Chapter

Surface Waters

LARRY G. ALLEN and JEFFREY N. CROSS

in The Ecology of Marine Fishes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780520246539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932470 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520246539.003.0012
Surface Waters

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The epipelagic realm technically encompasses the upper 200 m of the ocean beyond the continental shelf, world-wide. It is easily the largest habitat off California and the home of 40% of the species and 50% of the families of fishes. The water column that overlies the continental shelf comprises the coastal pelagic realm. Because the continental shelf off most of California and Baja California is narrow, the fish assemblages of the epipelagic zone and those of the coastal pelagic realm overlap and interact on a seasonal basis. Physical and biological variability in the epipelagic zone are closely linked to oceanographic processes. The California Current is one of only four major eastern boundary currents of the world. These boundary currents occur over narrow continental shelves in temperate areas and are characterized by surface flow toward the equator, coastal upwelling, and high primary productivity.

Keywords: epipelagic fishes; continental shelf; water column; California Current; fish assemblages

Chapter.  14511 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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