PLANTED OR GROWING TREES,
FLOWERING PLANTS AND SHRUBS OR PLANTS OF SCENIC VALUE
ALONG PUBLIC ROADS, IN PLAZAS, PARKS, SCHOOL PREMISES OR IN
ANY OTHER PUBLIC GROUND.

SECTION 1. In order to promote and conserve the beauty of objects of scenic and
ornamental value along public places and help preserve cool,fresh and healthful
climate, it is the policy of the Government to cherish, protect and conserve planted or
growing trees, flowering plants and shrubs or plants of ornamental value along public
roads, in plazas, parks, school premises or in any public ground.
SEC. 2. For the purpose of carrying out effectively the provisions of this Act, the
Director of Parks and Wildlife shall have the power to create a committee in each and
every municipality in the Philippines and shall appoint any civic conscious and well-
travelled citizen as chairman, and the municipal mayor, the municipal treasurer, the
supervising school teacher, and the municipal health officer, as ex-officio members
thereof. The Director of Parks and Wildlife shall also have the power to issue and
promulgate rules and regulations as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of
this Act. The Chairman shall receive compensation of one peso per annum to be paid
out of the funds of the city or municipality concerned, and the members shall not receive
extra compensation. The committee shall have the power to implement the rules and
regulations issued by the Director of Parks and Wildlife under the provisions of this Act.
The committee shall coordinate with the Director of Parks and Wildlife in the
beautification of their respective locality and shall under its supervision, require school
children on Arbor Day to plant trees and flowering plants of useful and scenic value in
places provided for in the preceding paragraph.
SEC. 3. No cutting, destroying, or injuring of planted or growing trees, flowering
plants and shrubs or plants of scenic value along public roads, in plazas parks, school
premises or in any other public ground shall be permitted save when the cutting,
destroying, or injuring of same is necessary for public safety, or such pruning of same is
necessary to enhance its beauty and only upon the recommendation of the committee
mentioned in the preceding section, and upon the approval of the Director of Parks and
Wildlife. The cutting, destroying, or pruning shall be under the supervision of the
committee.
SEC. 4. Any person who shall cut, destroy or injure trees, flowering plants and
shrubs or plants of scenic value mentioned in the preceding sections of this Act, shall be
punished by prison correctional in its minimum period to prison mayor in its minimum
period.
SEC. 5. All laws, Acts, parts of Acts, executive orders, and administrative orders or
regulations inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, are hereby repealed.

 REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3931 AN ACT CREATING THE NATIONAL WATER AND
AIR POLLUTION CONTROL COMMISSION
There is hereby created and established in the Office of the President of the
Philippines, the National Water and Air Pollution Control Commission, with permanent
office in the City of Manila. The Commission shall be composed of the Chairman of the
National Science Development Board, as chairman, and, as members, four part-time
commissioners
The Commission shall have the following duties and
responsibilities:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
1. To encourage voluntary cooperation by the people, municipalities, industries,
associations, agriculture and representatives of other pursuits in the proper utilization
and conservation of the waters and/or atmospheric air of the Philippines.
2. To encourage the formation and organization of cooperative groups or
associations in municipalities, industries, enterprises and other users of the waters who
severally and jointly are or may be the source of pollution of the same waters, the
purpose of which shall be to provide a medium to discuss and formulate plans for the
prevention and abatement of pollution.
3. To serve as arbitrator for the determination of reparations involved in the damages
and losses resulting from the pollution of the waters and/or air of the Philippines.
4. To devise, consult, participate, cooperate and enter into agreements with other
agencies of the government, and with affected political groups, political subdivisions,
and enterprises in the furtherance of the purpose of this Act. This particularly refers to
such cooperative agreements with the various provincial and municipal governments in
securing their assistance in carrying out the provisions of this Act.
5. To prepare and develop a comprehensive plan for the abatement of existing
pollution and prevention of new and/or imminent pollution of the waters and/or
atmospheric air of the Philippines.
6. To issue standards, rules and regulations to govern city and district engineers in
the approval of plans and specifications for sewage works and industrial wastes
disposal systems and in the issuance of permits in accordance with the provisions of
this Act, and to inspect the construction and maintenance of sewage works and
industrial waste disposal system for compliance of the approved plans.
7. To collect and disseminate information relating to water and atmosphere pollution
and the prevention, abatement and control thereof.
8. To authorize its representative to enter at all reasonable times in or upon any
property of public domain and private property devoted to industrial, manufacturing,
processing or commercial use without doing damages, for the purpose of inspecting and
investigating conditions relating to pollution or the possible or imminent pollution of any
waters or atmospheric air of the Philippines.

 PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 979 [PROVIDING FOR THE REVISION OF


PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 600 GOVERNING MARINE POLLUTION]

Section 4 Prohibited Acts


Except in cases of emergency imperiling life or property, or unavoidable accident,
collision, or stranding or in any cases which constitute danger to human life or property
or a real threat to vessels, aircraft, platforms, or other man-made structure, or if
dumping appears to be the only way of averting the threat and if there is probability that
the damage consequent upon such dumping will be less than would otherwise occur,
and except as otherwise permitted by regulations prescribed by the National Pollution
Control Commission or the Philippine Coast Guard, it shall be unlawful for any person
to: chanrobles virtual law library
a. discharge, dump, or suffer, permit the discharge of oil, noxious gaseous and liquid
substances and other harmful substances from or out of any ship, vessel, barge, or any
other floating craft, or other man-made structures at sea, by any method, means or
manner, into or upon the territorial and inland navigable waters of the Philippines;

b. throw, discharge or deposit, dump, or cause, suffer or procure to be thrown,


discharged, or deposited either from or out of any ship, barge, or other floating craft or
vessel of any kind, or from the shore, wharf, manufacturing establishment, or mill of any
kind, any refuse matter of any kind or description whatever other than that flowing from
streets and sewers and passing therefrom in a liquid state into tributary of any navigable
water from which the same shall float or be washed into such navigable water; and

c. deposit or cause, suffer or procure to be deposited material of any kind in any place
on the bank of any navigable water, or on the bank of any tributary of any navigable
water, where the same shall be liable to be washed into such navigable water, either by
ordinary or high tides, or by storms or floods, or otherwise, whereby navigation shall or
may be impeded or obstructed or increase the level of pollution of such water.
Section 5 Primary Responsibility
It shall be the primary responsibility of the National Pollution Control Commission to
promulgate national rules and policies governing marine pollution, including but not
limited to the discharge of effluents from any outfall structure, industrial and
manufacturing establishments or mill of any kind to the extent that it is regulated under
the provisions of Republic Act Numbered Three Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty-One,
and to issue the appropriate rules and regulations upon consultation with the Philippine
Coast Guard.chanrobles virtua law library
The Philippine Coast Guard shall promulgate its own rules and regulations in
accordance with the national rules and policies set by the National Pollution Control
Commission upon consultation with the latter, for the effective implementation and
enforcement of this decree and other applicable laws, rules and regulations
promulgated by the government.
The rules and regulations issued by the National Pollution Control Commission or
the Philippine Coast Guard shall not include deposit of oyster, shells, or other materials
when such deposit is made for the purpose of developing, maintaining or harvesting
fisheries resources and is otherwise regulated by law or occurs pursuant to an
authorized government program: Provided, That the Philippine Coast Guard, whenever
in its judgment navigation will not be injured thereby and upon consultation with and
concurrence of the National Pollution Control Commission may permit the deposit of
any of the materials above-mentioned in navigable waters, and whenever any permit is
so granted, the conditions thereof shall be strictly complied with.

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