Pelagic Ecosystems

Pelagic, or Open Ocean, Ecosystems

Pelagic means the open ocean, rather than the shores and estuaries. These ecosystems lie beyond the outer border of the littoral zone and above the abyssal zone, in a zone to which light penetrates. Pelagic organisms usually lead a free-floating existence at or near the surface of the ocean, away from the coast. Examples range from microscopic phytoplankton to dolphins of the open ocean. One-third of the fish catch of the world is small pelagics. Two large pelagic ecosystems have been chosen below: the Eastern Tropical Pacific and the California Current.

The Tuna-Dolphin Problem in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

 

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