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8Sci CH9

8th Science CH9 Ocean Water and Life

TermDefinition
density current movement of ocean water produced when dense, more highly saline seawater sinks, pushing away less dense seawater at the ocean bottom; these vertical currents occur in water too deep to be affected by winds
intertidal zone coastal ecosystem that is under water at high tide and exposed at low tide; supports a wide variety of highly adapted organisms such as mussels, oysters, chitons, and limpets
nekton free-swimming marine animals; nekton move through various depths, reducing the effects that surface currents can have on them; nektonic life-forms include fish, whales and sea turtles
plankton microscopic life-forms that drift through the upper levels of the ocean and form the base of an extensive food web; plankton rely on currents to bring them nutrients and carry away wastes
salinity in the ocean, the measure of dissolved materials, primarily salts, resulting from the accumulation of elements and minerals from the atmosphere, volcanic eruptions, and runoff of water from land
surface current movement of ocean water produced primarily by winds; affect the upper few hundred meters of seawater, influence climate by their warming or cooling effects, and provides a home for most marine organisms
upwelling interruption of the density current cycle resulting from the upward movement of cold water from deep in the ocean, replacing warmer surface water carried away by strong, wind-driven surface current