Water Ecology


There are 3 major biomes in the oceans of Planet Vesta: shallow oceanic rocks, coral-like reefs, and kelp forest like communities. Many plants and animals live in these communities.






Tide pools are holes in rocks that stay filled with water once the tide goes out. Some tide pools are below low-tide line and are covered in ocean water most of the time. Some tide pools are above low-tide line. These rocks are normally dry and exposed to air for about 10 hours a day. They are wetted only by sea spray and occasional waves. Tide pools are homes to many different types of animals and plants. Animals and plants that live in tide pools must be able to withstand and adapt to extreme fluctuations in conditions from the forceful waves that roll in. They must also be able to endure high temperatures beating on the rocks.


Coral reef-like communities are found in the warm, clear, and deep waters near Planet Vesta’s Central Girth. A reef is a coral community consisting of several thousand organisms living together. The water temperature is usually constant year round. Corals are made up of animals called polyps. Polyps are tube shaped with the central opening forming a “mouth.” Polyps attach themselves to the floor of the reef and the top ends of the polyps extend into the water and move around freely. There are two types of corals, soft and hard corals. Hard corals have external skeletons made of calcium carbonate while most soft corals do not. The mouths of polyps on hard corals are surrounded by multiples of six tentacles and those of soft corals are surrounded by eight tentacles. Corals are animals that also have plant life (algae) growing in them.


Kelp forest-like communities grow along rocky coastlines in depths of 18 to 50 feet. A kelp forest is much like a forest on the land. It is divided into 3 layers and different kinds of animal life are found in each layer. Kelp forests “hold on” to the rocky surfaces with root-like structures called holdfasts. From these holdfasts, long streamers of kelp grow up toward the surface. Gas bladders at the end of each leaf keep the plant upright and closer to the surface of the water and sunlight. They depend on light for photosynthesis.


Katy’s Shallow Oceanic Rock Communities


Rosa’s Coral Reef Communities


Joe’s Kelp Forest Communities


Page by Katy Kao
Copyright 2003 Planet Vesta All rights reserved