The pelagic - the surface of the sea
By-the-wind Sailor (Velella velella), Wild Guide to Moreton Bay
Blue Blubber (Catostylus mosaicus), Wild Guide to Moreton BayMarine life living on or close to the surface of the sea is called ‘plankton’, drifting about the world’s oceans at the mercy of the currents, tides and winds. Most are microscopic, composed of young larval stages of larger creatures, which barely, if at all resemble the adult stage of the life cycle. The plankton also includes adults of many highly specialized classes of animals that live only in the plankton, and also larger species that drift around or swim near the surface of the ocean. The plankton is probably the most important habitat in the sea as it is vital to most of the sea’s food webs, with whales, some fishes and many invertebrates depending entirely on the plankton for their food. The fisheries of the world are bound up the production of plankton, which is why it is sometimes called ‘the Pastures of the Sea’. These floating Sea Creatures have evolved peculiar structures, like air filled bladders to keep them at the surface and help catch the wind. They are also frequently blue in colour, providing camouflage from predators both from above and below.
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