Review and Progress

Whale fall: the Creation of A Unique Marine Ecosystem  

Bess X.Y. Chen1,2 , May H.M.  Wang1,2
1 Hainan Institute of Tropical Agricultural Resources, Sanya, 572025, China
2 Hainan Institutes of Biotechnology, Haikou, 570206, China
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2020, Vol. 10, No. 4   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2020.10.0004
Received: 04 Jun., 2020    Accepted: 04 Jun., 2020    Published: 04 Jun., 2020
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract

When a whale dies in the ocean, its body slowly sinks to the bottom of the sea. In this process, animals and decomposers gather in the ocean to form an ecosystem. Biologists call this unique process "whale fall." Whale fall, together with ocean cold spring and hydrothermal fluid, is called the "oasis" of the ocean.  Whale carcasses provide a rich source of food for all types of consumers in the vast and barren deep-sea food chain, including deep-sea fish, crustaceans, polychaetes and various small organisms.  This review introduces the necessary conditions, causes and ecological characteristics of whale fall from various perspectives, and analyzes the impact of whale fall on the ocean; A large number of facts show that whale fall not only provides a huge driving force for the marine carbon flux, but also promotes the production of new species and enriches the diversity of marine organisms. Whale falling is a wonderful creation of nature. It is of great significance to understand this phenomenon for us to understand this unique marine ecosystem.

Keywords
Whale Fall; Marine ecosystem; Ocean oasis

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International Journal of Marine Science
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