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Free Content Behavior of Plankton and Patch Formation in Pelagic Ecosystems

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One of the most pervasive characteristics of pelagic ecosystems is the perpetual three-dimensional motion exhibited not only by the water but also by all organisms within the water column. This constant motion contrasts sharply with the general absence of motion in terrestrial ecosystems, where most of the biomass is in the form of large, multicellular, and immobile plants within and about which animals live and hide. I review previous discussions that contrast pelagic and terrestrial ecosystems and to those thoughts I add the argument that in the pelagic realm the pervasive movement of all the organisms, the absence of physical barriers to vertical and horizontal migrations, and the absence of cover create fundamental differences between the ways that events transpire on land and in the water column. Ramifications of the behavior and mobility of plankton are then discussed with regard to patch formation in pelagic ecosystems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1988

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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