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The author describes the major differences between fast-swimming cruisers and lungers that patiently lie in wait for their prey. The author also explains two factors that enable whales to dive to great depths and remain submerged for a long period of time. …
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Discussion of the Essentials of Oceanography
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Download file to see previous pages The phyla colonizing the terrestrial environments diversified more due to widely ranging environmental conditions.
b) The benthic environment has more species diversity than the pelagic environment (Berger & Shor 304; Würtz 28). This is because the pelagic environment is more homogenous, unlike the benthic environment. Benthic habitats are more diverse and the supply of sediment, exposure to waves, light, and currents, etc vary over short distances. Moreover, it provides a greater number of choices of habitat, for instance, organisms may live on the sea floor, as epifauna, or in it, as infauna (Berger & Shor 304). Thus, the varying habitat of the benthic environment offers greater opportunities for speciation.
Whales possess a number of physiological adaptations that enable them to dive to great depths and stay submerged for very long time periods. This is possible because of a number of factors listed below:
Whales and most other marine mammals have streamlined bodies, which reduce drag during swimming, thereby increasing the swimming efficiency apart from reducing oxygen consumption required during diving at greater depths.
They have high concentrations of myoglobin when compared to terrestrial animals. Myoglobin binds oxygen in the muscle tissue and higher concentrations of it enable deep sea diving in anoxygenic conditions. (Sverdrup, Duxbury & Duxbury 363)
Differences in fin structure: - Cruisers’ fins are designed for high speed while lungers’ fins are designed for increased maneuverability. Cruisers usually have lunate caudal fins while lungers usually have rounded fins.
Differences in muscle fiber: - Cruisers mostly have red muscle fiber while lungers have white muscle fiber. Red muscle fiber has high myoglobin concentrations and so, has a higher affinity for oxygen. Therefore, cruisers’ muscles have more endurance and lower fatigue, and are adapted for speed.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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