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Chapter 1

BIOL 1201 Chapter 1: Ocean Summary

Biological Sciences
Course Code
BIOL 1201

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Three-quarters of the planet is covered with water. The average depth of the ocean is
3800 meters. For every 10 meters depth increase, pressure increases 1 atm.
Deep sea - defined as the ocean below either 200 or 1000 meters
Characterized by low temperature (approximately 2-4°C) and high hydrostatic
pressure (up to 1,500 atm in the Mindanao Trench) and no sunlight
Sunlight necessary for photosynthesis does not penetrate to these depths and thus
there is low food availability and this affects the adaptations of organisms at these depths
Deep-sea species have characteristic depth distribution patterns which may be affected
by pressure
Pressure acts on volume changes (of the entire solute-solvent system). Increased
pressure inhibits a process that proceeds with a positive volume change and accelerates
a process that proceeds with a negative volume change. Only if there is no net volume
change is a process unaffected by pressure increases. Biochemical processes can be
affected. Examples of what can be affected: rates of catalysis, binding of substrates,
assembly of subunits. The volume changes associated with these processes may result
from the interaction of enzymes and substrates with water. The water may be more
organized by interactions with charged substrates or amino acids. Membrane fluidity is
also affected. High pressure acts like low temperature causing membranes to “freeze.”
Free vehicles (not attached to vessel), e.g., "monster" cameras
Deep Submergence Vehicles, e.g., Johnson Sea Link, Alvin
HOV Alvin (Human Occupied Vehicle)
Owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
1966 recovered a hydrogen bomb lost in the Mediterranean Sea
Explored the hydrothermal vents; surveyed the Titanic
The Story of Alvin’s Lunch - in the fall 1969 Alvin sank in 1540 m (water temperature
3°C) and was recovered 11 months later
On board were lunches for pilot and 2 scientists
Bullion soup, bologna sandwich with mayonnaise, apples
Samples were eaten and they were “okay
Some put back in refrigerator at 3°C
Decayed in 3 weeks
Sparked interest in metabolic rates in the deep sea which continues to today
Biologically produced light used for (among a number of roles) species recognition,
camouflage and in some cases hunting
Bioluminescence and color play role in "being invisible"
Different wavelengths of light penetrate to different depths
Typical wavelengths of bioluminescence are in the blue range
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