Marine Organisms and their Environments

PLANKTON– small drifting organisms that are in the open ocean (pelagic zone)

World Plankton Distribution

A copepod (Calanoida sp.) from Antarctica ca. 12 mm long

Diatoms make up most of the phytoplankton. They have glass structures that cover their bodies.

Sea foam is created when plankton crash on the shore and disintegrate.


NEKTON- actively swimming organisms that can move independent of the currents

Spiny Dogfish shark- The spiny dogfish shark is the most abundant shark. This small shark is also known as the piked dogfish, skittledog, spotted dogfish, white-spotted dogfish, codshark, and thorndog. Its dorsal fin has spines that are mildly poisonous.

Humboldt Giant Squid-These are found in the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of Southern Chile all the way up to California. They can grow to 6 feet long and over 100 pounds!


BENTHOS-These organisms dwell on the bottom of the sea whether in the intertidal zone or deep into the hadal zone.

California Mussels found in the intertidal zone

Giant tubeworms found in the abyssal zone. These worms can reach a length of 2.5 meters.



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