Neritic Zone Facts For Kids: Learn About Its Marine Life | Kidadl


Neritic Zone Facts For Kids: Learn About Its Marine Life

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The neritic zone is a part of the world’s oceans that lies above the continental shelf.

In simple words, it is the top layer of the ocean that is shallow, reaching depths of approximately 660 ft (200 m). And interestingly, this zone shelters a majority of the aquatic life.

About 70% of the Earth comprises the ocean. And the neritic zone only covers about 9-10% of the entire ocean. And yet, in this small percentage, it houses several different types of plants and animals.

Essentially, the neritic zone is the shallower part of the ocean that is located close to the coral reefs, coast, and mudflats. These zones are also called shallow waters, coastlines, coastal waters, shore zones, or areas near the shore as they extend from the intertidal zone to the continental shelf. The zone receives a lot of light which makes the process of photosynthesis possible. This is unlike the ocean floor, which typically receives less or no light.

Today, we will find out some fascinating facts about this zone that we bet you didn’t know.

Meaning Of The Neritic Zone

Also referred to as the coastal ocean, the neritic zone is located within the photic or sunlight zone. It is shallow water that supports most of the aquatic life. This zone is found at the boundary of the continental shelf. This zone is prevalent and can be found in almost all oceans. However, it is most prevalent in tropical and temperate regions.

The neritic zone extends from the shore up to the depth of 600 ft (200 m). The easy availability of sunlight in this zone makes photosynthesis possible. Thus, this zone can support life. There are many different types of marine organisms surviving in this part of the ocean, such as fish, squid, crabs, octopuses, and several more invertebrates.

The neritic zone can be further classified into different biological zones, depending on the amount of sunlight needed to support life. This includes the infralittoral zone, circalittoral zone, and sublittoral zone.

The infralittoral zone is the area of shallow water. It is closest to the coastline and lies just below the low-water mark. It receives a lot of sunlight that supports life. In most regions, this ocean zone is dominated by varieties of algae such as kelp. On the other hand, the circalittoral zone lies below the infralittoral zone. Most immobile organisms find shelter in this zone. Thus, it also supports life.

The sublittoral zone always remains submerged. It houses different varieties of corals, algae, seagrasses, annelid worms, and crustaceans. This is further divided into outer and inner sublittoral zones. The outer zone lacks attached plant life, whereas the inner zone is replete with plant life attached to the seafloor.

When talking about physical characteristics, the neritic zone experiences a heavy current movement that helps to circulate all the nutrients in the entire region. The zone also has low salinity and is stratified.

Characteristics Of The Neritic Zone

The pelagic zone of the ocean is the part that lies between the ocean floor and the ocean surface. This part is further classified into the neritic zone and the oceanic zone.

The neritic zone mainly consists of shallow waters and receives an ample amount of sunlight. The zone is very rich in oxygen, and thus, it is able to support life. There is also a lot of dissolved carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it favorable for marine life.

There are plenty of marine animals in this zone because of the abundance of food and nutrients. Living organisms such as fish require oxygen to survive, whereas marine plants need carbon dioxide to complete photosynthesis.

The neritic zone also has lower water pressure. It has a highly stable benthic zone in comparison to other zones. The zone has a maximum tidal display. This also makes surfing here a fun and popular activity. Another great activity performed here is fishing. It also serves as a livelihood for people living on the shorelines.

Many different types of plants and organisms are found in this zone. Some of the most common ones include seaweed, plankton, algae, fish, turtles, sharks, and whales.

Plants Of The Neritic Zone

The neritic zone is an ocean area between the continental shelf and the deep sea. Thus, the zone receives adequate sunlight to support different types of plants.

Seagrass is commonly found in the neritic marine environment. It is a type of seaweed that forms a grass bed underwater ecosystem, offering homes to many different aquatic animals. A large number of marine animals such as sea urchins, turtles, dugong, manatees, and crabs feed off of seagrass. Seagrass also helps stabilize the aquatic environment by stopping sediment erosion, storing carbon dioxide, producing carbon, and eradicating pollutants.

Besides this, other plants in the neritic zone are plankton, kelp forests, coral reef plants, and algae.

Plankton, most commonly phytoplankton found in this zone, is the primary source of photosynthesis. It uses minerals in the ocean in a very similar way as other terrestrial plants. Larger species of marine creatures, like whale sharks, humpback whales, and more, feed on plankton.

Sea life in the neritic zone.

Marine Creatures That Live In The Neritic Zone

The existence of marine life is plentiful in the neritic zone. In the tropical regions, there are coral reef ecosystems that comprise large colonies of corals.

These coral reefs serve as home to many species of marine animals, such as fish, mollusks, sponges, worms, crustaceans, and invertebrate chordates.

When we talk about temperate regions, it should be noted that kelp forest ecosystems support different animals such as sharks, sardines, starfish, anemones, seals, sea lions, killer whales, and sea otters. Surprisingly, sharks are known to be the only predators living in this zone.

There is also a wide range of fish species found in this zone. This includes herring, bluefin tuna, mackerel, capelin, and many more. Sometimes, there is a deterrent to the survival of marine creatures, which is the existence of poisonous plants.

The neritic zone is very important for the people that live along the coastlines. Most of these people indulge in fishing which is a popular sustenance activity for them.

The aquatic animals living in this zone have adapted to life here in many ways. Some animals also migrate between saltwater and freshwater environments to sustain themselves.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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