What is the Neritic Zone of the Ocean?
The Earth is approximately covered with ocean by 71% and ocean contains around 97% of Earth's water. Oceans are the largest habitat region on the Earth and also regulate the global climate. The Oceanographers divided the ocean into different layers or zone to study the ocean. The Neritic Zone is one the layer or zone.
The Neritic Zone is the shallow region of the ocean above the drop-off of the continental shelf, approximately 200 meters in depth. It is also known as the coastal ocean, the coastal waters, or the sublittoral zone.
Types of Neritic Zone
Oceanographers divided the Neritic Zone into three parts on the basis of abundance of the marine organism: Infralittoral zone; Circalittoral zone; and Subtidal zone.
1. Infralittoral zone- This zone is dominated by the algae and has depth of about 16.40 feet below the low water mark.
2. Circalittoral zone- This zone is dominated by the sessile animals like Oysters.
3. Subtidal zone- It is the lower most part of neritic zone and below the ocean's intertidal zone. This zone is never exposed to the atmosphere.
Location of the Neritic Zone
Neritic Zone is the region where oceanic system and the coast interact to each other. It is located just above the continental shelf and important for the survival of the marine life such as corals and fish. This zone gets decent amount of sunlight which will be very helpful for the growth of marine life especially photosynthetic organism. Due to this it is also known as the sunlit zone.
According to the physical oceanography, the neritic zone is refers to that part of ocean where significant amount of energy dissolution as well as tidal flows.
Physical Characteristics of Neritic Zone
The Neritic Zone is the shelter for the marine life because it acts like the storehouse of many sea nutrients.
1. This zone has lower water pressure and moderate salinity.
2. This zone has higher level of stability than intertidal zone.
3. This zone has sufficient oxygen to sustain the marine life.
4. The marine creatures like snails and jellyfish are found in abundance as they adapted and sustain themselves by floating on this zone.
Therefore, this zone is ideal region in the ocean for the stable temperature, pressure, light and salinity levels, making it suitable for photosynthetic life.
Habitat of the Neritic Zone
As we know that this zone has stable temperature, pressure, light and salinity levels, making it suitable for photosynthetic life.
So this zone supports high primary production by photosynthetic life such as phytoplankton and floating sargassum; zooplankton, free-floating creatures ranging from microscopic foraminiferans to small fish and shrimp, feed on the phytoplankton (and one another); both trophic levels in turn form the base of the food chain (or, more properly, web) that supports most of the world's great wild fisheries.
It is noteworthy that the marine life support coral (Marine colonial polyp characterized by a calcareous skeleton) is also found in this zone.
Animals found in the neritic zone: Sea anemones, Sponges, Clams, Oysters, Scallops, Crab, Shrimp, Lobsters, Zooplankton, Jellyfish, Dolphins, Eels, and Tunas.
Plants found in the neritic zone: Kelp forests, Plankton, Seaweeds, Coral reef plants, and Algae.