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Which Animals Would You Find In The Mesopelagic Zone?

cuttlefish

Which Animals Would You Find In The Mesopelagic Zone?

 

So, which animals would you find in the Mesopelagic Zone? There are a lot of different animals in this zone, but the most common ones are fish, invertebrates, plankton, squid, and others.

You might also find other animals, such as jellyfish and mollusks. Read on to find out more about these fascinating creatures!


Fish

There are countless different species of fish in the Mesopelagic Zone, including lanternfish and nightmarish bristlemouths.

fish

These two creatures have enormous mouths filled with spiny teeth and are some of the most common vertebrates on earth. Because of this low-light environment, organisms that live in this area have evolved special adaptations.

These creatures are highly adapted to their environment and use bioluminescence to attract prey. These fish contribute to the primary production of deep-ocean ecosystems.

Currently, it is estimated that as much as 10% of this biomass is contributed by mesopelagic fishes. However, if you compare this figure with the biomass of other fish species, you’ll see that the former are considerably more abundant.

This suggests that the biomass of mesopelagic fishes is at least ten times greater than previously thought.


Invertebrates

The amount of fish in the world’s mesopelagic waters is massive, but its exact biomass is unknown. Recent acoustic observations suggest that the true amount may be as high as 10 billion tons.

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invertebrates

Despite this, there has been a growing economic interest in the resources of the deep ocean. And while there is a relatively well-established fishery for krill in the Southern Ocean, it is still not known what proportion of this biomass is comprised of invertebrates.

There are two main divisions in the mesopelagic layer. Both the Reygondeau and Sutton groups proposed biogeochemical units within each mesopelagic province.

These units were further divided into regions based on the climatology of six environmental variables. Similarly, the Sayre et al. study categorized the mesopelagic zones according to their biogeochemical composition.


Plankton

The mesopelagic zone (MPZ) is a highly productive area of the ocean with extensive respiration and remineralization of organic particles.

plankton

It is nutrient-rich compared to the overlying euphotic zone, and prokaryotes are important for denitrification in these areas. Denitrification occurs when ammonia and nitrite are coupled and released as nitrogen gas.

In addition, the micro-organisms also produce anammox, which is an enzyme that removes nitrogen from the biologically available pool.

Although the mesopelagic zone may seem inhospitable to humans, it is home to a diverse array of organisms. They serve as a source of food and are at the lowest level of the ocean’s food web.

By cycling carbon dioxide, phytoplankton is the primary producer in the ocean. This nutrient-rich food source provides nutrients to higher organisms and supports ocean life.


Squid

Squid can be found in a variety of environments from shallow coastal waters to the deep abyss.

squid

They are found in all ocean regions and migrate to different areas when food is scarce or when water conditions change. The Common Squid, for example, migrates to the North Sea to spawn. Squid are primarily found in the mesopelagic zone.

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They live in low-oxygen waters as much as a mile and a half below the surface.

They are also able to survive in environments as low as five hundred and eighty pounds per square inch, four times more than the pressure at sea level.

These animals migrate to the surface of the ocean during the night to feed on plankton. They then return to their deeper homes at daybreak. These animals represent the largest natural migration in the World’s oceans.

They represent an important mechanism for moving carbon and energy from one part of the ocean to another. They live in twilight-like conditions that make them highly vulnerable to predators.


Cuttlefish

The Mesopelagic Zone contains many diverse types of animals, and the Cuttlefish, in particular, has a unique evolutionary history.

cuttlefish

Many mesopelagic species have a distinctly yellow color due to their bright, tube-shaped eyes. Because these animals have low levels of natural light, they are difficult to see, but fortunately for them, they are able to use camouflage to hide from their predators.

Like other mollusks, cuttlefish share many characteristics with octopuses, squid, and nautilus.  In addition to their long wavy fin and W-shaped pupils, cuttlefish have the largest brain-to-body ratio of all cephalopods.

Moreover, they can mimic their environment very well, even without the use of their eyes.


Snail

The morphological characteristics of marine snails influence their vertical distribution and migration.

The time taken to swim 100 m up the water column is a key factor determining their vertical distribution. The swimming time of large globular species is about 40 minutes, while small coiled snails take about 1.7 hours to reach the same distance.

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Interestingly, the sinking time is also correlated with the length of the animal but does not necessarily reflect the distance it travels.

In either case, the sinking time of the snail is not a good indication of the snail’s vertical migration but gives us a better idea of its vertical distribution and energy requirements.

The disphotic zone reaches a depth of about three thousand feet below the aphotic layer.  This is where the light is strongest during the day, but not enough to allow plants and photosynthesis to occur.

The water temperature in the disphotic zone is very cold, and the concentration of dissolved oxygen is low, compared to that of the sunlit zone. Despite the deep waters, the mesopelagic zone is still a good habitat for many kinds of animals and plants.


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