Introduction

The ecology of invertebrates consists of all the external factors acting upon that organism. These factors may be either physical or biological. The physical or abiotic environment consists of the nonliving aspects of an organism's surroundings, including temperature; salinity; pH (a measurement of acidity or alkalinity); exposure to sunlight; ocean currents; wave action; and the type and size of sediment particles. The biotic environment consists of living organisms and the ways in which they interact with one another.

Invertebrate species have colonized all types of aquatic habitats. For example, sponges of the class Calcarea are restricted to firm substrates. They are also restricted by physical factors that affect their skeletons, limiting their habitats to shallow zones. Hexactinellida sponges colonize soft surfaces; they prefer to live in deep water. Demosponges can live on such different substrates as rock, unstable shell, sand, and mud; in some cases they burrow into calcareous material. They are found in a variety of underwater habitats ranging from upper intertidal to hadal depths (below 20,000 ft or 6,100 m). The ecological dominance of the Demospongiae reflects their diversity in form, structure, reproductive capabilities and physiological adaptation. Cnidarians and ctenophores are mostly marine; however, a few groups have successfully made their way into freshwater habitats.

Most lower metazoans are either sessile polyps, which means that they are attached at the base to the surface that they live on, or planktonic carnivores. Some, however, employ suspension feeding and many species harbor symbiotic intracellular algae that supply them with energy. Hydroids, scyphozoans, and anthozoans live in seas around the globe, from polar to tropical oceans. Most lower metazoans, however, live in coastal waters.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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