The oceans may be divided into large biomes, or living regions (Figure 1). These zones are based on the distribution of marine organisms. The two major environments are the pelagic, which consists of the water column, and the benthic, which comprises the ocean bottom. The organisms that live in these zones can be classified in terms of the habitat they occupy.
Figure 1. Classification of life zones in the oceans.
The factors that affect primary productivity are (1) the availability of light, (2) the availability of nutrients and (3) the rate of grazing by primary consumers (herbivores).
Figure 2. Seasonal variations in nutrient elements, plankton biomass and light for a mid-latitude oceanic region
Answer the following questions in terms of physical and/or chemical factors that might explain, or partially explain, various divisions in the Figure 1 classification.
Answer the following questions using Figure 2.
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