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14.4: Physical Factors - Temperature

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    10365
    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
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    Temperature

    Temperature governs the rate chemical and metabolic rates especially in cold-blooded organisms.
    Many organisms are sensitive to changes in temperature and this results in species zonation.

    Example—Different species of sharks: Sharks can be classified as tropical, temperate, or polar, depending on the surface temperature of the ocean region they inhabit.

    Tropical sharks live year round in warm temperature waters (21° - 30° C, 69.8° - 86° F). Examples include nurse shark, the tiger shark, and the bull shark. They are only comfortable in warm waters where food is plentiful, so they remain there year-round without migrating.

    Sharks in Temperate regions tolerate temperatures within a range (10°-21°C, 50-69.8° F). Sharks in temperate regions tend to migrate south in the winter and north in the summer and as their food sources move up and down the coast.

    Sharks in Polar regions always stay in colder waters (below 5° C, 41° F). For example, Greenland sleeper shark is adapted to living under ice floes and will not migrate.
    Hammerhead shark
    Figure 14.6. Hammerhead sharks live in tropical waters
    Great White
    Figure 14.7. Great white sharks live in temperate regions.
    Temperature controls an organism's metabolism
    For poikilothermic (or cold blooded) organisms: every 10° C rise in temperature doubles their metabolism. Most fish, reptiles, and invertebrates are cold blooded.
    For homeothermic (or warm blooded) organisms: metabolism increases with decreasing temperature to stay warm. Only mammals and birds are warm blooded.
    Some species have various degrees of thermo regulation - ability to raise or lower their body temperature. An example in fish is Opah an Blue Fin Tuna.
    Polar Bears
    Figure 14.8. Polar bears are homeothermic and adapted to living on arctic ice flows.
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