Upwelling Essay

Upwelling is a process in which currents raise nutrient-rich water from deeper levels to the surface of an ocean (National Geographic), this occurs mainly in the coastal regions, and as a result, supports the growth of plankton which is a significant source of food for fish and other marine animals. Along the coastline, the parallel blowing of the wind, which causes the water to move at right angles to the wind direction, affected by the earth’s rotation is called a Coriolis effect (Airame and Gaines), and this is responsible for upwelling in the coastal regions (National Geographic).

The complex form of interaction between the producers and the consumers of food constitute a food web, and in a marine environment, it is termed a marine food web. Marine food webs describe the “linkage between all living organisms found in a marine environment” (“European Environment Agency”). Upwelling as initially explained brings up cold, nutrient-rich waters to the surface. This nutrient-rich water helps in the growth of planktons; two significant planktons make up the base of the marine food webs, phytoplankton, and zooplankton. Increased nutrient flow from upwelling increases the productivity of the phytoplankton, although strong winds can impede their growth at the upwelling region on the coast. Intermittent upwelling allows the growth of phytoplankton because they begin to develop once the upwelling winds relax allowing a time of 5 to 10 days for this phytoplankton to bloom (Kampf and Chapman, 55). The zooplankton, however, takes more time to bloom, about 25 days, therefore, it is possible that moderate upwelling can lead to a maximum population of zooplankton and as a result lead to increased forage fish stocks (Kampf and Chapman, 55). Therefore, the effect of upwelling on the growth of phytoplankton, zooplankton, increases the number of carnivorous consumers and in turn, lead to increased productivity of marine food webs.

Planktons are essential in the marine food web, numerous and microscopic (Kingsford) and upwelling serves as an essential factor in its production. The nutrients that are being passed up by the wind from deep waters to the surface helps in its fertilization leading to the increased growth of phytoplankton. Although a weather pattern called El Nino can reduce the phytoplankton numbers (Bettwy n/p).

Upwelling areas are grounds for fishing, for example, the west coast of Peru which is among the most fertile fishing grounds in the world. Coastal upwelling covers 1 percent of the world’s oceans total area, but they contribute about 50 percent of the world fishing areas. Fish get attracted to areas that have a considerable mass of plankton, especially zooplankton and as we have pointed earlier that upwelling has a significant effect on the production of phytoplankton and zooplankton. It also reduces the length of the trophic food chain, in an upwelling area, the trophic food chain is shorter and simpler due to primary productivity which reduces species diversity (Merino and Monreal-Gomez, 49).  In the marine food web, the phytoplankton is eaten by the zooplankton which in turn are eaten by the fishes which make fisheries commonly found in the upwelling regions.

Upwelling can be useful as well as harmful; the good aspect is that it brings nutrient-rich water to the surface of the oceans and allows for the increased marine animal population in the region because of increased phytoplankton growth. Increased upwelling can as well move marine animals in their larvae form away from their natural habitat which reduces their chances of survival (Airame and Gaines). Upwelling is a useful phenomenon in the coast, contributing to a nutrient-rich ocean surface which allows growth of important plankton permanently keeping the lives of the fishes and increasing their population and in turn makes the area good fisheries landings.

Works Cited

Bettwy, Mike. El Niño and La Niña Mix Up Plankton Populations (30th November 2007). https://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/plankton_elnino.html

Gaines, Steve, and Airame Satie. Upwelling. Ocean Explorer. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (18th December 2017). https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/02quest/background/upwelling/upwelling.html

Kämpf, Jochen, and Piers Chapman. “The Functioning of Coastal Upwelling Systems.” Upwelling Systems of the World. Springer, Cham, 2016. 31-65.

Kingsford, Micheal, John. “Marine Ecosystem” Encyclopedia Brittanica (26 September 2016). https://www.britannica.com/science/marine-ecosystem

Marine Food Webs. European Environment Agency (27th July 2018). https://water.europa.eu/marine/topics/state-of-marine-ecosystem/marine-food-webs.

Merino, M., and M. A. Monreal-Gómez. “Ocean currents and their impact on marine life.” Marine Ecology (2009): 47-52.

National Geographic. Upwelling. n/d. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/upwelling/

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[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: August 11, 2022]
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