Beneath the Reef

By Avalon Pernell

Ecology: The study of biology dealing with interactions between biotic and abiotic organisms, and their environment.

Individual & Population

The first thing you'd notice as a bottle nose dolphin pops out from the sea in a beautiful arc, is their beautiful curved mouths giving the illusion of a forever smile.

Bottle nose dolphins also interact with other organisms an example of this is eating fish and interacting with others within their species.

Above you see a bottle nose dolphin they are found in tropical oceans and warm waters all over the world.

An individual is one of a species which is shown in the first photo on the slide above.

A group of organisms of the same species interbreed and live in the same place at the same time. This is shown in the second photo on the slide.

Marine Community

Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef known to most as the largest protected marine are to others as the largest coral reef ecosystem. This reef is a home to over 6,300 species of animals, plants, and microscopic organisms. From fish to sea turtles to coral.

For all of these living organisms to live together under the sea they most depend on abiotic and biotic factors. A few abiotic factors found in the sea can include oxygen, sand, water, and sunlight. A few biotic factors can include the organisms themselves, predators etc.

They also must establish relationships with other species (mutualism, commensalism,parasitism). A few can be shown in the picture above. The fish finding homes in the coral establishing a mutualism relationship, or an isopod attaching itself to an helpless fish this is considered a parasitic relationship. How about barnacles and a whale which have a commensalism relationship?


Shown above are a few animals from each kingdom that can be found in the Coral Reef. One thing that all of these kingdoms have in common is that they all interact with an organism from another kingdom. They have a few differences too. One difference is that protists (or organisms belonging to the protista kingdom). Protists are usually single cellular. An example of this is amoeba which has pseudopods and has one cell. Plants all belonging to the Plantae kingdom have chloroplasts which highly distinguish them from fungi. Fungi are like plants except they do NOT have chloroplasts which is the cause of their lack of green color. Lastly we have all animals which belong to the Animal kingdom. They unlike the protists are multi-cellular. They also all carry out sexual reproduction instead of asexual* like the other kingdoms do.

[*Some plants and fungi do reproduce sexually.]

Food Chain & Web

Sharks like other animals in the sea are heterotrophs, or do not produce their own food. Organisms that do produce their own food are considered autotrophic. A shark's energy role as a consumer is to keep the balance in the ocean making sure no animal is "too plentiful".

Producer: An autotrophic organism that has organelles to create its own food source.

Ex: Chloroplasts, Plants

Consumer: An organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals.

Ex: Dolphin, shark

Decomposer: An organism, usually a fungi or bacterium, that breaks down the cells of dead plants and animals into simpler substances.

Ex: Mold, Yeasts

Abiotic Factors

Organisms depend on their environment to survive. Organisms everywhere depend on water, sun, and oxygen. The basic elements needed to survive in any climate. In the coral reef plants depend on the sun to grow that’s why they have grown very tall to reach the sunlight at the top of the ocean. Some animals must also react by going up for oxygen after periods of time. All living organisms must react in someway to their surroundings to have homeostasis or to keep a same state.

[Images: Top left; Water/H2O. Top right; Oxygen/O2. Bottom; Sun.]

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