The Bahamas By adrianna weygandt

The Bahamas is a group of about 700 islands, atolls and cays in the western Atlantic Ocean. Only about 30 of the islands are inhabited by people. There is a lot of very pretty deep blue waters surrounding the islands of The Bahamas. These waters are home to a huge variety of marine habitats. Shark and dolphin encounters are pretty much guaranteed and the waters are packed full of reef fish, such as parrotfish, grunts and snappers. If you're lucky, you may spot whales along the coast. But what would happen if just one living thing from The Bahamas ecosystem was removed? How would it affect the lives of all the many other things and species out there? Come jump on in and discover what would happen with the removal of one kind of living thing from the Bahamas ocean!

The living thing that I will be pretending to remove will be the Copepods which are primary consumers, meaning they are usually herbivores, feeding on plants and fungus. Copepods are major food organisms for other animals such as the dragonet, banded killifish, whales, seabirds, alaska pollock and other crustaceans like krill in the ocean and in fresh water. It all starts with the Copepods eating the Dinoflagellates and the Diatoms which are phytoplankton. Consequently, if the Copepods were removed, it would not only affect the animals who eat them, it would also harm the Dinoflagellates and the Diatoms due to overpopulation. This would cause an overall decrease in the Bahama marine animals food chain.

Copepods have a good relationship with other living things in the ocean. Copepods are key components of marine food chains and handle direct food sources for the most important fish species. Planktonic copepods are important to global ecology and the carbon cycle. They are usually the dominant members of the zooplankton and are major food organisms for fish and whales. Some species feed on microscopic plants or animals while others prey on animals as large as themselves. That would be like me eating a big pig! Yes, I do eat bacon but one whole pig at one time? Thats way too much!! If the copepods didn’t exist, this would be a huge disruption to my Bahama ecosystem food chain.

The cycle starts with the Dinoflagellates and the Diatom who are the producers. They are followed by the copepod who are the primary consumers. Next would come the secondary consumer who is the Ocean Sunfish. The tertiary consumers come next, which are the smaller sharks, who eat the Ocean Sunfish. Lastly are the large sharks who would be considered quaternary consumers. If the copepod was removed, the Dinoflagellates and the Diatom population would increase rapidly! The marine animals who eat the copepods, the Ocean Sunfish for example, would decrease significantly with not enough food supply causing a huge negative domino effect for all the animals in my ecosystems.

In conclusion, the copepod is a pretty important living thing in my ecosystem! I never knew something so tiny and almost unseen, like a copepod, could have such a big impact on the lives of so many other animals. Understanding the key role the copepods have, has not only taught me how important it is to The Bahamas but how nearly everything in every ecosystem has a key role in any life cycle.

Credits:

Created with images by pennuja - "20110330-HDR_0143_4_5" • lgoub - "Just the right color" • Elias Levy - "Great White Shark"

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